When is a brand-new car worthy of featuring on CC? When it’s a superbly handmade replica of a legendary classic car, of course! The famous (and famously gorgeous) 1967-70 Toyota 2000GT has one major defect: it’s extremely rare. Only 349 coupés and two drop-tops were made over five decades ago, so getting a hold of one is not exactly easy. Or affordable.
When I happened upon this very recognizable rear end in the Ginza district one Sunday, I thought I had scored the ultimate JDM unicorn. I wasn’t the only one gawking and taking photos, either – which doesn’t happen all that often.
But then, this badge didn’t add up. There was 1000 too many on that thing. What the…? Did they do a 3-litre version? No, that couldn’t be right.
Turns out Toyota never did make a 3000GT (not in this shape anyway). This is a replica made by an outfit called Rocky Auto, out of Nagoya. Their bread-and-butter is high-end classic car restorations, restomods and sales of either rare and pre-war imports, or sought-after domestic fare like Fairlady Zs or Skyline GT-Rs. They started making replicas of Skyline C10 and C110 GT-Rs, which are also near-unobtainium, before setting their sights upon the real challenge: a completely re-engineered version of the Toyota 2000GT.
Unlike most replicas, the Rocky 3000GT was created ex nihilo from the ground up: Rocky Auto designed a chassis, developed and fine-tuned the suspension and opted for a 3-litre 220hp 2JZ engine for getting those rear wheels going. They took a real Toyota 2000GT and meticulously measured every curve, crease and crevice of the body to re-create the original car’s dramatic appearance, and lo and behold, by 2015, the Rocky 3000GT was born.
Liberties were taken with the interior: modern HVAC, more comfortable seats and other mod cons were deemed necessary, as well as a rather ugly type of wood veneer. I did not photograph the inside of the featured car (the owner was either inside it or very close by), but this shot captures what I saw when I had a glance – and a mental recoil. I’m all for A/C and can understand the requirement for 21st Century gauges and the like, but this is the one aspect of the 3000GT that fails to impress.
Other than that, the 3000GT is absolutely amazing. I’m not sure when production really started (these are strictly built-to-order), but the fact that you can buy one of these new in 2023 – with their token bumpers, tiny fender mirrors, zero airbags and 15-year-old engine – is pretty amazing. Who said Japanese car regulations were overly strict?
Because it’s built-to-order, quite a lot of customization is on offer. This includes any colour one might like (though the classic white will always be preferred), a 5-speed manual transmission, a bit of engine tuning and/or turbocharging for those who like a bit more oomph from their 2JZ, or even a hybrid variant. The latest addition to the options list is a 007-style convertible – licensed to thrill!
Prices start around the US$200,000 mark for a “base” model. Sounds like a lot (and it is), but that’s still five or six times cheaper than a genuine Toyota 2000GT that you’d probably never dare drive on the road. Just be careful when you parallel park.