From 1967 to 1970, just 351 2000GT sports cars left Toyota showrooms around the world. After an unfortunate meeting with a tree last weekend, there is now one fewer example of the ultra-rare classic left.
According to NHK, the legendary Toyota was destroyed in the western Japanese city of Nanto after a 100-foot-tall beech tree fell on it as it drove by. Fortunately, reports indicate that the car’s 28-year-old driver emerged with only cuts and bruises.
As sad as classic car fans may be to see the remnants of the once-majestic Toyota, the 2000GT’s insurers might have simply fainted. The car’s rarity and desirability have skyrocketed in recent years with an example selling for $1.2 million at auction last year.
— ToyotaGB (@ToyotaGB) June 10, 2014
For most, the 2000GT’s rise to notoriety comes by way of an appearance as a Bond car in 1967’s “You Only Live Twice.” The model driven by 007 is one of two custom convertibles built for the film due to Sean Connery’s inability to fit into the diminutive sports car.
For Japan, however, the 1967 Toyota 2000GT means much more. At a time when the island nation was best known for building cheap motor bikes and flimsy economy cars, the arrival of the 2000GT knocked the automotive world back on its heels. The sleek sports car proved to the U.S. and Europe that Toyota and the Japanese auto industry as a whole were capable of producing a stylish, high performance vehicle to match the industry’s best.
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