This Custom One-Off Toyota Century Is The Japanese Emperor’s New Ride

Japan’s newly-crowned emperor will ride in a custom drop-top Toyota Century for his official coronation in October.

byChris Teague|
Builds photo

As if Japan's Emperor Naruhito being crowned ruler of the land of Toyota Skylines and dajibans wasn’t cool enough, he will celebrate the new position while riding in a one-off Toyota Century convertible. The Wall Street Journal first reported that the newly-ascended head of state will be driven in a drop-top version of Toyota's old-school luxury sedan in October.

The custom convertible will be based on the newest version of the Toyota Century, which received only its second major overhaul in 50 years for the 2018 model year. The latest Century is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine and two electric motors that make a combined 425 horsepower—leisurely numbers for a car that weighs 5,220 pounds.

The big Toyota starts at almost $200,000, can’t be bought outside of Japan, and is only available to select customers on the island nation. Only 50 hand-built Centurys will roll out of the factory each month.

The Japanese royal family is well versed in big luxury cars, and Emperor Naruhito’s Century will be the second version of this Toyota in its fleet. The other Centuries replaced a flock of Nissan Prince Royal limos that had served the family for 40 years. The emperor rode in a Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible for his 1993 wedding as well. The Rolls is reportedly in too shabby a state for coronation parade duties.

We won't see the new Century until October, but we do have a bit of detail thanks to a Japanese government document reported by Roadshow (if you’re keen on reading Japanese). The emperor’s car has to be environmentally-friendly and safe. It must also be usable on a daily basis and have a large rear seat that provides a clear view of the emperor and empress. The only car that checked all the boxes was the Toyota Century, with its 32 mpg fuel economy ratings, upgraded airbag suspension, and lavish rear seating space.