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RE: Toyota Century: Spotted

RE: Toyota Century: Spotted

Tuesday 16th January

Toyota Century: Spotted

The Japanese Rolls-Royce has made its way to the UK, and doesn't it look imperious?



Lurking in the maze that is the PH classifieds is a fascinating sub-category: under 'Toyota' is 'Other Models' and contained in there are 183 incredible automobiles. Alright, perhaps they're not all incredible. Most of them are C-HRs. But look at what can be found: an excellent 80s Land Cruiser, whatever a Toyota Noah is, a manual Soarer and this, a Toyota Century.

Brought back to the public attention this year with the V8 hybrid model, this Century that has made its way to UK shores is one of the second-generation V12 cars. An early one too, as 1997 was the year the second model arrived. 30 years after the first one. Presumably there was some surprise at an entire replacement for that just two decades after it was introduced...


It's a remarkable creation, the Century. It's Japan's first and only front-engined, rear-drive V12, and indeed the 1GZ-FE engine was made specifically for the Century. The attention lavished on its creation is incredible for a car that's now entering its third decade: should a problem occur, the V12 could run on six cylinders. The door handles operated electrically because mechanical operation was again perceived as too rowdy. There was air suspension, six airbags and massage seats, of course.

Perhaps the best bit of the Century, however, was its unpretentiousness - this was not, and never has been, a showy and flashy luxury car. To many it will probably look like a fancy minicab of some kind, with only a very select few identifying it as one of the most fascinating cars to ever leave Japan.

This particular Century is the first we've ever seen on PistonHeads, and there surely can't be many here at all. It has covered a fairly modest 56,000 miles in its 20 years on this planet, which sounds inconsequential for a car of such engineering integrity and focus. You best hope it's reliable though, because sourcing parts for a V12 luxury saloon sold only in Japan might prove difficult in the UK. Beyond upgrades to the stereo, nav and parking sensors - presumably some of those were to make them work in the UK - it's a completely standard Century too.


Attempting to assess the value of this Century - for sale at £12,995, or £11,500 without the 'J14 APN' plate - is both difficult and largely redundant: if you want the car, little else is going to match it. And if you want a German uberbarge, a big Toyota won't cut the mustard. Still, no harm in looking...

See, the Toyota can be made to look decent value with this V12 Mercedes S600, for sale at £12,495 with 86,000 miles. But you could also have a V12, long-wheelbase 7 Series for £6k, or an actual Japanese 7 Series - with just 13,000 miles - for £8,940. Finally, a British Rolls-Royce isn't miles away from the Japanese remake - this 1989 Silver Spirit II is £15,000.

But none of those are called Century. None will be as rare. None personify the Japanese attention to detail and fastidious engineering effort like this car - it makes a Lexus LS look like a Micra. It's going to take some effort to maintain, and nobody will ever know what it is, but we love a curio at PH. And there's nothing that better represents 'curio' than a Century, even in the Toyota Other Models section of our classifieds.


SPECIFICATION - TOYOTA CENTURY

Engine: 4,996cc, V12
Transmission: 4-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 276@5,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 355@4,000rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1997
Mileage: 56,000 miles
Price new: 9,250,000 yen
Price now: £12,995

See the original advert here.

 

 

Author
Discussion

HRCM

Original Poster:

17 posts

15 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
No fanx

Jimmy Recard

13,946 posts

105 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Fantastic. I would love one of these V12 versions. There's something much more interesting than an S-Class in there.

I'd save the cash and not have the crap number plate though

Aes87

112 posts

9 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Looks a bit North Korean or Russian

easytiger123

1,201 posts

135 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Spent 8 years in Tokyo and been a passenger in a few. I seem to recall most of them had cloth seats, and there was a latch on the back of the front passenger seat that allowed the passenger in the rear to open a hatch and stretch out to stick his feet onto the front passenger seat. Looks like this one also has that feature.

Loyly

15,897 posts

85 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
This is magnificent. I love the understated, Town Car style exterior and the simple but lavish interior. It looks very plush. It would need a specialist buyer in the UK though, the market for buyers for aging Japanese luxury chauffeur cars is pretty small.
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alorotom

3,714 posts

113 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Very surprised at the leather and not velour!!

Like it a lot but don’t think I could live with one

shakotan

9,445 posts

122 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
easytiger123 said:
Spent 8 years in Tokyo and been a passenger in a few. I seem to recall most of them had cloth seats, and there was a latch on the back of the front passenger seat that allowed the passenger in the rear to open a hatch and stretch out to stick his feet onto the front passenger seat. Looks like this one also has that feature.
Leather is an option not taken by most Japanese executives. They simply don't like it, it's hot in summer and cold in winter. Almost every luxury car in Japan is specced with velour; the Century is a rate exception.

Same goes for cruise control, very few JDM cars have it fitted as they rarely take long car journeys; the public transport infrastructure is efficient enough not to have to drive.

Barchettaman

1,914 posts

58 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Well, it looks like a Toyota Comfort that's been on the pies, it will drink like a fish whilst returning meagre performance in return, I would imagine it isn't the most fun on anything other than a smooth motorway, and parts availablity is likely to be migraine-inducing.

That Japan-import E38 740 linked in the article, on the other hand, looks absolutely stunning, even at nearly £9k.

Tuvra

7,362 posts

151 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
HRCM said:
No fanx
+1, Its horrible!!

If you want Japanese Luxury just buy an LS430 for £3k less! confused

forzaminardi

1,832 posts

113 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Brilliant car. I'd love to run about in that.

tankplanker

2,084 posts

205 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
shakotan said:
Leather is an option not taken by most Japanese executives. They simply don't like it, it's hot in summer and cold in winter. Almost every luxury car in Japan is specced with velour; the Century is a rate exception.
I thought most Centurys came with wool as it is viewed as more luxurious than leather?

Have a read of the full description here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16vfJ5hTXYk

Krikkit

11,596 posts

107 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
shakotan said:
easytiger123 said:
Spent 8 years in Tokyo and been a passenger in a few. I seem to recall most of them had cloth seats, and there was a latch on the back of the front passenger seat that allowed the passenger in the rear to open a hatch and stretch out to stick his feet onto the front passenger seat. Looks like this one also has that feature.
Leather is an option not taken by most Japanese executives. They simply don't like it, it's hot in summer and cold in winter. Almost every luxury car in Japan is specced with velour; the Century is a rate exception.
Most Century's I've seen have velour - when I first looked at the pics I was expecting it to be leather in front and velour in the back (a la chauffeur-driven cars of old), but obviously not!

Have a massive soft spot for these, would definitely have one in my 100k garage.

cheddar

3,826 posts

100 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
5 litre V12 and only 276bhp?

Chinny okey dokey.

More like - whoops, sorry - 400bhp.

Unnapealingly ugly, still kinda want

But for £4k, not 12



Fastdruid

5,108 posts

78 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Tuvra said:
HRCM said:
No fanx
+1, Its horrible!!

If you want Japanese Luxury just buy an LS430 for £3k less! confused
An LS isn't a patch on the Century.

cybersimon

170 posts

95 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
I'll wait for a MkIII (Hybrid) to get over here. 19 years counting down.

https://www.pistonheads.com/news/ph-japanesecars/t...

TristPerrin

77 posts

104 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Love this, but would never want to own one. The bork factor is off the scale! Just imagine how many bespoke parts it must have, I bet even basic service items and components are near impossible to obtain in the UK.

only1ian

505 posts

120 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
PH towers I claim this as an already spotted. Put this on the barge thread about a week ago!

It's cool as feck and will be bullet proof!

Fastdruid

5,108 posts

78 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
TristPerrin said:
Love this, but would never want to own one. The bork factor is off the scale! Just imagine how many bespoke parts it must have, I bet even basic service items and components are near impossible to obtain in the UK.
I imagine that any Century specific parts would be hellish to get hold of...but it's basically a top end Lexus and they hardly go wrong so you'll probably not need more than basic service items... Which would probably be shared with the LS etc.

dufunk

121 posts

49 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
1GZ was never really made for performance more smoothness and durability it did that amazingly well. Allow people in Japan and America made twin turbo versions and they sounded as good as a Lambo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iyw20RCk8Yo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbF9uHoIvDs

Edited by dufunk on Tuesday 16th January 10:06

Tuvra

7,362 posts

151 months

Tuesday 16th January
quotequote all
Fastdruid said:
Tuvra said:
HRCM said:
No fanx
+1, Its horrible!!

If you want Japanese Luxury just buy an LS430 for £3k less! confused
An LS isn't a patch on the Century.
Pull the other one!!

You'd have to be absolutely bonkers to spend £13k on that.