Toyota 2000GT: The Land Speed Record Trials

December 21, 2011

Back in October of 1966, a team of Toyota speed wizards showed up at the Yatabe Test Track in Japan (now long-gone, sadly) with a lightly modified Toyota 2000GT in an attempt to smash a whole load of various Land Speed records. Their aims and goals were set high for this occasion – 3 days and 6 hours of successful, non-stop running would help in achieving those goals.

With the debut of the Toyota 2000GT prototype at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, four development mules were constructed around the ‘280-A1’ prototype with various racing and speed testing in mind. Some bodies were lightweight versions made from hand-beaten aluminium (for racing purposes) and some were constructed from steel (for the high-speed trials).

The car you see in these pictures (and video below) is rumoured to be the actual prototype ‘280-A1’ that was originally shown at the ’65 Tokyo Motor Show, albeit completely rebuilt and modified after catching fire during testing at Fuji Speedway in ’65 (after its lightweight/highly flammable magnesium wheels erupted in flames… oh dear). With a burnt-out shell on their hands, the Toyota Technocraft team set about rebuilding the car with the aim of obliterating the existing Land Speed records the following year in ’66…

And obliterate those records, it did – The 2000GT ran for 78 hours and in those 3.25 days it broke 13 International records and 3 World records for endurance and speed in the 1500-2000cc class with speeds averaging in the 206 km/h region.

After setting these impressive new records, the same car used to extract those world-record figures/numbers at Yatabe Test Track was eventually converted into a circuit racing car. Sadly, shortly thereafter the car was involved in a horrible crash whereupon it also caught fire and was subsequently destroyed.

An exact replica of the original record-breaking Green and Yellow 2000GT exists nowadays and can usually be seen at various motoring shows and exhibitions throughout Japan.

-Blake J.

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