Japan’s New Emperor Is Getting a One-Off Toyota Century Convertible

Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images - Getty Images

Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images – Getty Images

From Car and Driver

  • Japan’s new emperor will ride in a one-off convertible Toyota Century at his coronation parade in October.

  • The previous emperor used a vintage Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible at his coronation.

  • The royal family already has four custom Century limos, such as the one pictured above.

Japan’s new head of state, Emperor Naruhito, officially took the throne today, but at his coronation parade in October he’s getting something that’s arguably even better. In news first reported by the Wall Street Journal, the new emperor will ride in a new one-off Toyota Century convertible limo during the parade.

The limo will be based on the third-generation Century, which made its debut at the 2017 Tokyo auto show. The new Century marked only the third major redesign of the car in 50 years, and the first since the second-gen model came out in 1997. The new Century uses a hybrid powertrain with a 5.0-liter V-8 and two electric motors, a big shift from the previous Century’s 5.0-liter V-12. It’s the most luxurious model Toyota offers with a starting price of nearly $200,000, and it has only ever been sold in Japan and to select clientele.

Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images - Getty Images

Photo credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images – Getty Images

The Japanese royal family has used four massive, highly modified Century limos since 2006-the photo of one at the top of this story is from today, after Naruhito ascended the throne. There’s no word as to whether the existing Empress limos, which are based on the previous-gen Century, will be replaced-they themselves replaced Nissan Prince Royal limos that were 40 years old. Emperor Akihito, who abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Naruhito, used a classic Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible (pictured above) at his own coronation in 1990. That Corniche was also used in 1993 at Naruhito’s wedding.

While Toyota has released no photos of Naruhito’s new Century and the car most likely won’t be seen until October, we know a little bit of what to expect thanks to a Japanese government document found by Roadshow that outlines restrictions for a royal vehicle. It must be based on a production car that is available in Japan, be larger in size than other vehicles that will be traveling with it, have high levels of safety and environmental friendliness, and be usable daily, not just one time in a parade. It also has to have a certain size of rear seat, and the emperor and empress need to be visible when riding in the car. The Japanese government says that the only car that met all the requirements was the Century.

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