In February 2020, we reported on the restoration of one of the world’s most iconic sportscars, the Toyota 2000 GT. The example in question, however, is steeped in provenance and just so happened to be the regular runabout for a certain Mrs Wessels, wife of Bert Wessels whose father, Albert, was responsible for bringing Toyota to South Africa in 1961. It also happens to be the last of the four 2000 GT’s originally imported into South Africa to remain on local soil.
At surface value, the red coupé seemed to be in pretty good condition and the staff at Toyota that have been put in charge of this refurbishment noted that it shouldn’t take too much to get the classic back on the road again…
Fast forward a whole pandemic and some lockdowns down the line and the latest update from Toyota SA is that the aluminium bodywork has been stripped of all paintwork and repairs done to certain panels. Panels have also be realigned by Dino’s Auto Body, the shop that has been commissioned to carry out the majority of the restoration work on the 2000 GT.
The repairs to the bodywork were done using period-correct techniques such as applying heated lead to damaged panels where it will then be smoothed over once it has cooled down. It’s worth noting that Dino’s Auto Body specialise in repairs of this nature, as evidenced by the 2000 GT’s contemporary nemesis, a Jaguar E-Type, that is being restored under the same roof.
An eyebrow or two have been raised as the original vehicle was Thunder Silver as noted in the vehicle’s records. The team working on the vehicle do agree, however, that this particular 2000 GT was in fact Solar Red, as confirmed by the red paintwork under the dashboard, headliner and carpets in the car. Perhaps Mrs Wessels’ request to have the car painted red was taken rather seriously, and no carpet was left unturned…
The team has made immense progress on the Nipponese classic, especially when one considers the challenges of restoring a vehicle when the world is put on hold for a couple of months.
We wait with anticipation for the next update on this project from Toyota SA.