Toyota and James Bond: The name’s 2000GT…

Bond is coming back! After fears that our favourite super spy had fallen victim to the economic crisis, a demise that proved to be greatly exaggerated, the 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall will be released in the UK this weekend.

And as with every Bond film, you can expect the usual helping of guns, girls and gadgets, and no doubt a few special cars…

And we don’t just mean the Aston Martin DB5.  In the midst of the ‘swinging Sixties’, You Only Live Twice featured Sean Connery in a new Bond car, the Toyota 2000GT.

But this was no ordinary 2000GT (if there is such a thing!). Thanks to the experts at CommanderBond.net and 2000GT.net, we can share a few more interesting facts about the first Toyota supercar and its place in the 007 cannon:

2000GT was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1965, where it would become the star of show and later seen in car magazines around the world, where it likely caught the eye of Bond producer, Albert R. ‘Cubby’ Broccoli.

Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of  “Zero-Zero” (as 007 is often referred to in Japan), Toyota were happy to assist with the supply of cars for the You Only Live Twice movie.

The first two 2000GTs to be used were coupes, in white, one right-hand drive and other left-hand drive. It soon became apparent that Sean Connery was too tall to comfortably fit in the car and filming of the interior shots proved tricky.

As a result, Toyota created two 2000GT roadsters, to ensure the film crew could capture all the shots they needed. These were the only open-top 2000GT ever officially produced.

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonrb/4487075411/

The films main Bond girl, Akiko ‘Aki’ Wakabayashi was unable to drive, so two Toyota test drivers operated the pedals and gears for her.

Toyota (and ‘Q’, of course) installed a range of Sony gadgets. These included CCTV, a VCR, cameras behind the front number plate, two-way radios, voice-controlled tape recorder and an audio system.

The original coupes were sold on and remained in private ownership in the UK until 1995. Both models are now back in Japan.

The fate of the cars used in the film is less clear; back in the 1970s one of them was reported to be wrecked, although the company who were tasked to dispose of were rumoured to have sold it to a private buyer.

The other 2000GT was discovered in Hawaii in 1977 and eventually brought back to Japan and restored, where it now takes pride of place in the Toyota Museum. It is regarded at the most valued car in the collection.

In total, 351 2000GTs were produced (including for racing and movies) and 150 were shipped. It’s unknown how many are still in circulation but any put on auction can expect to sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds, with one of the first models ever produced recently put up for sale for over £1 million.

For more information about James Bond and the Toyota 2000GT, visit CommanderBond.net.

To read about the 2000GT being reinvented as an EV, check out the blog post here.

 

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