By the mid-1960s, Japanese car makers were actively trying to establish themselves in the West. But this meant fighting off perception that Japanese cars were cheap, dull and slow. Toyota were arguably most guilty of this and the Toyota 2000 GT was their solution to this problem.
In the early 60s, Yamaha had been taking up contract work for many Japanese carmakers. One such assignment was a new design for Nissan’s Fairlady sportscar. Yamaha worked with German-American designer Albrecht Goertz and a prototype 2000 GT was shown to Nissan. However, the project fell through and given that Toyota were looking to make a GT car, the design was sold to them. As is fairly obvious, the exterior design of the 2000 GT was heavily influenced by that of its contemporary, the E-Type. Having said that, it was a not a straight rip-off and the Toyota 2000 GT had enough unique touches (notably the front end) to stand out as a piece of design good enough to compete with its European counterparts. The interiors were exceptionally finished in high quality rose wood veneer. Other features were auto-tuning radio and a reach adjustable steering column. Air conditioning was added as an option in 1969.