At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?

Toyota’s top-of-the-line model at home, this privately imported sedan is a bit of a fish out of water here.

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Nice Price or No Dice 1990 Toyota Century
Photo: Craigslist

Toyota named today’s Nice Price or No Dice contender the Century to honor the 100th birthday of founder Sakichi Toyoda in 1967. Let’s see how honorable this ex-pat limo’s price tag might be.

I started my day last Friday the way I enjoy spending most of my Friday mornings — sipping on my cup of coffee and watching the votes roll in on the day’s candidate. Last Friday was especially interesting as it took exactly nine minutes and 38 votes before anyone stood in support of our 2008 Lincoln Mark LT contender’s $33,000 asking price. That one stoic vote remained the Lincoln’s only supporter for 10 more minutes and 45 more votes before it was joined by a compatriot. That was far from enough, however, as the Mark LT ending the day with an insurmountable 94 percent No Dice loss.

Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
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As we discussed on Friday, Ford long ago lost its mojo in regards to what to do with its luxury brand, Lincoln. That’s not the same case with a lot of other manufacturers, and when it comes to luxury models, Toyota figured the whole thing out decades ago.

It was in 1967, in fact, when Toyota introduced its most luxurious car ever, the Century. The model continued in limited production as the company’s flagship for the home market for a remarkable 30 years before seeing a significant refresh.

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Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist

That long and somewhat immutable model run is why today’s privately imported 1990 Toyota Century looks like it’s from another age and not the MTV era. As is obvious in the pictures, the car’s styling carries hints of the early ’70s Corona rather than of anything Toyota was building in the ’90s. Overall, it lind of looks more like a 1960s Mopar product than anything else. The only giveaways of its origin are the flush headlamps that would have been illegal in 1960s America and the fender-mounted side-view mirrors that contrastingly were the law in Japan at the time.

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The Century’s V8 engine is appropriate to its size and stature. The all-alloy 4-liter engine was co-developed with Yamaha and by the time this edition hit the streets it sported multi-point fuel injection giving it around 190 horsepower. Backing that up is a four-speed automatic with column shift. According to the seller, the car has only 65,000 miles under its belt. It’s said to have “No leaks, or noise.” aAdditionally, the claim is made that it “Rides like a Cadillac on sedatives.”

Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
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The interior is a ’70s riot too. In the cabin, there’s leather upholstery, a smattering of both wood and brushed metal trim, and carpet deep enough to lose pocket change in. This is a JDM car so the steering wheel does dress to the right. That shouldn’t be an issue for the back seat passengers who get to enjoy a ton of legroom and dipped door openings for no-step entry. There are also heaters for the seats back there and remote controls for both the stereo and automatic climate control.

Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist
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What is possibly the car’s best party trick, however, is the ability to fold down the backrest on the front-left seat, thus offering lounge-like accommodations for the seat behind. Have you ever stuck your legs through a car seat to kick back? Yeah, me neither.

Per the ad, there are a couple of flies in this Century’s ointment. Of greatest note are issues with the front door window mechanisms and peeling paint on the roof. That latter issue brings up an interesting feature of this car which is the removable roof section above the lounge seat. It looks to be too big and unwieldy to be manhandled (or woman-handled) by a single chauffeur. Plus, where would you put it when it’s off? Still, for parades or the occasional opportunity to be adored by one’s lessers, that could prove an effective vantage point.

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Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist

The car is advertised in Reno Nevada and the seller does warn interested parties in neighboring California that this car can’t be registered there without serious (read expensive) modifications to bring it into compliance with the state’s emissions requirements.

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Image for article titled At $7,500, Is This 1990 Toyota Century a Once in a Lifetime Deal?
Photo: Craigslist

For everyone else, though, this could be a fabulous ride and a magnet at any car meet, royal outing, or Dollar Tree shopping trek. To make that happen, the seller asks $7,500.

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What’s your take on this most luxurious Toyota of its time and that $7,500 price? Does that seem like a fair deal for such an interesting car? Or, do the issues — and the desire to someday move to California — quell that interest?

You decide!

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Reno, Nevada, Craigslist. Or, go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Bob Maples for the hookup!

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