Weddings, funerals, and the potential threat of jury duty: These are the only reasons I have a suit in my wardrobe. But today, it feels necessary to scrub up and have some sartorial decency.
See, Toyota may have recently got into bed with BMW in order to rummage around each other’s parts bins to produce the Supra, but there’s one car in the firm’s armory that remains staunchly Japanese: the Century. Internally, it’s considered the company’s halo product. Introduced in 1967, it was Japan’s first domestically produced luxury chauffeur car, one named in honor of the centenary of the birth of the company’s founder, Sakichi Toyoda, and it’s only ever been available in its home market.
Developed from scratch and wrapped in a restrained yet stately design, the Century has always been Asia’s answer to big pimpin’. Featuring scrupulous Japanese craftsmanship and unprecedented technology, its first generation in the ’60s offered an unrivaled experience to whoever was lucky enough to sit in the back—so much so that it ossified itself within Japan’s automotive landscape, and was on sale for a whopping 30 years before being updated. Not wanting to shake things up, the second generation continued the first’s brief, but featured a bespoke 5.0-liter 48-valve V12 (Japan’s first and only front-engine, rear-drive 12-banger), and was on sale for a further 21 years.