Maybe you’re scratching your head from the last article that I wrote about Maine Line Exotics, which was barren of Toyota 2000GT (MF10) pictures except for one. If so, then I have done my job, I wanted to do this separately from the other post since I want your full attention for these beauties.
This story is somewhat related to the last one that I wrote. Reading this is like watching Star Wars Episode V without watching IV, so there’s your warning.
For three hours Bob and I continued our conversation about cars, and I listened to his adventures acquiring 2000GT’s, which was the whole reason I was there. They had three in the warehouse when I was there.
The first was a white one, the first 2000GT that they owned. They have owned this car five times in the last 38 years that they’ve been in the business. The last time that they sold it, Peter Starr told Bob that the car holds huge sentimental value and they would want it back. They purchased the car back from the people that they sold it to and sold them a different one.
After listening to their story about this certain car, I felt even more obsessed. The way that Bob talked about the car seemed like this was the car to have. Only 62 of these were sent to America, what makes them extra rare was the fact that they are left hand drive. Each and every single one of them was handmade. They may look like the same car but none of them are alike. Parts are not interchangeable from one car to another. Each single piece has a serial number to authenticate which car it belongs to. A one of a kind indeed.
The other car that they have lying around is the one they call the “James Bond twin”. It’s a replica of the 2000GT from the movie, “You Only Live Twice,” back when Sean Connery played as 007. They did not make a convertible 2000GT so Bob decided to make one. He cut his car to take the roof out and make it a real convertible. I cringe thinking about cutting a regular car, let alone a 2000GT. I asked him how it felt, his reply, “Like I was cutting metal.” He wanted the soft top and he did it. For him, the benefit would outweigh the risks. The work was beautiful; it looked like it came out of the factory this way. The rear hatch and links have been modified to create a useable trunk, he even showed me the numbers that show all the parts are all original. It was very clean. This work wasn’t half assed; they cut into the bottom to have additional support for the chassis, installing three inch tubing to keep the body from bending. If 2000GT’s weren’t rare enough, this one takes the cake as being the only convertible on the road.
To set the bar even higher when it comes to rarity, how about a Shelby built? They happened to acquire 2 out of the 3 that Shelby has built, serial number 10001, 10005 and 10006. 10006 had been brought back to Japan to be kept as a record car and is now at the Toyota Museum in Japan, and the other 2 resided in their warehouse. Since then, they have sold the #33 recently but kept the first one. This was a thing of beauty and let’s not forget that the VIN is MF10-10001, the first serial number for a 2000GT.
Summer of ’67 was when Shelby received the three chassis, and 10001 had already been prepped for racing in Japan, Shelby decided to use this as a test mule. The car was first driven by Ronnie Bucknum and had problems with late braking and too much body roll. Shelby American Project Leader, Rich Erickson began modifications to the suspension and brakes. Dave Jordan was then called in for a third test of the car. He ended up shaving off 4 seconds from its last test. This is 4 seconds from the already fast racing specs. With both cars, 10006 (the original #23) and 10005 (#33), they have an 80% finishing record, with four 1st place, eight 2nd, six 3rd, two 4th and one 5th in their SCCA class. This just proved the already established reliability and performance that Shelby’s reputation hold but also showed the true potential of the 2000GT’s.
Even though the car is so rare and holds so much history on the chassis itself, Bob Tkacik still takes the car out to the track and can be seen in numerous track days that they attend. The legacy of the car continues by keeping the old #23 number paint scheme and even the driver’s name Dave Jordan is printed on the door.
He was offered $4 million for this car from the last time he raced it. He turned it down. I don’t think that we will see this car in any auctions anytime soon.
When Shin Yoshikawa was writing his book “Toyota 2000GT, The History of the First Japanese Supercar”, Bob and Peter helped him do the research about the car, and even traveled to Japan to learn more about the car. Bob has told me stories of their adventures. I wanted to travel back in time and tag along and do the research with them. It shows that they are not just into this because it’s rare or exotic, it’s because they truly love the car. Bob’s final remark, “If I was to choose one car out of this warehouse, I would choose the 2000GT.” That’s <3.