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1968 Toyota 2000GT

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STATS
Year: 1968
Class: Sports Car
Type: 2-door coupe
 
Country: Japan ```````````````````````````````````` Host: GT2 & GT4
 
Price as Tested: $113,118 (GT2 used lot)
                       $160,000 (GT4/Toyota Classic lot)
 
Body Construction: aluminum
Length: 164.4" // Width: 62.9" // Height: 46.1"
Wheelbase: 91.7"
Overhang: 6 feet 0 inches
Track: 51.2" front & rear
Ground Clearance: 6.1"
Weight: 2,524 pounds
Wgt. Distribution: 50/50
Tires: 165/HR-15 front & rear
Suspension: double wishbone/ coil front & rear
Brakes: solid discs w/vacuum asst.
 
Engine: 2.0 liter DOHC inline-6
Tested HP: 155 @ 7,000 rpm
Tstd Torque:
130 @ 4,800 rpm
 
Pound 2 power: 16.3
Hp per Liter: 77.9
Credit per HP: $729.79
 
Redline: 7,000 // RPM Limit: 8,000
Aspiration: normal
Fuel System: 3 single-barrel carbs.
Valves per Cylinder: 2
Bore x Stroke: 2.95 x 2.95"
Compression: 8.4:1
Layout: Front Engine / Rear Drive
Transmission: 5-speed manual
 
* testing for the GT2 version currently
 
0-60 mph: 8.9 seconds
0-100mph: 23.3 seconds
 
Brakes: 100-0: 3.872 seconds
 
Mile: 16.906 @ 85 mph
1 KM:
30.225 @ 112 mph
 
Test Track: 1:59.388
 
Top Speed at Redline
1st: 34 mph
2nd: 59 mph
3rd: 86 mph
4th: 107 mph
5th: 138.15 @ 7,750 rpm
 
 


----------------EXTERIOR / HISTORY------------------

Whoa. What is this car? How come I've never heard of the Toyota 2000GT? Don't know about you, but as a car enthusiast, I am curious about this one. Let's investigate & discuss.
 
In GT2 (where car-info is regularly given so we can learn about the auto we're about to purchase), the East City Toyota dealer is mysteriously mum on any details for the elusive 2000GT, and the 'net doesn't help much, either. But I did some research, and here's a few "did you know?" sort of facts.
 
For instance, did you know the 2000GT was the first Japanese production sports car with vacuum-assisted disc brakes at all four wheels? Also, it was featured in the James Bond movie “You Only Live Twice”, and won three world records (one of them a 72 hour FIA enduance test that inspired Porsche to try and beat Toyota asap), as well as 13 international races. The web site I visited didn't happen to mention which races and where the little sports car conquered, but it's safe to say that the 2000GT was for a brief while quite the one to watch for.
 
Wikipedia isn't quite as glowing with information given. The 2000GT did compete, but didn't win so much--at least these supposed wins aren't recorded by those who filled in the Wiki page for this car. Carroll Shelby did, however, enter two 2000GTs for the 1968 SCCA season in the CP class, but information stops there, so it's hard to tell exactly how the 2000GT did racing on American turf. Apparently, it did best in Japan, where it didn't have so much competition, but this is an assumption on my part. 
 
Here's some more "did you knows?". There were just 351 examples made. The few that were exported to America wound up costing $6,800...which was a small fortune in 1968; much more than anything on the American market, including top-rated muscle cars and some Corvettes. The Toyota 2000GT pioneered a mostly aluminum body about 22 years before the NSX, and is now thought by some to be Japan's first supercar. Personally, I have problems with this moniker, because there isn't much "super" about the 2000GT (as we shall see) except its price. But certainly this car represents one of Japan's earliest attempts to at least try to make a performance vehicle for the worldwide market. Notice how the 2000GT takes a few styling cues from the famous Jaguar E-type, and seems to be one of Japan's first attempts at direct competition with Europe so far as sports cars go. At least, it started off that way...
 
Because of its low production numbers, expensive materials, and its high cost, the 2000GT never turned a profit for Toyota, which is perhaps why they stopped making them. Kind of a shame, actually. I think they may have given some of our muscle cars a run for their money like the Datsun 240Z did a couple years later, plus the 2000GT looks more unique than the Celicas which followed. All I know is that this car is really frickin' rare (even in the game) and it's really frickin' expensive, too. I mean, REALLY expensive. Yeah, like we go to buy one, only to find a 2000GT is selling for about 20x what it originally sold for back in the '60s in GT2! GT4 is even worse. The car can only be found from Toyota's Classic lot here, and costs over $40,000 more than it did in GT2! 
 
It is also fairly lightweight as were many Japanese cars of its day, and boasts an honest-to-God 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution. For about 30,000 credits, 203 pounds (GT2) can be shaved. The racing body can also be bought, but I like the way the original paint looks. I managed to get a gold car, and just the other day found a classic black one, too. This is one of those cars that looks good, even in GT2.
 
On a scale of 1 to 10 for appearance, I give this car a 10. It just looks really cool. There's nothing else like it, and racing the 2000 GT can be a blast...sometimes. Back in my GT2 days, I waited and waited for mine to show up in the used car lot. To me, it was worth the wait. But for some...
 

----------------ENGINE / DRIVETRAIN--------------------

If the looks of this car rate a 10, then power rates more disappointingly....somewhere between a 3 and a 5, depending on which level you're racing at, and in which game (GT2 or GT4). Some folks may be upset that they waited so long to find this vehicle, only to see what a wimpazoid it is.
 
Credit to power ratio (GT2) of $729 is astoundingly high. GT4 has this pegged at about $1,032 per horse! To increase this low powerage, we're gonna have to pay MORE! I've seen legendary bitching sessions about the 2000GT on various online bulletin boards for these very reasons, and though I love this car, I can't help but agree with some people about the price.
 
Power is produced at or beyond redline, as is typical of Japanese sports car from this era, so manual trannys are recommended to grab all you can steal before shifting. Unmodified engines boast a few shreds of mid-range torque, but with any of the upgrades this gets raised about 1,500 rpm or more, in GT2. For those who  haven't sold this '60s era auto yet in frustration, there are turbo AND natural tuning options available--either way, you'll get 2 stages (GT2).
 
NA tuning will raise power to 230 @ 7,500 rpms, with a whiney 170 ft-lbs. of torque @ 6,400; and the Stage 2 turbo will give a more satisfying 330 hp @ 7,400 rpm with 245 ft-lbs.@ 6500 rpms in GT2. None of these figures seems very high, but truthfully, 330 hp is about all this car can handle as we'll see in the next section.
 
Transmission is a 5-speed, which is a blessing, though top-end speed is limited to about 138 mph (142 with Stage 2 tuning & engine balancing). So, guess what? A racing gearbox will often be needed to expand the car's top-end. We can get away with using stock gears at short courses (Autumn Ring, Seattle Short, Rome Short, Tsukuba, etc.) but power gets serious, the car'll need modifyable gears.
 
Limited-slip action can be minimal for the most part. Real-life 2000GTs had factory-installed LSD units which seem fine till power is maxed. The car sounds really raspy with racing aspiration, similar to a Yoko Ono album, but a hell of a lot easier to stomach.
 

---------------CHASSIS / HANDLING------------

GT2

For lower levels of racing, the 2000 GT is King!

I raced mine recently in the Trail Mountain Enduro. Forgot to buy suspension parts, and kept the car's stock tires instead of upgrading to sports. My 2000GT had Stage 2 NA tuning with semi-racing equipment (224 hp) even though the hp of this race is max is 295. To further complicate things, I didn't pit till the 27th lap!
 
One can get away with negligent behaviour like this in a Toyota 2000GT in this game, since it only weighs 2,321 pounds after Stage 3 reduction. So by the time lap 27 rolled around, those front tires were finally turning from orange to red. As I sat in the pits, a Peugeot 306 roared by. Oy! I now had just 3 laps to catch it, which I did on the very last lap...in the S turn (the last one before the finish line). I had beat the Peugeot by 1.863 seconds! Quite the photo finish, as well as a good way to get some high blood pressure going.
 
....The moral of this story is: this is a very fun car to drive, full of racing magic, but it has limits.
 
With my hot-shot attitude, I now entered the GT European Regionals. Power was maxed via Stage 2 turbo and all the upgrades, the semi-racing suspension lowered to 118 mm, and soft tires were shod up front with mediums in the back. Despite all this, the 2000GT could barely keep up on those straights, so I had to rely on cornering more than usual.
 
And this is what I meant earlier about limits...'cause in this race (and probably any of the 591 hp races) the 2000 GT barely wants to cooperate. Understeer kicks-in pretty late in longer turns (about 90 mph with sport tires, 110 with soft slicks) but otherwise, the handling really starts to suck.
 
 Real-life 2000 GTs had tires with a tread width of only 165, after all, so expect oversteer galore (even with soft slicks in the rear) mixed with understeer and nervous steering. The braking is also very tempermental, and countersteer must be employed in the simplest of turns. Let me put it this way: I simply expected that this car would handle better, even with power maxed. Sucky handling is what muscle-cars are famous for, not 2,300 pound sports coupes with 330 horsepower!
 
At this more advanced level of racing, the fun is just about gone. The car will slide too easily, its engine just doesn't have the torque to get out of wanton power-overs and other messy situations, so grip-style handling + early braking must be employed, while you hope and pray that the RUF Porsche you squeezed by won't slam past you in the upcoming chicane! Hurry hurry!!!
 
GT4
Here, the 2000GT starts to lean alot, and feels rather sloppy. It slides around at times like it's ice skating. And the understeer. Don't even get me started on the understeer. There is still oversteer as well, but now the understeer could just drive one mad!

(...to be continued) 

 

white_2000gt.jpg

PROS


1). The unique factor. No other sports car in GT2 or 4 has the slick, but obviously Japanese look of the 2000GT (the Datsun 240Z comes closest). The fact that this car only appears in GT2 and 4 (not 1 or 3) also adds to its mystique.

2). Thin sheet metal used in the production of the original real-life 2000 GT made the car respectably light in our game. Race kit available (GT2).

3). 7,000 rpm redline is standard, which gets raised to 7,500 with balancing (GT2).

4). Several power options on both sides of the spectrum (NA tuning and turbo).

5). With Stage 2 NA tuning or Stage 1 turbo, the 2000 GT will show others of its power range who's boss.
 


CONS


1). EXPENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2). For some, the rarity of this car just isn't worth the wait once they find out...

3). ...the power sucks. Lukewarm acceleration, lawnmower-ish torque...

4). ....speed limited by the car's gearbox. Racing gearing is needed if you get any power upgrades.

5). Tires rated for highway use at best, perhaps. Which means the high-speed handling sucks. I didn't really expect stellar power from the GT, but the difficult driving qualities were really a shock. Welcome to the age when sports car tires still had acres of sidewall.

6). Braking is poor, too. Lots of countersteer, corrections, and cornering issues, especially if you don't brake early enough. Quick reflexes can't always be relied on if you mess up!

7). No Stage 3 tuning available in GT2. Not that the 2000 GT would be able to handle it! 
 


Originally Published September 13, 2004 
 

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