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Totota 2000GT - You Only Live Twice

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The Bond car that Bond didn't drive...

Although Goldfinger had all the facets of a great Bond adventure, it was You Only Live Twice’s Roald Dahl-penned screenplay that triggered the need for a film’s evil genius to have an underground lair. Facing up to Blofeld (brilliantly played by Donald Pleasence) for the first time, in a hollowed-out volcano near Japan, Connery’s Bond underwent a delightfully naïve transformation in order to go native, and ended up saving the world. Yet again.When this film first appeared in 1967, it was a perfect medium to challenge the preconception held by us insular Brits that Japan was a backwater nation. The film clearly showed the country to be a techno hotbed – in-car TVs and private subways for the Intelligence Service’s boss were an indulgence – and capable of producing gadgets to match our finest. In what has become a Bond film tradition, the Toyota 2000GT starred in the film shortly after its launch on the market, making You Only Live Twice a perfect piece of international product placement. A convertible 2000GT was never commercially available and, looking at agent Aki’s car, it’s easy to conclude that Toyota missed a trick. It’s a stunning extension of the original Albrecht Goertz design and why it never made production is a mystery. The open-topped 2000GT happened by accident rather than design: Connery couldn’t comfortably fit in the standard coupé, and Toyota’s original solution was to create a targa-topped version. This resulted in the lead actor’s head sticking out comically – not good. A rapid top-chop was needed to maintain the car’s appearance in the film, and Toyota delivered one quickly. So hastily, in fact, that there was no top under that faux cover on the rear deck.

Toyota’s influence extended beyond the leading car: it supplied chrome-laden Crown saloons for Osato’s henchmen to look threatening in. One ended up on the end of an electro-magnet suspended from a CH-47 helicopter before being dropped into Tokyo Bay. Two 2000GTs were produced for the film, and one remains in the Toyota museum in its Tokyo HQ, while the other has dropped off the radar. Several recreations have been made, including this one that belongs to The Cars of The Stars museum. However, it does have a link with the film – it features the communications panel used in the original car, filmed in Pinewood. Once the 2000GT had run its course, there was a hiatus in Toyota sports car production – rather like Connery’s depiction of Bond. Both would return with a bang during the 1980s..

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