If you see a new Toyota Century rolling around the streets of Japan, the chances are it’s ferrying around someone important.
This particularly Century, however, will have the ultimate VIP aboard: Naruhito, Emperor of Japan. Naruhito’s ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne happened on 1 May following the abdication of his father Akihito, but his coronation won’t occur until 22 October. He needs some wheels for the gig, which necessitated the creation of this very special one-off Century.
Based on the third-generation version of Toyota’s left-field Mercedes S-Class rival, it is - as you’ve hopefully noticed - lacking a roof. To ensure well-wishers can get the best view possible of the Emperor, the rear seats of this royal parade car have been jacked up by 40mm with the seatbacks fixed at a 45-degree angle.
There are no number plates, with the Century instead wearing gold imperial seals front and back, and also on both of the rear doors. As far as we know it’s mechanically identical to the regular Toyota limo, meaning it’s propelled by a hybrid V8 powertrain rather than the old ‘1GZ’ V12, which was Japan’s one and only production 12-cylinder engine.
The new member of the royal garage will be transporting Emperor Naruhito on a 2.85-mile journey from the Imperial Palace in Tokyo to Akasaka Palace. After the coronation, it’ll be on display at various palaces and used for occasions like the 2020 Olympics. It probably won’t be called into action all that much, however - the Rolls-Royce Corniche III used as the previous parade car was rolled out only two times over its 30 years in the job.
Source: Japanese Nostalia Car