The Japanese have experienced a momentous transitioning when the 30-year Heisei Era came to an end with the abdication of Emperor Akihito on April 30th. Now ushering in the Reiwa Era, the Crown Prince Naruhito has ascended to the throne and has taken on the role of the new Emperor. While this ascension has been technically official since last May, his coronation ceremony in front of foreign dignitaries will take place on October 22nd. That said, Toyota has prepared an equally special vehicle for the special occasion.
In a true display of Japanese opulence, the royal family will be taking this one-off Toyota Century Convertible towards the succession ceremony. The century is entrusted to take the family on a 4.6km route from the Imperial Palace, cutting through the busy streets of Tokyo, and eventually to Akasaka Palace where the ceremonies will be held. The route should take about 30 minutes and will have enough exposure for spectators to view the motorcade.
Based on the third-generation Toyota Century, the "Royal Parade Car" is just as much steeped in Japanese tradition as its original platform. Everything from the hand-carved grill emblem (a six-week process, mind you) to the seven-step coat of paint that is wet sanded thrice by master craftsmen is imbued upon the Emperor's new whip. In place of a standard Japanese license plate, a gold seal signifies that this vehicle belongs to none other than the royal family themselves. The convertible conversion, of course, isn't simply a matter of chopping the roof off. The seats are 4cm higher than they would usually be and the seatbacks are fixed at 25 degrees for maximum exposure to spectators.
Following its short inaugural route, the Century Convertible will make an appearance during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as the Emperor’s steed, and will then be displayed in palaces in Tokyo and Kyoto.