Toyota builds one-of-a-kind Century convertible for Japan's emperor
24 September 2019 - Autoblog
The drop-top parade car will remain a one-off model
Japan's 126th emperor will ride to his coronation ceremony in the only existing convertible version of the third-generation Toyota Century. The droptop was made in-house specifically for the occasion.
Introduced in 2018, the Century stands proud as the flagship of the global Toyota range, and unquestionably is one of the most luxurious Japanese cars ever built. The model built for Emperor Naruhito receives a specific rear seat that's a little bit higher than stock, and that has a fixed backrest. Gold crests on the outside of the car serve as a reminder that it was born to carry royalty.
Toyota explained it chose the Century because it ticks all of the right boxes. It's made in Japan, it's big and stately, it's safe, and it's powerful. While the current-generation model lost its predecessor's V12 in the name of downsizing, it's nonetheless worthy of majesty with a 425-horsepower hybrid powertrain built around 5.0-liter V8 also found in several members of the Lexus range.
The parade car will transport Emperor Naruhito from the Imperial Palace to the Akasaka Palace on Oct. 22, according to Japanese Nostalgic Car. The 2.8-mile trip is expected to take approximately 30 minutes. Someone in average shape could outrun it, but the driver needs to keep the convoy's pace in check so that spectators are able to get a good look at the emperor. That's why the rear seats are higher; you can bet every smartphone in a 500-yard radius will be pointed at the car.
The 30-minute jaunt might be the Century's longest trip. While Toyota plans to occasionally parade it during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the convertible was built specifically for the coronation ceremony, and the emperor isn't expected to use it on a regular basis. It will remain a one-off model, too. The carmaker hasn't announced plans to let Plebeian motorists buy a car designed for Japan's royalty.