Toyota Crown and Century SUV get one-off open-top variants

For decades, the Toyota Crown and Century have been Japan’s most dignified cars. These are typically owned by VIPs who value their privacy and prefer an understated image. However, there are some rare instances where the occupants of such vehicles need to be visible, so Toyota has created one-off, open-top versions of the latest Crown and Century models.

The topless Century is based on the $170,000 Century SUV introduced last fall. Based on the open-top’s teaser shown at the event, it seems that the roofless version had already been planned. The occasion? The 100th anniversary of the Japan Sumo Association. Sumo is Japan’s most traditional and sacred sport, and the car’s name could not be more fitting for the occasion. The car was used to haul the Terunofuji Haruo, the latest yokozuna, or sumo champion, fresh off his ninth such title. 

Terunofuji weighs 370 pounds, but the Century SUV’s 3.5-liter V6 plug-in hybrid system’s 406 horsepower carries the 2024 champ with ease. At the time of launch, Toyota said each Century SUV would be a little bit different, thanks to a wide range of customization options. In the case of this car, it has been finished entirely in white with a white interior.

The same division also created a bespoke open-top Crown, based on the part-crossover, part-sedan model introduced in 2022. Engineers had to reinforce the Crown’s unibody after removing the roof. A 3D-printer was used to create large sections of what would typically be the tonneau if it were a traditional convertible. To be clear, it would be incorrect to call both this and the Century convertibles, as the roofs do not go up and down. They are permanently in the “down” position, used only as parade cars. Comparisons to the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet are inevitable, but the result is somewhat of an improvement over the fixed-head Crown, which looked rather odd from the beginning.

Toyota’s division has previously created other open-top cars. In 2019 they built a custom open-top Century sedan for Japan’s royal family. They’ve also built a Popemobile out of a previous-gen Prius. Perhaps the most gorgeous example of a Toyota sedan conversion is the Lexus LS 600h L Landaulet built for the Monaco royal wedding in 2011. That, however, was built as a collaboration between Lexus and Belgian coachbuilder Carat Duchatelet.

Sadly, none of the cars mentioned in this article are for sale.

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