: The Toyota Century. Ever heard of it?

03-07-10, 08:47 PM
I hadn't before yesterday, but it's cool!


It's been in production since 1967, only redesigned once in 1997, and has been the biggest, most expensive car in Toyota's lineup since day one. It's bigger and more expensive than any Lexus LS, even the new LS460L AWD. It's the only Japanese vehicle ever made with a V-12. They're the only car used by the Japanese royal family. They're produced in very limited numbers and hand built.

First generation:

Second generation:

It's really the only Japanese car that resembles a classic '70s era Cadillac in terms of it's square, thin lines and big chrome grille and wheels.

03-07-10, 09:21 PM
I wonder if the gas pedal gets stuck on those....

Certainly interesting, but not my cup of tea.

03-07-10, 11:47 PM
Reminds me of an 80's era Rolls Royce Silver Spirit more than any Cadillac.

03-08-10, 12:01 AM
I won't say I saw many of the Toyota Century models when I lived in Japan, but I was certainly aware of them. They were only used by the highest government officials and corporate chieftains. I am sure they were "hand built" but I don't remember them being in any contention with any of European or American luxury cars of the time. I considered them to be more equivalent to the Soviet Zil and other cars for the Politiburo leaders, basically copies of Western models. When I lived in Japan from 1969 to 1972 I owned and drove a 1967 Nissan Cedric 2800 Speciale, which was the top of the Nissan line with the exceptoion of their "handbuilt" model like the Century. It was considered to be the Cadillac Fleetwood of Japan at the time. It had a 2.8 litre 6 straight six with a Borg-Warner automatic transmission. It was quite a large car by Japanese standards (about the size of a Rambler sedan but with a longer wheelbase. It would seat six comfortably and was decently put together. It should its' Japanese descent with a dashboard that reminded me of a Budhist temple. Mine had black brocade seats with grey leather bolsters ... bench seat of course. I drove it 45 miles each way, three days a week to teach English to aspiring interpreters for the '72 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. We used snow tires on all four wheels and pretty much followed the ruts in the highway because the Japanese didn't believe in plowing roadways. Needless to say the trip took awhile. The Am/FM radio in the car wasn't too bad; I used to listen to Radio Moscow Far East in English, on the way back from teaching, which came in loud and clear.

The Nissan "President" was Nissan's direct competitor for Toyota's "Century" model and was from 1965 (at least) a V-8 and reputedly well appointed (I don't think I ever saw one up close). It was the Nissan President that was the official car of Prime Minister Sato in the late 1960's and early '70's. In my opinion Toyota had better styling in general than Nissan. The "Crown" which was Toyota's top of the line model competed with Nissan's Cedric models. Only the Toyota Crown was imported in any numbers to the United States. Toyota had given up trying to sell the Crown here by the early 1980's.

By the way only Americans with the U.S. government and a very few super weathy Japanese had non-Japanese cars. A Cadillac Sedan de Ville would have cost about $50,000 at least in Japan in the mid sixties and seventies which would have been close to $300,000 in todays money. As an example of Japanese import duties and discriminatory distribution cost a Sunkist grapefruit (considered a real uxury) which cost 25 cents in the States in 1970 cost $4.00 in Japan and Japanese salaries were a small fraction of American middle class family incomes at that time. This discriminatory import exclusion policy has continued to this day!

03-08-10, 12:07 AM
Funny you should mention the Zil, Orconn. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the pics of this Toyota.

03-08-10, 12:10 AM
Anyone remember the Cressida?

03-08-10, 12:13 AM
Oh, yes, my best friend's mom had one of those back in the early 80s. I seem to recall it talked. I do remember it looked like somebody put a Caprice Classic in the dryer on HIGH and forgot about it.

03-08-10, 12:14 AM
I think my aunt had one with a manual. Does that sound right?

03-08-10, 12:16 AM
I think you could get them with either a 5 speed manual or four speed auto.

03-08-10, 12:30 AM
Yeah, the Cressida replace the Crown in the U.S. market. Kinda of a Carolla (Toyota's biggest selling model, not the lower one like today) on steroids! If I remeber correctly it had a straight six and was supposed to be pretty hot by import stamdards of the day. I knew som people that had them and were pretty happy with them.

03-08-10, 12:58 AM
There's a Cressida around here somewhere, I see it once every few days rolling around.

Saw one on CL too.

03-08-10, 03:05 AM
The Cressida has an inexplicable cult following. I can understand the popularity in 1988, but so many much more interesting options opened up in 1990 including the LS400. Even the FWD Acura Legend was much sharper and more fun.

03-08-10, 03:06 AM
Strange cult following... from Jesda?

*tries very, very hard to compute that*

03-08-10, 03:17 AM
I would join an Acura cult. We'd get together and eat Acura Cake.


03-08-10, 08:05 AM
But I wanted a Ferrari cake!!

03-08-10, 08:29 AM
Nah... I'll still take DopeStar's GingerBrougham.

03-08-10, 09:52 AM
I have to agree with Roo, Dope's FWB was a far superior product!

03-08-10, 11:02 AM

That thing looked good enough to eat, but at the same time, it was too good for that.

03-08-10, 12:49 PM
When I lived in Japan, my father bought a 1967 Nissan Cedric which had a L6. It had a Borg-Warner automatic. The air conditioner was install behind the rear seat and didn't cool the front very well. The price of the car was very low since the road tax on the car would have been very high. Since my Dad was exempt from the road tax the car was affordable. My uncle bought the competitor from Toyota the Crown. The Crown had a V8 and more electronic gadgets than the Nissan, but the Nissan was more reliable and got better gas mileage.


03-08-10, 01:28 PM
^^^What years did you live in Japan, Bob, and where did you live?

03-12-10, 04:44 AM
Anyone remember the Cressida?

My dad used to have a late 70's green Cressida wagon (with the round headlights) in the 80's. As kids me and my brothers loved that car. On long trips we would sleep in the back. It had lots of chrome we would polish after washing the car for some extra pocket money.
It had a propane system as well and was hard to start at cold days. We really had to pet it to keep it driving. But it was a great car! It was very big for European standards of that time.



You don't see them anymore.

03-12-10, 10:58 PM
Like most pre-90s Japanese cars, they quickly returned to their base elements.