Crown Prince Naruhito has transitioned to Emperor Naruhito of Japan as of May 1, 2019, and now that he’s taken the throne it’s time for him to choose a car for his ceremonial parade. Up until now, this has been a Rolls-Royce but, with new leadership comes new desires, and because of this, Rolls-Royce is out and, while you might not believe it, Toyota is in. That’s right; it has been officially confirmed via a press release directly from the Japanese Government that Emperor Naruhito’s new car is, in fact, a Toyota. And, it’s one that we don’t have in the States – it’s a Toyota Century. So what can lead a new Emperor to ditch the luxury that comes with any Rolls-Royce for a Toyota? Well, only the best from Japan’s best automaker – that’s what. It’s not just any Toyota Century that can’t be had in the United States – it’s a one-off Century convertible, and it’s the only one in the world.

Emperor Naruhito’s New Ceremonial Vehicle is a One-Off Toyota Century

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce Exterior
- image 736631

News about Emperor Naruhito’s one-off Toyota Century Convertible was first announced by the Wall Street Journal and then later confirmed by Japan’s official press release.

So, Naruhito didn’t only choose a Japan-only vehicle but has ordered a one-off that absolutely nobody else has. Is that enough to fend off the luxuriousness offered by Rolls-Royce?

Well, that depends on who you ask, but the choice was made back in January 2019, long before Naruhito officially took his throne on May 1, 2019. We won’t get to actually see the convertible Century until October, though, as that’s when Naruhito’s celebratory parade will actually take place.

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce Exterior
- image 736633
The Toyota Century is one of the most luxurious models that Toyota has ever produced, and it’s limited to the Japanese market only.

It’s been around since 1967 when it was launched to honor Sakichi Toyoda’s birthday – the man that founded Toyota way back then. Unlike a lot of cars, the Century has a long lifespan with the most recent model being released in 2018 after the outgoing model was on the market for 10 years. Unlike the outgoing model, the 2018 Toyota Century rocks out a hybrid, V-8 drivetrain that’s good for 394 horsepower (100+ horsepower over the outgoing model with a V-12) and it most certainly has an automatic transmission. The thing is, however, that the Century is literally the nicest Toyota that you can’t buy. It features Rolls-Royce levels of luxury, space, and quality but with a Toyota badge. Naruhito’s model is a one-off, so you can bet the interior will be the most luxurious offering that Toyota can concoct, and it will have unlimited headroom as well. You can expect to see real-wood trim, in multiple varieties, the finest leather and Alcantara the Japanese government can find, and probably plenty of extra electronics and technology that we didn’t see in the model that debuted back in 2018.

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce Exterior
- image 736634

Now, here’s the real kicker. Even if you wanted one here in the States, and Toyota would actually import one, you probably couldn’t afford it. The base, entry-level model is priced at 19,600,000 Yen or in the neighborhood of $175,000.

Needless to say, that’s a hell of a lot for a Toyota, and this isn’t your grandma’s Camry.

With that in mind, you can probably guess that a one-off model built by Toyota, and to the requirements of the Japanese government, will cost a whole lot more. Just to be accepted by the Japanese government the Century had to be available domestically (for Japan,) must be larger than the other cars in the caravan, and it had to be designed in a way that the emperor and empress could be easily seen. On top of that, it has to offer extreme safety and top-notch performance in both efficiency and power. As for now, you have to use your imagination if you want to know what a convertible Century looks like as Toyota hasn’t built it yet (as best we can tell) and there certainly aren’t any pictures.

Toyota Century Nameplate History

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce
- image 737327
The Century nameplate is a whopping 50 years old as of 2017, which makes it older than the iconic Camry

The Century nameplate is a whopping 50 years old as of 2017, which makes it older than the iconic Camry. Launched as the largest Toyota ever in 1967, it served as the company’s flagship model in Japan and was the brand’s most luxurious offering until the Lexus LS was introduced in 1989. It was developed in order to compete with the Nissan President, launched in 1965.

The original Century was based on the Crown Eight sedan and arrived in showrooms with an upgraded version of the company’s then-popular 3.0-liter V-8. A new 3.4-liter V-8 was introduced in 1973, while the larger 4.0-liter V-8 arrived in 1982 with fuel injection and emission control technology. The Century was 5.1 meters long and 1.9 meters wide, but the 1982 update extended the car to 5.27 meters. During Japan’s "Bubble Economy," when sales of the Century doubled from 1985 to 1989, Toyota launched a longer wheelbase model, called the Century Limousine. This variant was a whopping 5.77 meters long.

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce
- image 737326
The first-gen century remained in production until 1997 with minor changes inside and out

The first-gen century remained in production until 1997 with minor changes inside and out. However, the 1982 update brought some revisions to the original 1960s styling. This was further upgraded with the second-gen car, which arrived in 1997. Although it retained the dimensions of the first model, the Century gained more modern looks and a brand-new, 5.0-liter V-12 engine. It also gained its first four-speed automatic transmission, which was replaced by a six-speed in 2005. The V-12 was rated at 276 horsepower, which wasn’t bad for the mid-1990s, but wasn’t a lot either given that the sedan tipped the scales a 4,390 pounds.

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce
- image 737328
The second-generation Century was discontinued in late 2016

In 2006, Toyota launched the Century Royal, a 6.15-meter long version produced for the Imperial House of Japan. Specs were the same, but the interior had custom appointments and significantly better comfort. The longer body and the revised internals made the Royal more than 2,000 pounds heavier than the standard model. Only four of these cars were built, and word has it that each cost $500,000 to build. The second-generation Century was discontinued in late 2016, after almost 20 years of production.

Further reading

Crown Prince Naruhito is Ascending to the Japanese Throne, But His Prized Display Vehicle Won't Be a Rolls-Royce Exterior
- image 736633

Read our full review on the 2018 Toyota Century.

Source: WSJ

On the Selection of the Emperor and Empress’s Car in "The Celebration of the Row"
January 17, 2019
Office of the Presidential succession ceremony
Regarding the selection of the Emperor and Empress car in "The Celebration of the Row", the following
You
Requirements required for the first car
(1) At the Second Ceremony Committee meeting, the following requirements for "new car requirements"
It is assumed that
1 Available domestically
2 Higher model size and larger size than other vehicles forming a train
3 Able to secure a certain size in the rear seat
4 High safety performance (collision safety, automatic braking, etc.)
5 High environmental performance (fuel efficiency, exhaust gas purification performance, etc.)
(2) In light of the purpose of the ceremony, it is necessary to consider the following points.
A. It is easy to see the appearance of the Emperor and Empress on the back seat.
about.
B. In the policy (FY2013) established by the Cabinet Office Headquarters regarding the procurement of environmental goods etc.
Be in agreement.
C. After checking the strength of the vehicle body and running on a test, etc.
There is a possibility that it will be delivered reliably by the due date.
D. Continued good maintenance and maintenance services so as not to cause any problems in applications
A system that can be received by
E. It is easy to effectively use and maintain daily routine after the ritual is over.
Second examination result
 As a result of examination at the secretariat, vehicles that meet all the requirements listed in
Yota Motor Co., Ltd.’s "Century"
Remodeling was only).
Therefore, the cars used in the "Gallery of the Celebration" are
It is assumed that

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder:
Related Manufacturers