Who Really Built Japan’s First Supercar? Exploring Yamaha’s Influence on the Toyota 2000GT

Japan’s automotive landscape boasts iconic names like Nissan, Lexus, and Toyota, renowned for engineering marvels like the GT-R, LFA, and NSX. Yet, amid this prestige, the story of Japan’s first supercar remains somewhat overshadowed. While the Nissan Skyline GT-R and the Toyota 2000GT vie for this title, it’s the latter that stands out, owing much of its existence to Yamaha’s pivotal contribution. Delve deeper into this intriguing narrative to uncover why Japan’s automotive history owes a debt to Yamaha’s expertise.

Yamaha’s Influence on the Toyota 2000GT’s Genesis
Yamaha, best known for its prowess in musical instruments and motorcycles, took an unexpected foray into the automotive realm in the 1960s. Following unsuccessful attempts to launch its own vehicle, Yamaha sought collaborations with established automakers. Initially partnering with Nissan on a coupe version of the Fairlady, Yamaha’s prototype faced rejection, leading the company to explore new avenues.

Toyota, in its quest to capitalize on Japan’s emerging motorsport scene, sought Yamaha’s assistance. Although Toyota initially declined Yamaha’s A550X sports coupe prototype, they recognized Yamaha’s potential and invited them to contribute to the MF10 project, which would evolve into the iconic Toyota 2000GT.

Yamaha’s Expertise in Design and Engineering
Yamaha’s involvement in the 2000GT extended beyond mere collaboration. Leveraging Yamaha’s expertise in boat-making techniques, the supercar’s body panels received meticulous attention from Yamaha’s skilled artisans. Employing woodworking techniques akin to crafting grand pianos, Yamaha artisans meticulously shaped the car’s interior, ensuring both aesthetics and durability.


The heart of the 2000GT, its engine, underwent a transformation under Yamaha’s guidance. Enhancing the Toyota Crown’s inline-six powerplant with a twin-cam head and three carburetors, Yamaha pushed the boundaries of performance, delivering a potent 150 horsepower to the rear axle. This partnership between Yamaha and Toyota birthed a powertrain that propelled the 2000GT into automotive legend.

Racing Glory and World Records
Toyota’s 2000GT made its mark not only on the streets but also on the racetrack. Tuned by Tosco, the supercar shattered speed records and clinched victories at prestigious events like the 24 Hours of Fuji and the Suzuka 1000 Kilometers. Despite adverse weather conditions, the 2000GT’s prowess prevailed, setting international records and garnering acclaim worldwide.

Although the original yellow and green 2000GT met its demise, its legacy lives on in the annals of automotive history. Today, the Toyota Museum proudly displays a replica, a testament to Yamaha’s instrumental role in realizing Japan’s first supercar dream.

Japan’s automotive heritage stands enriched by Yamaha’s pivotal role in bringing the Toyota 2000GT to fruition. From crafting exquisite body panels to engineering a powerhouse engine, Yamaha’s expertise permeated every aspect of the 2000GT’s creation. As automotive enthusiasts marvel at the sleek lines of Japan’s first supercar, they owe a debt of gratitude to Yamaha’s ingenuity and craftsmanship, forever etched in the annals of automotive history.