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The Toyota Century is a large four-door limousine produced by Kanto Auto Works, Ltd. under contract for Toyota mainly for the Japanese market. Production of the Century began in 1967 and the model received only minor changes until a redesign in 1997. The Century derived its name from the 100 year birth anniversary of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries. The name "Century" is written as センチュリー in Japanese characters and is pronounced similar to the English word. The Century was available with only a V8 engine since its introduction in 1967 until a major redesign in 1997, and is now only available with a V12, an engine unique to the Century.

The Century is produced in limited numbers and is built in a "nearly hand-made" fashion. It is often used by royalty, the Prime Minister of Japan, senior government leaders, and high level executive businessmen. The Century is comparable in purpose to the Austin Princess, ZIS/ZIL, Chinese Red Flag, Rolls-Royce and Maybach limousines. The Toyota Century is equipped with the fender mirrors characteristic of Japanese cars.

A special version, called the Toyota Century Royal, was produced for the Japanese Imperial Household, to be used by senior members of the imperial family, with the same purpose of the Bentley State Limousine presented to the British Royal Family. This special version has wool cloth upholstery, granite running board steps and Japanese rice paper headliner. Five vehicles were originally ordered, but due to the cost per vehicle, only four vehicles were built. This vehicle replaced the fleet of 30 year old Nissan Prince Royal limousines that were beginning to show their age, when one recently broke down in service. The Century Royal is exclusive to the Imperial Household.

The exterior styling of the Century has, with some modifications, remained unchanged since its introduction, primarily due to its perceived social status as the "preferred vehicle denoting conservative success" . Its appearance is iconic in Asian countries, usually painted black.

The Century received a complete redesign in 1997, although the new model was visually very similar to the old. This current model is powered by a 280 PS (206 kW; 276 hp) 5.0 L 1GZ-FE V12, initially with a 4-speed automatic, and then a 6-speed "intelligent" transmission. It also features air suspension. The Century remains the first and only Japanese front-engine, rear-wheel drive production car equipped with a V12.

The Century was Toyota's most luxurious model at its inception in 1967, and maintained this status throughout the 20th century. Today, it is positioned above the Lexus lineup, and remains the most luxurious and prestigious model to wear the Toyota badge. The Century is distinguished by different color options than the rest of the Toyota lineup.

For model year 2006, G-BOOK was added to the list of standard features.

Like other cars in the top of the luxury class, the Century is designed with the rear passengers in mind. Hence, the rear seats recline and the front passenger seat has a fold-down center section so that a passenger in the back may stretch his feet forward. The rear seats are equipped with a massage system. The exterior door handles open the doors electrically since the sound of the door being opened mechanically is perceived as being "too obtrusive". The doors do not need to be closed directly, instead the door only needs to contact the latch, causing the door to pull itself completely closed electrically.

The vehicles interior is usually ordered in wool cloth, not leather, due to the aroma of leather being less desirable and not as quiet as cloth when sat on. The vehicle can be ordered in any color the purchaser desires, however, the favorite colors are usually medium brown, burgundy or royal blue with black exterior paint. White lace curtains are usually installed in the rear window, instead of tinted windows, which are perceived to attract unwarranted attention. The passengers usually like to be seen in a Century, despite Asian tendencies for modesty.

The Century is priced at 11,445,000 or approximately US$100,000 (as of 2009[update]). In comparison, the base price for the ultra-luxury 2008 Lexus LS 460 is approximately 10,000,000 (US$87,000), [1] with the LS 600h L at 15,000,000 (US$125,800).

Although the Century is not exported outside Japan in large numbers, it is used frequently by officials stationed in overseas Japanese offices.

In contrast to other luxurious cars (such as the Maybach, Bentley, or Rolls-Royce), the Century has not been positioned and marketed as a sign of wealth or excess. Marketing literature states roughly that, "the Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit."

Best current Toyota, perhaps?
This thing is the definition of baller for me.
Wow, that's cool. It could do with some modernization though...

I would drive one of those in a heartbeat.
I don't see a single cool thing about that car.

Is it nice? Sure.

Cool? Not at all.
I voted neutral. It's old and dull...the royalty/head of state thing is understandable, but I don't see people calling the Cadillac DTS cool and the leader of the free world gets ferried around in that, so it can't be an instant "cool".
there is more to the free world than the US.

also, frozen
now here is a toyota that I like thumbs_up.gif
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Sep 29 2009, 12:40 AM) *
I voted neutral. It's old and dull...the royalty/head of state thing is understandable, but I don't see people calling the Cadillac DTS cool and the leader of the free world gets ferried around in that, so it can't be an instant "cool".

No, he gets ferried around in Cadillac One. Which is pretty cool by my book. The DTS is also FWD, with a V8, and fairly modern styling. This is a car that's only been updated once, looks largely the same, and is filled with random Japanese eccentricities.

EDIT: It's also the first and only Japanese production car with a V12.
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