Sean Connery, a 6’2” James Bond, did not fit in a Japanese supercar. Toyota created a different version for him for that very reason.
Toyota produced only two convertible 2000 GTs. They were created specifically for the James Bond film You Only Live Twice, as Sean Connery was too tall for the original model.
Toyota 2000 GT
The creation of the Toyota Gran Turismo began shortly after the 1964 Japanese Grand Prix. Initially designed for Nissan (then known as Datsun) by Yamaha, the 2000 GT was acquired by Toyota after the Yokohama-based company rejected the concept and began work on their own sports car, the Fairlady Z.
Toyota recognized how the bold new two-seater design would alter the company’s image on the world stage and immediately approved the program.
The design of the 2000 GT is widely regarded as a classic among 1960s Gran Turismo automobiles. The bodywork was inspired by the Jaguar E-Type and featured smooth lines. The 2000 GT delivered world-class performance, with a longitudinally mounted 2.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine propelling it to a top speed of 220km/h. Yamaha modified the Toyota Crown’s power plant engine to create a more powerful sports car engine.
The interior of the 2000GT was created to exude luxury despite its status as a supercar worthy of the Gran Turismo track. The dashboard was trimmed in rosewood veneer, the center stack and center console were framed in wood, and the steering wheel was rimmed in wood. It was also equipped with an auto-seeking radio until 1969 but lacked air conditioning.
The 2000GT was manufactured for three years until 1967. There were only 351 units produced. Not only was it Japan’s first supercar, but it is also the most expensive Asian car ever sold at auction.
Toyota was known for its affordable automobiles, but the 2000GT was anything but. In the late 60s, the 2000GT was sold in the United States for more than $7,000, roughly $1,000 more than the Jaguar E-Type and Porsche 911.
The 2000GT is arguably the most collectible car in Japan today. In 2010, the tiny Toyota surpassed $370,000 for the first time, and in 2013, a yellow-painted 2000GT sold for $1.16 million at RM Auctions. (Source: Garage Dreams)
James Bond and Toyota
The James Bond franchise is always known to feature new technology in its films. From high-tech gadgets, guns, watches, and even cars. The franchise is not shy in asking prestigious companies to create items for their films.
When you think of James Bond, you immediately associate the spy using a Rolex or Omega watch. You associate quality, tailor-made suits. And we remember Bond always drives an Aston Martin, whether it be a DB5, a DBS, a DB10, or the famous Vanquish. (Source: Aston Martin)
This is where the Toyota 2000GT made its mark in the global automobile industry. You Only Live Twice producer Albert Broccoli saw the 2000GT in the Tokyo Auto Show of 1965 and thought the car would be ideal for Sean Connery’s James Bond. Broccoli immediately reached out to Toyota to pitch his idea.
A year later, Toyota created two coupe versions of the 2000GT. It was only made for the movie and never released to the public. These coupes were designed to be roadsters so that the tall Sean Connery could comfortably fit the car.
Toyota utilized this global exposure to its advantage, gaining instant stardom in the supercar niche of the industry. (Source: Sports Car Digest)