Japanese Emperor’s New Ride Is This Convertible Toyota Century Limousine

The hand-built Century limousine is already one of the world’s most exclusive vehicles, let alone this one-off.

byJames Gilboy|
People photo


When Japan coronated Emperor Naruhito back in May, news surfaced that Toyota would supply the monarchy with a new parade car for the enthronement ceremony in October. That machine has since been created, and it’s a custom-built, one-off Century limousine with a convertible roof. Photos of the car surfaced at last this Thursday, courtesy of the Prime Minister's Office of Japan.

Prime Minister's Office of Japan

Owing to its handcrafted manufacturing process, the Century is available only in limited production numbers to Japan's elite, and is seen as a greater status symbol than most foreign luxury cars. Ergo, it's the perfect vehicle for Japan's symbolic leader, who will be transported to his enthronement on Oct. 22 in the monarchy's first new parade car in 30 years. Its previous model, a 1990 Rolls-Royce Corniche III, was only ever used twice and has fallen into disrepair since its last use in 1993, for then-Crown Prince Naruhito's wedding.

Emperor Naruhito's first ride in a parade car since then will take place in this Century's second row, whose seats have been raised and reclined at 25 degrees to make him more visible to roadside viewers and photographers along the planned 2.85-mile parade route through Tokyo. In typical Japanese fashion, the government chose a route that'd minimize impact on the city’s dense traffic.

Prime Minister's Office of Japan

After the ceremony, the Japanese government will retain the vehicle for display and infrequent use. Emperor Naruhito is expected to ride in his special Century again for a parade to celebrate the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Toyota said it'll showcase cars that can drive themselves.

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