Car Show Outtake: 1997 Toyota Century – An Expression Of Japanese Dignity

Finding Toyota’s absolute top model for their domestic market and Japan’s only production car ever with a V12 engine, what an unexpected treat it was when visiting the Japan Classic Day on May 20. The Toyota Century is a luxurious flagship limousine for Japanese dignitaries and captains of industry. A conservatively styled automobile with an exceptional build quality and driven by a chauffeur.

The first generation, powered by a V8 engine, was introduced in 1967. The production of a redesigned Century started in April 1997; it also received a new, majestic V12 engine.

The Century is a full-size sedan alright, yet with an overall length of 5.27 m (207.5”) it’s not going ridiculously over the top.

The owner was so kind as to open the hood and start the engine, resulting in a sound of silence. Toyota’s 1GZ-FE engine is a 5.0 liter DOHC 48v V12 with variable valve timing. Its factory rated maximum power output is 280 DIN-hp; a rather conservative rating, so to speak.

The transmission is a 4-speed automatic, in 2005 the Century got a 6-speed automatic.

Cloth upholstery, everywhere.

The logo comes from the Asian mythology and represents the Japanese Imperial Family.

As mentioned, the first generation was launched in 1967. That’s exactly a century after Sakichi Toyoda’s birthyear, he was the founder of Toyota Industries.

The text at the bottom says the car is completely hand-built in 9 days by a select group of 42 assemblers. Power and performance are adequate.

Related reading:

Perpetual Classic: 2013 Toyota Century – The Ultimate Brougham Time Machine