Before the new Toyota Century was a beefy SUV, it was an ultra-luxury car-based limo. Actually, it's still available as a stately four-door sedan, but you need to step back to the previous Century for arguably the coolest of them all.

In this case, previous century refers to time as well as Toyota's second-generation luxo-barge. In 1997, the G50 Century debuted with fresh (if boxy) styling and something not seen in Japan either before or since – a V12 engine. Specifically, it was a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated engine that, per Japan's infamous gentleman's agreement, had a rating of 276 horsepower. In markets outside the country, however, 295 hp was mentioned. Either way, it had more than enough power to send this sizable sedan down the road.


Instagrammer Diivinemedia bought this particular Century a year ago, basically as soon as it was eligible for import under the US 25-year rule. In his care, he added a Junction Produce body kit to give the sedan a bit more attitude, and the suspension obviously isn't stock. It's an air ride setup borrowing components from the Lexus LS400, and while the wheels are also factory, they've been modified to feature spinning center caps.

Moving inside, the reclining rear seats with massage functions don't look out of place in 2023, so you can imagine how they were received in 1997. The curtains for the side and rear windows are also factory items, and on the back window, they're power-operated.

1997 Toyota Century

According to the owner, the modest build on this Century took only a few months. The car presently has 54,000 miles, and with it being a rare machine in its home market, it's extremely rare on streets in the US.

Still, at least these cars are available to those in the States who want one. The 2023 Toyota Century SUV unveiled on September 6 is basically a Japanese-market Rolls-Royce Cullinan, rocking a four-seat layout with reclining rear thrones that are isolated from the cargo area by a divider. This helps ensure the cabin is as quiet as possible, and when it's time to step out, passengers have powered steps and a choice of standard or sliding doors to use. It will not be available in North America, but if it were, the starting price would be somewhere around $170,000.

Check out the Motor1 Podcast Rambling About Cars for more on the new Toyota Century SUV and other automotive news, available below.

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