Perpetual Classic: 2013 Toyota Century: The Ultimate Brougham Time Machine

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Toyota Century

Perpetual Classic: 2013 Century: The Ultimate Brougham Machine

May 20, 2013

Brougham is not exactly a common sentiment, and of which remains today, a bit of it seems to be concentrated in one corner of the this site. Some actually like the idea of one. Others appreciate from a distance as a sort of relic, rolling reminders of a era. But that era isn’t as as I thought, at least not everywhere. It on in an affluent, high-tech island in the Far East. Allow me to present the Century, the Ultimate Brougham Machine.

On the surface, the Century be straight out of the 1970s. It starts the big size and classical proportions. It in the chrome door handles, and wheel-well trims. Heck–you’ve got little C-pillar badges and chrome surrounds for the side-marker Are we sure this thing is being built today?

It is. But on the other hand, it’s to call the Century a Brougham. I had the opportunity to poke around one at Mega Web showroom/museum in Tokyo, and the monsters Detroit was cranking out years ago, the Century is quite an impressive piece of It’s powered by a state-of-the-art V12 that’s exclusive to this appears in no other Toyota This engine, as per Japan’s agreement’ with legislators, out (cough, ahem) 276 hp, but the folks I to at Mega Web suggested there are than a few extra horses under that long

The Century’s neo-classical carcass is of unit body construction, and by airbag-augmented double wishbones at corner. The resulting product the scales at 4,400 lbs–about the as a Chrysler Cordoba. Chassis is probably more like an it’s been to the crusher and into an ingot.

Yes, can be deceiving. While American were all about surface-level with little substance what we have here is the In Japan, the Century is considered a flashy alternative to a BMW 7-Series or S-class–it’s meant to broadcast success in the most modest, fashion possible. In the words of the ‘The Century is acquired persistent work, the kind is done in a plain but formal The Richard Bransons and Mark of the world are politely asked to elsewhere.

But enough about the Century’s context. Toyota’s Mega Web is all about getting up close and with every car in the Toyota high-profile or not. So let’s open the door and get inside.

On thought, wait. Let’s and admire that door. was the last time you saw pull-up door handles on a new car? Or a bank of power-window switches, in resplendent wood and 

Admittedly, those door- and buttons look awfully being shared with cheaper cars such as the But reach your elbow and give that sinfully armrest a try. It’s a teeny-tiny waterbed.

Now, a look inside before you the door closed. Hang those seats upholstered in . They sure are. to the Century’s customers, leather is quite undignified, with its croaking noises as you move in seat. You can order cowhide as an but cloth is the most popular in these cars.

Now, pull home the door. ‘ Whumpfff !’ Closing it the same warm, fuzzy, feeling of a W126 S-Class. And that’s a column shifter. The available  transmission is a six-speed operated in classic fashion.

The nav screen looks vintage in a flattering sense, as does the dashboard and thin-rimmed steering But for those who appreciate the nostalgia of things, these features are if a bit rubbery and plasticky in execution. The was last updated in 1997–and now, in 2013, we’re still in the first half of its cycle: the first-generation Century was with minimal changes 1967 to 1996. If you’ve wanted a comeback to the phrase, don’t build ‘em like used to’, here’s car.

Having kanji on a Japanese controls might seem a no-brainer, but looking at the other in the Mega Web showroom, I noticed most JDM Toyotas–even models only in Japan–use English or symbols for the secondary controls. Not the Traditionalism is the language spoken

And while I’d say these buttony and radio faceplates are looking a bit and illogical nowadays, who can argue a ‘Logic Control Deck’? it’s just me.

But these are all points, as the target audience likely to be up front using buttons anyway. For them, the seat of the Century is where at. And the traditionalism shows through as well.

For shade, white are typically fitted instead of window tints (the could appear too youthful or And while the S-Class and 7-Series La-Z-Boy style footrests in these would be too visible an in this car. Instead, the features a discreet fold-down in the front passenger’s seat. it down, riders can recline and their stocking feet–no please–on the front cushion.

Don’t misunderstand, though–the rear cabin is hardly in luxury. There’s heaps of shoulder-, and headroom, and massage and functions are built into the seat. You don’t even to suffer the indignity of closing own doors. Instead, you gently them inwards, and then silently seal them for you. You get sliding chrome in the doors, too. So sit back, put feet up, light up a cigar, and it’s 1975.

Oh, and speaking of the you think those delightfully model-specific Japanese badges extinct during that I did. But they’re still and well here on the Century. Its gold lyre-bird shield my favourite–it isn’t a patch on the Celica emblem, for instance–but nice to know these are still kicking around.

of kicking around, check out rear kick plate. How is that detailing? As for the sticker: asking you (politely) not to mess the delicate automatic trunk-shutting by slamming the lid.

And there it is: the weird and wonderful Century. Being simultaneously a marvel, cultural curio, and slice of twentieth-century nostalgia, the is something of a enigma. Brougham is more often rooted in than reality, with the offering a sort of connection to a age, nevermind how crap might be in the metal. But the Century, keeps that fantasy in the 21st century.

Oh, and did you want to home a Century brochure? thought of that too.


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