Toyota Century - The Ultimate Japanese Luxury Car
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The Toyota Century Royal
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Toyota Century: Japan's Finest Automobile
Chances are, many of you have never heard of the Toyota Century, and chances are even slimmer that you have ever or will ever see one in person.
The Toyota Century got it's name from the marking of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sakichi Toyoda, one of Japan's greatest inventors, and also the original founder of Toyota Motor Co.
The Toyota Century started production in 1967 as Toyota's flagship vehicle, in response to the debut of the Nissan President in 1965. The first generation lasted a remarkable 30 years, and the Toyota Century didn't receive is first major makeover until 1997! There were some very minor cosmetic, functionality, and engine changes during the first generation of its existence. The second generation is still currently in production, and the Toyota Century is still the top ranking luxury vehicle produced by Toyota, even ranking above the top of the line Lexus LS600h.
There is also a custom model, called the Toyota Century Royal, which is only used by senior members of the Imperial House of Japan. They have a fleet of four that are regularly used. The Toyota Century Royal is likely equipped with bomb-proof armor, bullet-proof windows, and self-inflating tires, although the security installations remain undisclosed to the public for obvious reasons. The fleet of Toyota Century Royals are as long as the Mercedes-Benz produced Maybach 62, and a whopping six-and-a-half feet wide!
1/24 Toyota Century Scale Models
A very rare scale model of the VG45 Toyota Century. They are expensive but quite detailed and extremely hard to come by.
The First Generation Toyota Century
Toyota Century: The First Generation
As we learned before, the first generation of the Toyota Century lasted an amazing 30 years without any major changes, from 1967 all the way through 1997. There were three different series of Toyota Century engines used during these 30 years though. It debuted with the chassis code VG20 in 1967 with Toyota's 3-liter 3V series V8 engine and used it until 1973. The chassis code was changed to VG21 and VG30 when the 3.0 engine was changed to the slightly bigger, more powerful 3.4-liter 4V-U, lasted almost a decade up through 1982. In 1982 it got an even beefier engine, the 5V-EU 4.0L V8, along with the chassis code VG40. There was also a L-type introduced in 1990 which was essentially an extended wheelbase model under VG45, and they both lasted up through the ending of the first generation in 1997.
The first generation Toyota Century was produced in very limited numbers, and were almost completely built by hand.
A short advertisement for the Toyota Century
Toyota Century: The Second Generation
The second generation of the Toyota Century started production in 1997, and is still the current production model. It is still amazing to me the fact that this car has been in production for over four decades, and has only had one major makeover, aside from the custom built Toyota Century Royal in use by the Imperial House of Japan.
Since the remodeling of 1997, the engine was replaced with an exclusive Toyota Century V12, known as the 1GZ-FE engine. It is still the only V12 in production by Toyota.
We can say that a Toyota Century is a car not to be driven, but a car to be driven in, because the rear seats provide a huge amount of legroom. They can fully recline, are equipped with massage motors, and are adjustable in just about any way you can imagine! The interior's rear section is usually equipped with wool instead of leather, because it makes less noise when moving around. The doors even open and close electronically to reduce noise, a technology just recently being used by high-end Chevrolet and Cadillac models. Instead of window tint, many of the cars come with white curtains installed.
The current Toyota Century price in Japan is approximately $100,000 USD, and although cheaper that the Lexus LS600h, with a price tag 25% higher at approximately $125,000 USD, is considered to be more luxurious and prestigious, because of the rarity and difficulty of acquiring one.