The Shelby SCCA Toyota 2000GT will likely be the first Japanese classic to break $2 million, maybe $3 million, at auction

Among historically significant Japanese cars, the 2000GT sits right there at the top of the heap. Among 2000GTs, the Carroll Shelby’s ex-SCCA race car is one of the most historically significant. The car is almost certainly going to be the first Japanese classic to break the $2 million auction barrier, and possibly the $3 million barrier when it goes up for sale this weekend.

The Shelby 2000GT isn’t necessarily significant because of the races it won. In fact, it didn’t really win much at all. For 2000GTs that actually did capture a checkered flag, you’d have to look towards Japan. Unfortunately, those race cars have been lost to time, and most likely the scrapyard. However, in America one cannot underestimate enough the weight carried by the name of a certain chicken farmer turned Le Mans racer.

For example, a typical well-restored 1965 Cobra 427 is worth about $2 million. Carroll Shelby’s personal 1965 Cobra 427, which he owned until he passed away in 2012, sold last year for $5.94 million. Incidentally, the most expensive Cobra ever sold was the first one built, which went for $13.75 million in 2016, a new record for an American car at the time.

As it happens, this Toyota 2000GT has been both touched by the hand of Shelby and wears serial number MF10-10001, making it the very first example off the production line. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, as Shelby is far more closely associated with the Cobra than the Toyota. But, it is a bit mind-blowing to think that Shelby was working on them during the same era in which he was building the last of his Cobras and finishing up his assault on Ferrari at Le Mans with a revenge-driven blank check from Ford.

The car is one of three built by Shelby, with the others numbered MF10-10005 and 10006. In period, this particular example was driven by Dave Jordan, while its red-on-white sister car was driven by Scooter Patrick. The 2000GTs were campaigned in the SCCA C-Production championships for only one season, 1968, during which they logged four 1st, eight 2nd, and six 3rd place finishes. Ultimately, the team finished 4th in points, behind Porsche and Triumph. Jordan’s assessment was that while it lacked the power to beat the Porsches, its handling was “phenomenal.”

After racing and a stint as a display car for Toyota Gulf State distributors based in Houston, the car was eventually returned to Toyota USA’s former southern California headquarters. It was painted over many times, used for promotional purposes, and, as we’ve heard, an occasional company car by some Toyota execs. In the 80s, it was purchased by Bob Tkacik of Maine Line Exotics, who restored it and repainted it in its original racing livery.

Since then, it’s been displayed and driven at a number of historic car events, including the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca to celebrate 50 years of Toyota in America and at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It also won First in Class at the 2017 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and the 2013 Lime Rock Sunday in the Park Concours.

Back in 2013 a production 1967 Toyota 2000GT became the first Japanese car to sell at auction for over $1 million at auction, setting a benchmark for the model. Estimates for the Shelby race car range from $2.75 million to $3.5 million. The Shelby 2000GT will cross the block at the Gooding & Company auction at Amelia Island on March 4.

Images: Dan Hsu; Chassy Media; Gooding & Company by Josh Hway

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10 Responses to The Shelby SCCA Toyota 2000GT will likely be the first Japanese classic to break $2 million, maybe $3 million, at auction

  1. MWC says:

    what comes up, must go down. the problem is the higher it gets, the longer it takes to come down. this car should draw a fantastic dollar. Another example is a NART Spyder Ferrari that was estimated to sell for far less than its $27M hammer price. But for rarity and provenance, the sky is the limit for some people.

    My favorite part of this car is the story that was never told. Famed Racer, Designer, Engineer, businessman and in fact former Shelby American Employee, Peter Brock had the Toyota SCCA deal in his pocket. Brock was already working with Hino, and through his connections at Hino, sold Toyota on expanding their market share through sports car racing in the USA, with the SCCA and the new 2000GT. the deal was done and while PB was making the arrangements to field the team, his famed Chicken Farming X-Boss swooped in off the coop, and made a coup, securing the Toyota deal and shutting out Brock.Toyota went with Shelby – and really went nowhere. Whereas Brock started his hustle again and this time got Nissan on board. the rest, as they say, is history.

    I do wonder sometimes what would have happened to Toyota if they stuck with Brock, and if the famous BRE team would have been Toyota 2000GTs and Corollas instead of Z cars and 510’s???

    • dankan says:

      Oooh, that really is quite the sliding doors moment.

    • Lee L says:

      Thank you for sharing this. That’s incredibly fascinating and I want to read more.

    • speedie says:

      I remember hearing this story many years ago. I think it may have been a different team but as stated in the article the weak spot of the 2000GT for racing was the engine. Although it was a wonderful road engine, it just did not have the horsepower and torque it needed to win its class. The Datsun 510 on the other hand was a completely different animal and had all the right components to win its class.

  2. Scotty G says:

    I can’t believe that a 2000GT hasn’t sold for more than $2,000,000 yet in this crazy market. This will be the one to do it. The 700 shares of Amazon that I bought twenty years ago (I wish) will barely cover it.

  3. speedie says:

    I remember back in the 80s when Maine Line Exotics ran adds for the 2000GTs in Hemmings Motor News. As a young guy in his twenties I toyed with the idea of buying one but even then the $10K to $15K price was just out of my reach. Maine Line should the praised for preserving so many 200GTS. Without them there would hardly be any left in the US.

  4. I don’t see it. It might make $1.5 mil, but 2 is a stretch. Good-but-not-great race history in a lower-tier championship, driven by a well-known but not a superstar driver, and (sorry) not a Shelby.

  5. f31roger says:

    I feel it could meet the 2 Mil.

    With it being a rare car + Shelby history + restoration… I definitely see its appeal.
    I’ve seen I think l’ve seen 5 in the last few years.

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