Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia is restoring a ruined 2000GT

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.

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24 Responses to Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia is restoring a ruined 2000GT

  1. Damian says:

    Put a V8 in a 2000GT??? This proves it. Australians have no idea.

    • Seamew says:

      Yeah its unfortunate but true. 🙁 The Aussie trend was to ‘put a bloody V8 into it!’ as a solution to make cars go faster back in the day as straight-line drags and burnouts were and still a thing as turbo’s and twin-cam setups were simply seen as maintenance nightmares here back in the day. So it was fairly common to hear about S30 Zs and TA22 Celicas getting the swap with a Ford or Chev V8’s. It was also common to see E20 Corollas and B110 Sunny’s get given the ported 12A rotary swaps as well short of getting the wheel wells all tubbed out for straight-line stuff.

  2. Steve says:

    How sad.

    But, I dunno… IF I had a $1million, I’d buy a 2000GT only if it had the original powertrain, frame, and body. Restoring this car seems more like building a “tribute” kit car and wouldn’t interest me at all…

    But then again, I’m not the greatest at forecasting car values. Back when 2000GTs were going for “only” $100k, I actually had the money sitting in my bank because i was trying to build a big down payment for a house. I even mused to myself, “hmmmm, I can buy one with the cash I have now, drive it around for year, and sell it for $100k and get my money back…” Pragmatism took over and I left the money in the bank.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda… LOL

  3. Jim says:

    Yeah, I remember this, and had wondered from time to time what ever became of it. It made the news with a small engine bay fire (in a beachside carpark I think?). Can’t recall if this was the reason for the engine swap, but back then an aluminium Leyland P76 v8 would’ve seemed like a good idea!! I’ve got a few photos of it parked in a suburban street with its NSW number plates. Now THAT looks odd today!

  4. j_c says:

    This car was already ruined back in the day, a restoration won’t make it original.
    If this were mine, I’d fix the body but modernize everything underneath then drive it everywhere, especially on track.

  5. Tom Westmacott says:

    It’s natural to feel shocked and appalled at the butchery this 2000GT has suffered. Non-factory paint job? A pushrod V8? Leyland transmission?? Cutting up the backbone structure to hack in a Jaguar rear end ??? Nanni ?!?

    However, looking at the car sat there I take the other interpretation. Someone clearly loved this car, imperfect as it was and non-original as it became. They must have loved the styling, the intimate cockpit, the way the car went down the road. A drivetrain and rear suspension swap can’t have been the work of a drunken night’s welding, they must have put in quite a bit of money and effort to keep driving this old Toyota, at a point when it might have been more rational to buy eg a Celica instead.

    In terms of restoration, it won’t be original but no reason it cannot be restored back so it drives as it did back in 1967, with all the same sounds and moves. Anything can be restored if someone cares enough, and the 2000GT understandably inspires a lot of care and devotion. I’m glad this car will get to experience a third age of its life, in which it runs as the Toyota factory intended, and is polished and appreciated appropriately.

  6. F31roger says:


    Since this car was modified in the 70’s (storage in 1981), it’s not far from what many people were doing here around the same era.

    70s Datsuns were getting American V8 treatment in that era too.

    It’s easier now to look back 40yrs later and say how we would have never modified it. I mean, even now with the the LS swaps in to Japanese cars… how are people going to react 20+ yrs from now.


    On that note, I love these stories of rebuilding a car back to it’s original glory. I’m feeling it with my Project Car as I’ve spent money to rebuild it from the ground up.

    It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, older car, undoing the modifications and finding the Original pieces. At least they have help from a 2000GT parts maker.

  7. Dutch 1960 says:

    Every car has a story. Putting it back to original is not exactly wrong, and will result in a beautiful original(ish) example of the car, but it will obliterate the very interesting story of this unique car. Even the imperfect bodywork, where the beauty of the design shines through the scratches, dings, and flaws, has a charm all its own. Line up three 2000GTs next to each other and this one, in my eyes, would be the most interesting and intriguing of the three. If I could take one of the three home, with cost and value not a consideration, I would probably choose this one. Not only that, I could drive it around without worrying myself silly about getting paint chips, a door ding, or having something else happen to the car. That said, restoration is a win, but leaving it alone is a win as well, to me. Getting it out of the garage and back out there is the biggest thing.

  8. speedie says:

    This car is lucky that prices have risen in the last few years so that you can make a profit on the restoration. Ten years ago this would likely have ended up as a parts car, or worse. The only way to make a profit on the restoration is to go back to original condition with a period correct drivetrain. The fact it no longer has its original drivetrain is not that big a deal to me. This whole concept of matching numbers drivetrains is a fairly new phenomenon that was created by car collecting speculators who wanted a way to drive up the price of the car they bought. I just watched Jay Leno’ piece on his early 70s Porsche 911 that he made note was a matching numbers car, then he goes on to describe how they replaced every part of the engine except the original block and modified the transmission to handle the increased horsepower and torque. After all that modification it is no longer an original drivetrain even if the numbers do match. I hope whoever pays for the restoration drives this car and does not put it away like a bottle of wine no one will ever drink.

    • speedie says:

      I meant to add that I live in Massachusetts and remember the ads Maine Line would run in Hemmings back in the seventies and eighties. They were collecting, preserving, and restoring Toyota 2000GTs when only a handful of people gave these cars the serious devotion they deserved. I can’t remember the year but I do remember seriously thinking I could almost afford to buy one of their cars when they sold for less than $30K.

  9. We’ve taken on several challenging restoration projects (Gyro-X, Gregory Roadster, etc.) and their 2000GT is on that level of difficulty, but at least it is doable. And like you noted, worth doing.

  10. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    At least it’s not a classic turned into a Donk.

  11. Matt says:

    There’s one in Adelaide, comes up on the local spotto page every now and then

  12. HotWheelsAndFriedChicken ! says:

    I actually really like the non-original silver and F40 style rims. But the v8 has got to go. I would personally prefer a 2000gt that I could drive around without worrying about scratches and rock chips.

  13. Jim says:

    Just had a chat to a chap who tried to buy this in the late ’70’s. (yeah, we’re OLD ! lol) It had not long had the conversion, and the original motor and gearbox was sitting under a bench in a shed in Nth Sydney…. NO ONE WANTED IT!! ( no idea what became of those bits.:( ) When the car was for sale , the owner wanted $7500.. my mate wouldn’t budge from $6000… Yeah , he knows now.
    Considering who is involved in the restoration, do not be surprised if this ends up looking factory fresh. That’s my prediction anyway 🙂

  14. Brett says:

    Its had a hard life, and at times been abused, but now it is found, and it will be saved. That’s a good thing, irregardless of what happened to it in the past.

  15. Luc says:

    This car is interesting as many transformations have been done. Not only the engine and drive train have been replaced, but they the body has seen various transformations. They widened the front fenders to fit these large wheels. The front corner bumpers have departed and the blinkers are specially made. The rear reflectors that are normally both side of the body are no more. The rear lights are red and orange, not white and red like factory. Bonnet hinges are not originals and are hidden. The side mirror was moved from the wing to the door. And probably many more things I can’t see on the few pictures. It’s a nice work and it’ll be interesting to detail it.

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