TAS 2019: Toyota Century GRMN – Akio’s company car

The exceedingly regal Toyota Century isn’t the sort of car you’d give to your in-house tuning company, but when your name is Akio Toyoda and you’re looking for a new company car, that’s exactly what you’d do – take an iconic luxury sedan celebrating your family’s rich history and imbue it with a sporting edge courtesy of a Le Mans-winning motorsports division.

Last year, the company president was seen being driven around in a one-off, hotted-up Century GRMN (short for Gazoo Racing Masters of Nürburgring, as it were), even making an appearance at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Festival at the Fuji Speedway with Kamui Kobayashi at the wheel. The car was so popular among fans that Toyota decided to build another one for this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon.

While Toyoda’s unit was white, the show car is finished in a deep black, making it look even more menacing – and even more popular with the yakuza crowd, were it ever offered for sale. All the trimmings are present and correct, including a more aggressive front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser and a subtle carbon fibre bootlid spoiler – all tied together with red pinstripe detailing.

A set of 19-inch BBS alloy wheels (wrapped in Yokohama iceGuard iG60 snow tyres, funnily enough) hint at the hardware found under the skin, and hide large GR-branded disc brakes. The interior remains unchanged, however, trimmed in light wood panelling and glorious beige 100% wool upholstery.

No details of the modifications within have been announced, but it’s safe to assume the GRMN retains the same hybrid powertrain as the Century – a 381 PS 5.0 litre 2UR-FSE direct-injected V8 paired to twin electric motors to produce a total of 431 PS. Like Toyoda’s car, this one carries an “1867” number plate, referring to the birth year of Toyota Industries founder Sakichi Toyoda – which the original 1967 Century commemorated.