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Toyota South Africa unveil restored 2000GT

Image: Toyota

Image: Alex Shahini

Image: Alex Shahini

Image: Alex Shahini

Image: Alex Shahini

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Toyota

Image: Alex Shahini

A brand new Toyota from the 1960s? With a fresh lick of paint, the restored 2000GT shimmers in the local sunlight in all of its glory courtesy of Toyota South Africa Motors. Here is the story of the rare model and its journey to concourse condition.

Image: Alex Shahini

Emerging from the ashes of World War 2, Toyota quickly became a force to be reckoned with by providing affordable utilitarian vehicles but there was doubt on whether they could produce a supercar to rival the Western powers of the time. The Toyota 2000GT arrived at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show and quashed those doubts.

For the first time, Japan had created a motorcar to rival the likes of Ferrari, Jaguar and the Corvette in both aesthetics and performance. Although it was the brainchild of Yamaha and originally offered and rejected by Nissan, the eventual 2000GT arrived on the market with 110 kW and 175 Nm, this was enough to get the grand tourer from 0-100km/h in 10 seconds and onto a top speed of 215km/h.

Image: Toyota

Of the 351 models produced, this is the only confirmed model in existence locally despite three 2000GT models arriving on South African shores between 1967 and 1968. This specific model has been in the possession of Toyota Motors South Africa for many years but a decision was made to revitalise the tired, but the complete model in 2020.

Thus, the story of chassis number MF10-10207 and its restoration process began at the hands of Dino’s Auto Body which yielded the Solar Red model which was revealed to the media on the 14th of October 2022. The unveiling of the restored 2000GT was the culmination of a 3-year project of meticulous detail and unrivalled importance.

Having been in existence for over half a century, the specific model has its own story to tell. According to records, chassis number MF10-10207 left the factory in Thunder Silver. Toyota South Africa Motors acquired the model in its current hue of red and is unsure of when exactly it transitioned away from its original lick of paint.

Image: Toyota

With the clock ticking and a decision needing to be made, Toyota South Africa’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron made the call that this 2000GT will remain red. While some experts believe that the car should have gone back to its original colour to retain its ever-growing market value, the fact of the matter is that this 2000 GT has a local story, a uniquely South African one.

With such rarity, sourcing any components for the model was a challenge. The windscreen was an obstacle worthy of its own story. With astronomical prices on the component and no guarantee of safety for import, Dino’s Auto Body opted to source local artisans to fabricate a mould and recreate their own. After several initial attempts, a perfect fit was finally found and another piece of the puzzle was in place.

Image: Alex Shahini

The nut and bolt restoration was meticulous with the body shop opting to keep the wooden and chrome dashboard in place so as not to damage the rare component during painting. What remains is a car that is estimated to be 85% of the original that left the Japanese production line all of those years ago.

Now that the Toyota 2000 GT is complete, TSAM plans for the rare model to be on display for the public at some point in time as well as competing in the prestigious South African Concourse.

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