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Japanese Tuner TOM'S Has Built A Tuned Toyota Century

Illustration for article titled Japanese Tuner TOMS Has Built A Tuned Toyota Century
Image: TOM’S

The Toyota Century has always been a quiet car. Dead quiet. Silent. The kind of car for a captain of industry to relax in after a long day on the job. Or for a Yakuza boss to slink around the seedier parts of Osaka after a, um, long day on the job. At least, that used to be the case.


Now, with this TOM’S Century, it’s becoming clear that the Japanese ultra-luxury sedan market has turned a corner. The near-silent ride on special cloth seats behind lace curtains in the back of a Century has been supplanted. By tuner cars.

About a year ago, we were introduced to a new kind of Toyota Century when Toyota President Morizo Akio Toyoda rolled up to a track event in a white one that had been given the special treatment by his in-house tuning and motorsports crew, Gazoo Racing. This car, the GRMN Century, was eventually officially revealed shortly after at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon along with a black twin. Mesh grille, body kit, and special wheels fitted, the cars looked the part but were reportedly unchanged underneath from their more buttoned-up production siblings. Still, the fact that these cars had any sporting pretensions whatsoever (even if they were only skin-deep) represented a stark departure from any production Century we had seen before.


Not that it really mattered that much, though. Those two cars were prototypes. No production GRMN Centurys (Centuries?) have been built so far, so if you were looking to get yourself into the decidedly Japanese Rolls-Royce alternative, your only option was a standard one, lace curtains and all.

Illustration for article titled Japanese Tuner TOMS Has Built A Tuned Toyota Century
Image: TOM’S

At least until now. TOM’S, another factory-backed shop known for its Supra race cars as well as its aftermarket parts for many models in the Toyota stable, has finally put together a tuned Century that you can buy even if you’re not the president of the goddamned company. Well, if you’re one of the first 36 in line, at least, according to Autoblog.


Aside from being available for purchase, the TOM’S Century has something that the GRMN version didn’t get. It’s got an upgraded exhaust system that should do something to boost the sounds, if not the performance put out by the Lexus LS-derived hybrid drivetrain that sits under the Century. That’s in addition to some suspension tweaks and the requisite body kit and new wheels, of course.

Illustration for article titled Japanese Tuner TOMS Has Built A Tuned Toyota Century
Image: TOM’s

I’m not personally enamored with the look, to be honest. I like the understated approach Toyota has long taken with the stock Century, and GRMN’s take at what a high-performance version seemed to do a lot more for me than this one. Maybe it’s the wheels. They’re a little... early ‘00s for my taste, I think.

Still, it’s a lot of fun to see a car that has long been the mainstay of the ultra-serious, ultra-successful elite of Japan gain a sense of humor. I’m here for that, even if the closest I’ll ever get to the hallowed back seat of one of these is probably chopped up in the trunk after saying the wrong thing to a bouncer in a Shibuya pub.

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.

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Sigh. None of these people get it. Not a damn one.

The Century is a luxury cruising limousine, period. You do not ‘tune’ it like this. This is a futile and idiotic attempt to turn it into something it is not. Which predictably, fails to achieve anything other than making a bad car.

You want to actually tune a Century right? It’s all about power and smoothness. Less sidewall is wrong. Stiffer suspension is wrong. You want the suspension to deliver the smoothest ride possible, while reducing undesirable roll characteristics. Power delivery must be absolutely smooth and as quiet as possible for passengers, but at 5200lbs+, it needs more. Lots more. That hybrid drivetrain makes that damn hard though, and getting any more power out of the 2UR’s a challenge. Die-cast block and VVT on the intake only; production is likely close to the limit. MOSTLY what it needs is torque; optimal path there is boost. Roots blown off the crank would be best; 394HP is plenty but 383ft/lbs isn’t. Optimal would be something like 400HP and 475ft/lbs+ on the broadest curve possible.

Then you replace the standard wool upholstery with higher grade material with discreet Hou-ou print or embroidery. You simplify the silk curtains (the holes in them make them too busy to my eye) by using more translucent solids. Refinish the chrome - which is just a fingerprint magnet anyways - in brushed nickel or platinum. Remove the ‘CENTURY’ badge in back because seriously, they know. With the G60, add a silk privacy curtain in the rear window and switch to a camera-based rear view mirror.