Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia recently announced they are undertaking a tremendous project: restoring what might be the country’s only 2000GT. The car was stuffed in a garage for 40 years, surrounded by junk, but it had been ruined long before that. Though car looks complete at a glance, under the sheetmetal it had been heavily modified, and the amount of work to bring it back to its original glory isn’t for the faint of heart.
According to Australia’s Trade Unique Cars, the 1967 2000GT was discovered by Phil McCarroll, head of Sydney’s McCarroll Automotive Group, a high-end dealer that sells Ferrari, Maserati, and Lexus cars. McCarroll found the car via an old classmate who had put it into storage in 1981.
In the 14 years prior, it had lived a hard life. According to the article, the 2000GT had been the recipient of two V8 engine swaps, first from a Leyland and then a Rover. The latter is what currently sits in the engine bay in lieu of the Yamaha-built, twin-cam, 2.0-liter straight-six.
But that’s not all. The V8 is connected to a Leyland transmission and Jaguar E-Type rear end. To accommodate this hardware, the chassis had been “cut open” and the rear trailing arms altered. Said Adriano Giorgi, who is overseeing the restoration, “We do a lot of classic cars here and this is furthest away from what was presented by the factory.”
The restoration has already begun. The body has been separated from the frame and acid-dipped, revealing that the car was painted red beneath the current silver. Some sections of the chassis are so rusty they look like swiss cheese. On a brighter note, though, they are receiving help and parts from Maine Line Exotics, the premiere 2000GT restorers in the US.
According to McCarroll, only nine examples of the 2000GT were imported to Australia. The rest have been bought by overseas owners, and this is the only 2000GT known to remain in the country. The team hopes to finish the restoration in one year’s time. It looks like a monumental task, but given the car’s rarity and near-$1 million trading prices, it’s worth it. You can follow the progress on Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Facebook page.