Turns Out There's More Than One Toyota Century GRMN

Tokyo Auto Salon

The chief's custom limo has a twin.

Very few people get to ride in a Toyota Century. The automaker only makes about 50 of them each month, and sells them mostly to captains of industry, senior government ministers, members of the imperial household, and (more likely than not) a handful of Yakuza crime bosses. But even fewer get to ride in a Century GRMN.

In fact, until yesterday, we knew of only one in existence – built by the automaker's performance division for its chief executive Akio Toyoda. But at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this month, the company showcased a second example.

Positioned even higher than a Lexus LS, the Toyota Century is Japan's idea of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The first version launched in 1967 and remained in production (however limited) for 30 years. The second arrived in 2006 and stuck around until just last year when it was replaced by the third, abandoning the bespoke V12 that powered its predecessor in favor of a hybrid V8, and bringing with it all manner of modernized amenities.

Just what sets the GRMN version apart, we can't say for sure. But it appears to roll on its own set of wheels, with a red-accented aero package.

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Most of the chrome trim appears to have been blacked out, and we wouldn't be surprised if the suspension had been upgraded as well.

The bigger question on our mind is what might be sitting under the hood. The "standard” Century is powered by an electrically assisted 5.0-liter V8, similar to the one found in the previous-generation Lexus LS 600h, and rated at 425 horsepower. Has Gazoo Racing given this version more? Only a few people may know for sure, and we're not among them. But as it is, the Century GRMN caught enough attention to be named the best custom sedan at the Tokyo salon.

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