Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Toyota Century is a large four-door limousine produced by Toyota mainly for the Japanese market. Production of the Century began in 1967 and the model received only minor changes until redesign in 1997. This second-generation Century is still sold in Japan, with some exports to Asian countries, notably Hong Kong where it is used as the official transportation for the Chief Executive.
The Century is produced in limited numbers and is built in a "nearly hand-made" fashion. It is often used by royalty, government leaders, and executive businessmen. The Century is comparable in purpose to the Austin A135 , ZIS, ZIL, Chinese Red Flag, and Maybach limousines.
1st Generation (1967–1997)
The original Century was based on the 1964 Toyota Crown , which featured the 2.6 L V8 Toyota 3V engine . The 1967 crown was equipped with an upgraded version of this engine, the 3.0 L 3V. 1973 saw the introduction of the 3.4 L 4V, and the engine was once again changed to the 4.0 L 5V is 1982. Note that the 3V, 4V, and 5V do not refer to the number of valves in the engine; they denote models in the line of Toyota V engines. There is also a L-Type stretched version of the Century, length is 5270mm with a wheelbase of 3010mm.
The 1st generation Century remained largely untouched during its 30-year production run. Although minor cosmetic changes and engine upgrades occurred throughout its lifespan, the commercial longevity of the Century chassis is nevertheless impressive.
- VG20: 3.0 L 3V V8
- VG30: 3.4 L 4V V8
- VG40: 4.0 L 5V V8
- VG45: 4.0 L 5V V8 (L-Type)
2nd Generation (1997–present)
The Century received a complete redesign in 1997, although the new model was visually very similar to the old. The 1997 model also received an engine upgrade: it could be purchased with the 280 PS 5.0 L 1GZ-FE V12. The Century remains the first and only Japanese front-engine, rear-wheel drive production car equipped with a V12.
The Century has been Toyota's most luxurious model since its inception in 1967. In fact, it is placed above the Toyota equivalents of Lexus offerings in Japan. The Century is distinguished by different color options than the rest of the Toyota lineup.
Like other cars in the top of the luxury class, the Century is designed with a chauffeur in mind. Hence, the rear seats recline and the front passenger seat has a fold-down center section so that a passenger in the back may stretch his feet forward.
Although the Century is not exported outside Japan in large numbers, it is used frequently by officials stationed in overseas Japanese offices.
In contrast to other luxurious cars (such as the Maybach or a Rolls Royce), the Century has not been positioned and marketed as a sign of wealth or excess. Instead, the Century projects an image of conservative achievement. Marketing literature states roughly that, "the Century is acquired through persistent work, the kind that is done in a plain but formal suit." This image drove a good deal of the 2nd generation design as a traditional and tasteful update of the original.
- GZG50: 5.0 L 1GZ-FE V12
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