The Century, King of the Toyotas

2016 Toyota Century front LH view

If you want to import a Century to the USA, you’ll need to wait until 2022 if you insist on the V12

When I went to Japan for the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, I was eager to spot real live examples of the Toyota Century on the street. Sure, the Toyota Crown Comfort is a luxurious workhorse deserving of great respect, but the Century has been around since 1967 and is only on its second generation now. Why change the most dignified luxury car 12,538,286 yen can buy?

Toyota Century with BBS wheels

Sure enough, parked right outside the hotel lobby was this Century with some gangsterish custom touches, including BBS wheels, lace curtains, and mobbed-up-looking chauffeur. I’ve been looking into importing a Honda Acty Street kei van, but now I am going to start checking out Century deals. The only problem is that the 1GZ-FE V12 engine only went into the Century starting in 1997, which means V12 Centuries won’t be legal in the United States until 2022. Still, the earlier V8-powered Century looks pretty good.

Toyota Century V12 emblem

Mitsubishi no longer makes the Debonair, and Nissan has stopped making the President. The Century is the last of the old-school 1960s Japanese crime-boss cars (fine, most of them are used by legit businessmen, not the Tokyo version of Vito Corleone), and I’m willing to wait six more years to drive one every day.

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