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Alfadog

For Interest Only (Toyota 2000GT)

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If the Toyota driving experience was an event, then that certainly supports the aura around this car.

As far as the money being chump change, you are correct. If someone wants something and money is not an object, they will get it. Since you are on the other side of the pond, Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Man U. ran $1.5B (not a typo). I know Man U. is a storied franchise, but $1.5B is a HUGE sum for ANY franchise (including the NY Yankees). To Glazer, it was nothing.

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Rich,

you are so right and it's only a football team (soccer to us here in 'states) but just look at the sport of sailing and Ten Turner's famous run for the America's Cup. It all comes down to scalability.

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Bob - thx. I also agree with your comments on the Japanese auto industry. As a Product Manager (essentially a Marketing function), I am passionate about realization of a concept into a tangible product or service.

Japan, after the war, was assisted by a team of people that included a guy named W. Edwards Deming - Deming was a proponent of something called TQM - total quality management, which was to assist corporations improve product testing, design, services, sales, etc.

His principles were not widely adopted in the US, but he was a MAJOR contributor to the Japanese manufacturing machine. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan (amongst others that include Matsushita/Panasonic, Sony, etc) applied his principles and you can see that in the quality of their product against those of other countries. If you are interested, look him up - in my profession, he is a legend, but it's amazing how few American companies adhere to his principles (and I've worked for GE, Dow Jones, Lucent, and a few others).

To that end, that the success of Toyota - a giant - can be traced to humble origins such as the 2000GT seems to strike a chord with me. I see the 2000GT as a risky, bold move - something perhaps Toyota of 2006 would never do. That in and of itself seems to make the car "worth" more in my mind. There is an intangible here. If this same car were called the "Opel GT-R" or "Jag E-Type vII", maybe it's not the same. I am curious what a similar Prince badged car might be worth stateside (specifically one of the race vehicles like the R380).

It is for this reason that I think the 240Z is undervalued and will see it's due. The car was a risky move that helped create a giant industry for Japan. Not too many people will spend the same premium for a Triumph or MG, so the history behind the car and company must be a contributing factor.

Sorry to be long winded, this is quite a stimulating conversation.

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Rich,

It seems as though this conversation was to happen sooner or later. It just so happens that as a requirement of my major (finance) I am studying a 300 level marketing class this semester and that coupled to running through Japanese history at a breakneck pace last semester (3 books, 1 visiting professor, and about 200-400 pp of reading for 14 weeks) I am bound to see Deming's name yet again. I saw his name in a 400 level project management class as well as a 300 level information systems class last semester.

I see a trend here in both of your seections of classic automobiles-- finding and seeking undervalued classics. I think it is fun to see the trends in the classic car hobby. As a brief sidebar I was into Mazda RX-7's about ten years ago for daily drivers and they had reached a trough in terms of values and just recently Hemmings did an article on the SA bodied RX-7 GSL-SE (I owned an '85) and they pegged the value a bit too low. As evidenced recently on an ebay (not the bible) transaction where a 29k original unmolested example with complete records made better than $8,000! Like Z's a stock original is the rarest of the breed. I believe another tough find would a stock Honda CRX Si --try to find one with less than 50k with paperwork. As the funky little Honda S600 becomes more rare the values are sure to rise on this little gem. It would be neat to see this parked next to an Honda S200 in a garage?

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Rich,

you are so right and it's only a football team (soccer to us here in 'states) but just look at the sport of sailing and Ten Turner's famous run for the America's Cup. It all comes down to scalability.

Ted's victory with Courageous was incredibly inexpensive compared to more recent America's cup races where the syndicates build multiple yachts out of carbon fiber and other advanced materials. Also, money alone wouldn't have been enough to win. He was actually a good skipper. I agree that in recent years it's been more about the money. Shoot, the current champion is from Switzerland

As an aside, I got to crew aboard Dennis Conner's Stars & Stripes (USA-55) a couple of years ago that he used to win the cup back from Australia in 1987 before losing it again.

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Bob - yes, I think we are kindred spirits there. I have really only a few criteria when selecting a "classic":

1) It has to be historically "significant" - I put this in quotes because that's subjective, but important to me. It's why a Dino Ferrari is worth 2-3 x a Ferrari 308 (although I am not quite old enough to remember the Dino, I am old enough to remember the aftermath - it was lauded for designed, panned for having a "FIAT" engine)

2) It has to have performance that was respectable compared to it's contemporaries - it's what separates a 240Z from an Opel GT or Triumph GT6

3) It has to be a good value - again, that's a subjective rating depending on the buyer (see 2000GTs), but the 240Z is a GREAT value IMHO. So is the E-Type coupe. There's a ton more, you know we've had these discussions. My list is somewhat endless...

As far as school, I am about 16 years out of college, but I loved my Deming study. As a Product Manager in the Technology field, his principles are so relevant, it hurts. In discussing him, I long to go back and re-read some of the texts I kept. I was actually thinking of writing a Product Management book that would be keeping with the Deming philosophy, certainly that of companies managing to a bottom line as opposed to the intangibles. I always respected Apple for this - their products have a "je ne sais quois" that differentiates them from the mainstream.

I think we mentioned a few posts ago - the 350Z was, in my mind, a miss in terms of design. I would have prefered a little more retro in it. I do stil dig the newer Jaguar designs, especially the saloons - they look like they old cars.

My only problem is I don't have enough money to have the stable I want. I am still fairly young, but with 2 young'uns, it will be hard. I DID snap up the Z and E since I knew appreciation was imminent and I wanted in. Unfortunately, there are quite a few more of these undervalued cars I would like to acquire!!!

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Dennis Conner was a gamer though! Interesting story - I worked with a woman that was part of the all-woman America's Cup effort. It was kind of neat to see the pics and hear the stories of her experience.

Ok, pulling the conversation back - when is there going to be an awesome 2000GT replica built? We already have 2 buyers...heck, I was ready to buy a Beck 550 Spyder, but I'd take this one instead!

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Rich,

If you have a chance The Reckoning by David Halberstam (circa 1986?) is certainly a great book and is told in an informal manner and pits the story of Nissan and Ford.

Bon chance if you decide to go ahead with your project management book. That is a large personal undertaking/personal journey.

I too have long admired the Beck 550 Spyder for staying so closely to the original. In that idiom I would also love to have a chance to drive or own a Lotus Super 7 replica. I heard of a rumor that Yoshikawa-san was attempting to get a series of aluminum 2000GT bodies produced. Let your mind ponder that one for a moment.

I also like your criteria and at various times have employed a few of them though not as often as I should have. Restraint is a key word for someone like myself.

MikeW,

A friend of mine would love to talk to you about your experiences. I tend to be a monohull type of guy but he is an extremist and I am slowly being converted to multihulls. His love of the Ian Farrier designed trimarans have inspired me to take a few test rides or demo sails as it were. His new F-22R promises to be a success and lord knows those boats hold their value.

I am lucky enough to live close to Annapolis where there is night racing three or four times a week depending upon the time of year and there are some attractive females that love to sail as well. My friend has raced in the Pensacola Beach area and there is alot of interest in the Worrell 1000 which is a gruelling race to say the least.

(boy has this thread covered alot of ground?)

At least we seek to provide value on many layers or something like that.:knockedou

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...snipped...

Japan, after the war, was assisted by a team of people that included a guy named W. Edwards Deming

Hi Rich:

I'm with you... After 20 years in the AeroSpace Industry, Dr. Deming seems to be an old friend. With Manned Space Systems - everything had to be the highest possible quality, and everyone I worked with was a total believer... (sadly even with the best human efforts... we all see that things still go wrong at times)

Dr. Deming's Statistical Quality Control techniques certainly laid a foundation upon which the production of high quality products from Japan was built Post WW-II. Indeed Nissan Motors won a Deming Award 1959/60.

You may find a study of Dr. Joseph M. Juran a nice compliment to Deming's work. Dr. Juran actually took Dr. Deming's statistical techniques and processes controls from the physical world of production, into the human world of Management. His Total Quality Management and Continual Process Improvement methods have evolved over the years into Six Sigma today.

If you haven't read it already - "KAIZEN The Key to Japan's Competitive Success" by: Masaaki Imai is another very interesting read. (ISBN 394-55186-9

If you are interested in going back to the beginning of the automobile industry in Japan, I'm sure you would find the book "William R. Gorham - An American Engineer in Japan" a fascinating study.

Written by his closest friends in Japan, after his death in 1949 Mr. Gorham is credited with all but building Japan's modern industrial base prior to WW-II, and was the key person in the technological foundation of Nissan Motors (even before it was Nissan!). (ISBN 1-4116-5549-4 ) You can order the book in either digital form, or hard copy from Lulu.com <a href=http://www.lulu.com/content/174439 TARGET=NEW> http://www.lulu.com/content/174439 </a>

Nissan and Toyota were neck and neck for the #1 Sales Spot in the 60's and 70's.... Nissan lost it's focus on Quality (Deming/Juran) in the early 80's and they lost ground to Toyota though the 80's and 90's. Sadly with all the mergers and re-organizations at Nissan, I haven't seen it return to the path followed so well by Toyota.

FWIW

Carl B.

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If you are interested in going back to the beginning of the automobile industry in Japan, I'm sure you would find the book "William R. Gorham - An American Engineer in Japan" a fascinating study.

Written by his closest friends in Japan, after his death in 1949 Mr. Gorham is credited with all but building Japan's modern industrial base prior to WW-II, and was the key person in the technological foundation of Nissan Motors (even before it was Nissan!). (ISBN 1-4116-5549-4 ) You can order the book in either digital form, or hard copy from Lulu.com <a href=http://www.lulu.com/content/174439 TARGET=NEW> http://www.lulu.com/content/174439 </a>

Nissan and Toyota were neck and neck for the #1 Sales Spot in the 60's and 70's.... Nissan lost it's focus on Quality (Deming/Juran) in the early 80's and they lost ground to Toyota though the 80's and 90's. Sadly with all the mergers and re-organizations at Nissan, I haven't seen it return to the path followed so well by Toyota.

FWIW

Carl B.

Thanks Carl,

I was at a loss and couldn't remember Gorham's name when typing my last post. With regard to Nissan falling behind to Toyota--put the last nail in that coffin. Nissan couldn't possibly hope to catch up to Toyota unless something drastic were to happen to Toyota as they have such a strong cash position among other factors going for them.

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Carl, you are a veritable encyclopedia!

I am familiar with Juran, not with Gorham, so that looks like fine reading! At GE, I had been exposed to Six Sigma, which was something that worked very well for Motorola. The downside is that management started drinking too much Kool-Aid and everyone was doing "green belt" projects - no one did any real work!! There's certainly pros/cons.

I am with both you and Bob on the Quality thing between Nissan and Toyota. This is why I always refer back to Deming et al - Quality is a holistic "thing" - it's not simply lowered defects, it's part of the end-to-end lifecycle and processes, including the customer experience. While Japan, Inc. certainly has the product quality down pat, the Achilles Heel still remains the customer experience. Toyota is on such a roll that products practically sell themselves - but has anyone purchased a Toyota in the past 10-15 years? I won't say this is a blanket statement, but the process is so bad, I have literally walked out of a Toyota dealership cursing up a storm.

Nissan can stay in the game with designing good products from a desirability perspective. Their product quality has been deficient since Renault has taken over. They COULD minimize that perception by improving the customer buying experience - strategically, that's Toyota (and Honda's) weakest point.

I'll supplement the requested reading library - "Well Made in America: Lessons from Harley-Davidson on Being the Best" by Peter Reid. It's the story of Harley from the management buyout from AMF to it's ultimate success in the Motorcycle industry. One of the focus areas for Harley was the customer experience. They knew that product quality improvements would take time, but they could sway perceptions by making the dealerships "user friendly". They strong-armed the dealers, and those that didn't cooperate were disassociated from HD. Back then, you'd walk into a dealer that catered more to the Biker Gang crowd. Today, all showrooms are well lit, airy, friendly, etc.

In my line of work, it's easy to forget that quality does not stop once product is in the channel. It's carried through all the way to the customer - something many vehicle manufacturers are forgetting in this day and age.

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Now, I don't speak French, but this site has some great photos, not only of the 2000gt, but of various Toyota Prototypes (cool gallery), and some great shots of the 240Z. Nice, clean site, easy to figure out-enjoy

http://www.2000gt.net/

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