The 1990 Toyota Century Is a Japanese Rolls-Royce

The 1990 Toyota Century Is a Japanese Rolls-Royce

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00:00
this is a 1990 Toyota century and it's essentially a Japanese Maybach or Rolls Royce from 30 years ago if you live outside of Japan you may not know the century but if you live in Japan you probably know that this car is famous for transporting that country's royal family it's organized crime bosses and its business executives and now me I've borrowed this Toyota century from a friend here in Orange County California
00:32
and it is essentially the Japanese version of rolls-royce the ultimate luxury sedan designed for the wealthiest and most important people who for political or business reasons can't be seen driving around in a foreign car Toyota still makes the century although admittedly a newer one of course and they used to offer it with a v12 yes that's right of me twelve in a Toyota luxury sedan but the v12 models are far above someone like me so instead I must
01:05
make a do with this one now this 1990 Toyota century uses a v8 but get this the v8 is a 4 liter that makes only a hundred and ninety horsepower that's a ridiculously small power output but the engine was designed not to be stressed with excessive power but to provide the most luxurious smooth driving experience humanly possible so today I'm going to show you around this century and I'm going to show you all of the interesting quirks and cool features of the flagship
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Japanese luxury car you may not have known about then I'm gonna get it out on the road and drive it and then I'm going to give it a dug score and for more of my thoughts on the century click the link below to visit autotrader.com slash oversteer where I've also compiled a list of the most luxurious older Japanese cars currently listed for sale on auto trader now I'm gonna start the quirks and features by coming inside the century and of course this is a Japanese market car so it is right-hand-drive meaning that this is the driver's seat and the
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driver's door panel which is rather odd now if you take a look at the drawer panel you will notice that there are six switches there so obviously you're thinking well four of them are for the four power windows the front doors and the rear doors right oh you couldn't be more mistaken the two switches on the bottom do control power windows and the rear doors but not the windows that you're thinking you press the switch and then the rear corner window opens over on the driver side press the other switch and the rear quarter window opens over on the passenger side press the
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switches the opposite way and you can close these rear quarter windows automatically using switches here in the driver switch panel now if you move up from those switches you will find two switches that do control the regular windows in the back doors seems simple enough but then there's only three switches left which is of course rather odd the next one up on the Left controls the passenger side window you press it down and it goes down press it up goes up just like normal and the one above that again controls the passenger side
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front quarter window you can open or close it by pressing this little switch on the driver's door panel never seen anything else like that now your other switch there controls your power locks you can press it to lock or unlock the door but then you're thinking we'll wait a minute there's a problem because we've gone through all the switches on the driver's door panel and we haven't gotten to the driver's window ah yes the driver's window has its own set of switches there are three switches mounted higher on the door panel that controlled the driver's window one of them opens the driver's front quarter
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window the other two switches are rather crazy one of them rolls down the driver's window and rolls it right back up pretty simple standard switch so what does the other one do that one automatically rolls down the driver's window press it let go and the window goes down now in most cars those are integrated into the same switch but in this century two separate switches for two separate functions next up sticking around on the driver's door panel here beyond the switches it's a fairly standard door panel except you will see there is an ashtray in the door well and that ashtray actually has its
04:20
own built-in cigarette lighter just in the door panel and oh do things get crazier from here now before I move on to some of the weirdest quirks and features I want to mention a general item this car has a front bench seat which means that it seats six people three in the front and three in the back this isn't that uncommon in older cars especially older luxury cars but it is odd to see it today you can also fold down the center portion of the front seat and you have a nice little armrest and a nice little storage area now because it has a front bench seat that
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means that they had to move the gear selector from sort of the middle onto the steering column also pretty common of cars like this the weird thing is how they did it it's actually not mounted on the steering column but on the dashboard next to the steering column and it sticks straight up like it's pointed at the windshield like 90 degrees there's a very odd gear selector you won't see that in another Toyota speaking of you won't see that in another Toyota it's worth mentioning also that a lot of the features in this car are labeled in Japanese so I really have no idea what a lot of this stuff does for example the
05:22
climate control is totally labeled in Japanese the radio is in Japanese but strangely enough then a lot of stuff isn't labeled in Japanese the wiper control for example isn't saying what the headlight controls the dimmer it's like they switch back and forth between Japanese and English which is odd now the problem with some of the stuff being labeled in Japanese like I said is that I have no idea what some of this stuff does for example this little red button to the left of the steering wheel I really want to press it but it's labeled in Japanese it looks like it might be something important and so I think it's best to just leave that unimpressed but
05:53
anyway back to the climate controls now the climate controls are labeled entirely in Japanese except where they've written in English micro processed automatic air conditioner it's like they chose the longest and most complicated words to leave in English but I was able to figure out how to turn it on and when you do turn it on you're rewarded by the fact that the vents in the center of this car oscillate look at that they swing from side to side to evenly distribute air throughout the entire cabin rather than just blowing in one place that is pure luxury and
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besides the oscillating vents another item you won't find in your Toyota how about the tachometer if you look at the gauge you'll see it isn't there turn on the car though and you'll see that it's digital look at this it just displays with a digital display how many rpms you're at you press the accelerator and you watch it climb just like a tachometer with a dial and a needle but this display is digital in fact the entire gauge cluster is digital including a speedometer and everything except for the odometer that's still an old-school traditional Roli odometer but
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everything else is digital and there's one rather unusual item on here over on the right you have the digital display that shows the fuel level which seems simple enough but there's a little button next to it that says fuel scale change if you push that the fuel level meter zooms in to get closer to empty so once the car goes closer to empty you press that and you can see just how close to empty you are in sort of a more exact and precise manner so you can really look at the fuel gauge in two separate scales very strange basically
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it will focus on the last quarter tank of fuel if you want it to so you know exactly how far you have to go before you run out of fuel by the way one other item I love about the gauge cluster is the fact that Toyota has named the gauge cluster if you look closely you can see it says that it's called the super monitoring display I just love what a over eager enthusiastic name for a digital gauge cluster now next up in this vicinity we move on to the steering wheel which has a few interesting quirks starting with the Toyota hands-free
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telephone and this car was offered with a built in car phone and you could control it using the steering wheel you can see there's a little phone button and next to that there's the microphone you speak into that and it captures what you're saying and then there are three presets 1 2 & 3 so you can dial your top 3 presets and you've controlled that by pressing these buttons in the steering wheel interestingly they were sort of built into the pad for the horn if you press just outside these buttons you get the horn this seems like kind of an odd
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place to put the telephone buttons but that's what Toyota decided to do now the other interesting item in the center of the steering wheel there take a look at this logo it's this giant bird but this wings up sort of looking like the best bird in the lab which I guess is fitting for the century more on that logo in a little bit another interesting item and in fact an amazing one is the fact that this car has sport mode for both the engine and the transmission I believe this car has hydraulic suspension for the smoothest possible ride and this button in the
09:00
center control stack that says TEM s you can press that to choose between normal or sport and if you look down from there there's a button that allows you to choose between normal and power for engine power so this car has sport mode which is really surprising next up I want to move on to the floor mats which in this car are sort of a deep red and if you look at them you can see they have this brilliant rose design instead of saying Toyota Centurion them it gives you like a floral adornment which is perfect for your luxury car I also love the pattern on the seats also kind of
09:32
floral whoo this is something that no automaker would be using today but it worked perfectly for a luxury car thirty years ago you can see the same pattern on the seats is also carried over to the door panels no leather or hand stitching here instead you have this floral patterned cloth now speaking of the seats and their pattern it's worth noting that the front passenger seat has a hole in the back of it why is that well the hole was there to enhance the luxury experience of the rear passengers of course take a look at this there is a
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little latch on the back of the backrest for the front seat you pull it and then the backrest comes down opening up a hole and allowing you as the rear passenger to stick your feet through the seat so you could lie down back here I am serious this is a luxury feature of the Toyota century and so with that in mind hmm and then as you got chauffeured along in
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your Toyota luxury sedan you simply sat back here relaxed and laid down while your driver did all of the hard work but that hole in the back of the front passenger seat is nowhere near the most luxurious item in the backseat of this car there are oh so many crazy crooks and features back here and so I will start with the fact that the back seats move automatically there's a little button on the door panel you can press it and then the rear seats will were forward or backwards to get you into the most comfortable position possible and to
11:07
facilitate your lying down back here it's worth noting that the rear seats also share the same floral pattern as the front seats and the rear carpet also shares that nice rose pattern that you saw in the front the only automaker branding you will see in the back seats is in the center of the floor mats where again you will find the majestic chicken standing tall and proud with its feathers outstretched next up moving up from the majestic chicken you will find a little plastic box that's the rear
11:38
seat trash box you open it put trash in it I know that's the trash box because it says on it print it on the outside trash box interesting now next up above the trash box you have a set of controls for what looks like the climate controls and the stereo back here now again this is all in Japanese so I have no idea exactly how to use it but I do know that if you press the little button on the bottom of the center on the left it pops out and becomes a remote so the rear passengers in this car could use the remote control to turn up the air
12:10
conditioning while they were lying back here with their legs stretching into the front seat gazing at the majestic chicken now next up initially I was baffled by the fact that that remote control says on it we are air conditioner because I don't see any climate control vents back here but I figured out where they are they're behind you they're mounted on the rear shelf right in front of the rear window you have climate vents that blow air forward towards the back of your head so that's your rear seat climate control in this car very unusual placement now the
12:42
other interesting item located behind you you probably just saw it that would be the lace curtains you've seen blackout shades and rolls-royce reviews that I've done this car has something a little classy or more elegant lace curtains that you can just push to the side if you don't want them or you can close them if you want a little bit more privacy and maybe a slightly more upscale experience in speaking of upscale nothing says classy like lighten up some cigs this car has individual rear ashtrays
13:13
mounted on each rear door panel and once again each rear door panel also has individual cigarette lighters so you can light your cigarette without having to share a lighter with the person you're sitting in the backseat with but it gets even more luxurious than that let's say you're sitting back here you're going to an important business meeting and you want to see if you look good well there's a mirror in the back it's mounted on the ceiling in the middle you pop it open and then that's where it's facing the middle so you have to kind of Crane your neck to see in it ah but you
13:45
don't this mirror is adjustable it swivels in any direction you want so you can put the mirror directly on some imperfection of yours and then you can move the mirror over give it to the passenger so they can look at themselves - you have a mirror that twists and turns to your exact need the other item in those center controls up there is the seat adjuster and that isn't the seat adjuster for the rear seat I already showed you those on the door panel instead that's a seat adjuster for the front seat so if you're sitting in the back seat and you need more legroom you can
14:16
use those controls to automatically move the front passenger seat forward to provide you with a little bit more legroom and of course give the front passenger a little bit less legroom but you're the one being chauffeured in the back so what is the front passenger matter anyway and speaking of controls on the ceiling we then come to some of my favorite ones right above the door now there are four buttons up there the first two buttons control the rear reading lights and you press them and they turn on these individual lights which seem to be the
14:47
same size and shape but you can just choose whether you want to turn on the light closest to you or the light furthest from you of course they're only separated by like an inch but nonetheless you got options when it comes to rear reading lights which is kind of hilarious but the switches behind the reading lights are far far better they turn on the massage now the one that's marked with Japanese characters that turns on or off the massage if you turn it on what you'll discover is the rear seat just pulses but bump bump maybe you can hear it
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now the switch next to that controls how fast the rear seat massager pulses you can see it looks like a wavelength and if you cap it up it will increase the pulse rate of the massage pom pom pom pom pom take a listen now this is incredible this has to be the first car with massaging rear seats I've certainly never seen the feature at anything this old before but the funny part is it's not really a massage you know it's just a little pulse in there that kind of pushes you and you can
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adjust the speed of how frequently it pushes you the rear massaging seats in like a nice BMW now offer like 10 different types of massage shoulders your neck your lower back we've come a long way from this car and boom boom boom but the treats for the rear seat passengers of the century are nowhere near complete another one of my favorites is you can drop the center armrest and it reveals a cassette player and look at this you press the eject button it pops out and you can stick in your favorite cassette and then presumably you can control it with that
16:27
remote I showed you earlier while you're lying in the backseat oh wait a minute hold up I film that the stuff you just saw where I said that this and the center armrest is a cassette player but that I looked closer at it and I noticed that it says on here cassette deck player recording it appears to also be a cassette recorder there's a little button in the bottom with a microphone on it and in the middle on the cassette and door itself it clearly says recording this isn't just a cassette player this is a cassette recorder there
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is a cassette recorder built into the center armrest of the Toyota century presumably the idea was if you were an important business person you would be dictating something into your cassette recorder as you were being chauffeured along then when you got to your office you handed the tape to your assistant who would then type it up for you or maybe the purpose was to trap mob bosses into saying something incriminating you'd be just chatting away back here and then they would admit to some criminal act and then you would say AHA now I've got you this is
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recording the whole time now next we move on to the rear of the century and specifically the trunk now in order to access the trunk there is a little button in the driver's area you can press to pop it open or you can move the Majestic chicken logo to the side and then insert the key twist it and that opens up the trunk now the trunk of this car isn't particularly noteworthy it's rather large but you'd expect that for a large sedan but there are two rather exciting items in here one is over on
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the left of the trunk you have a little storage area and you can see there's some white stuff in there what exactly is that why those are the lace seat covers if you have someone getting in your car and you don't want them to mess up your seats for example maybe someone like Tyler Hoover you put down the seat covers before they ever get in and then it will keep your floral upholstery looking nice and fresh for as long as you want and of course these seat covers aren't some ugly material like a vinyl instead they're lace to provide an
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elegant experience even for those who you banished sitting on the seat cover now another interesting item back here this car comes with the original Toyota century owner's manual which isn't in the shape of a normal owner's manual but rather like a National Geographic magazine and of course it has the majestic chicken front and center to let you know that you've bought a truly fantastic automobile now unfortunately I can't actually read the century owner's manual because the entire thing is in
19:06
Japanese but I'm sure in here it talks about all the wonderful luxury features I've already showed you next if we move on to the front of the century and there's nothing especially interesting up front except for the fact that this car has automatic headlights you can see that little stock coming off the steering wheel you can set it to auto and then they'll go on when it's dark but I gotta ask how there's no automatic headlight sensor in the windshield like there is on modern cars how does it know that it's dark I wonder if it has something to do with this little eyeball looking thing mounted on the chrome
19:38
front bumper if that thing like looks out and assesses the current level of brightness but I have no idea how this has Auto headlights otherwise and it had to have been one of the earliest cars with automatic headlights back in 1990 but the automatic headlights have nothing on this you see this little thing that sticks up out of the bumper you may be thinking about what exactly is this this is a flag holder when this car was transporting Japanese dignitaries or the royal family you would stick the Japanese flag in here so you looked that
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much more important when you were driving down the road this car comes from the factory with a flag holder for transporting dignitaries you won't see that on your Toyota and then we must move on to the mirrors which as you can see are mounted in a rather unusual place they're not at the base of the a pillar on the front door like basically every other car instead they're all the way up here in the front fender now this strangely enough wasn't that uncommon in Japanese cars of the day and for a long
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time the Japanese government mandated that cars have an additional third auxilary rearview mirror on their fender in addition to the two on the front doors they may still mandate that but either way in modern times and in North America this is an incredibly strange placement for the mirrors and yet it actually works pretty well when you're driving down the road you just have to get used to not looking at the door but instead up the fender and they still show a pretty wide field of vision but you might be wondering well how do you control this mirror how do you move it into position well it's power operated inside the car
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just like most other modern cars you just move around the control and then the mirror automatically moves although it's not moving right by your front window but instead all the way down the fender which is a little strange but that's how it works now the last thing I want to discuss in the outside of this car is badging because it is very different from a standard poyo de you will not find the Toyota logo any traditional Toyota logo on this car instead up front you have the majestic chicken it leads the way mounted on your grill in all of its extravagance you
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also have the majestic chicken on the wheels although actually they're hubcaps I guess alloy wheels wasn't a huge priority for century buyers and by the way I should mention that the majestic chicken is actually a logo from Asian mythology that represents the Imperial House of basically the royal family so I guess Toyota thinks it helps give this car an air of high-class and royalty and that's why they use it so much now in addition to that you also have a very upscale C logo that is placed on the front of the
22:14
hood to sort of complement the majestic chicken and you also see that upscale C logo behind the rear windows on the C pillars would see of course standing four century the only place where it's actually spelled out what type of vehicle this is is on the trunk where it says century and Toyota in no uncertain terms and very obvious block letters and so those are the quirks and features of the quirky Future II Toyota century now it's time to get this thing out on the road and feel like Japanese royalty
22:46
alright driving the Toyota century this is quite an experience alright first a couple things worth mentioning one is I actually prefer the mirrors on the fenders it's actually better than looking right here right next to your face it's directly in my field of vision I suspect the only reason that automakers don't do this is because it's heinous ly ugly looks like the car is bug eyes but honestly truthfully I'm already used to it I've only been
23:15
driving the car for 40 seconds number two it is incredibly tight in here I don't want a stereotype but the Japanese are generally smaller than me six foot three I barely have it in this giant car I barely have enough room for my knees to get in under the steering wheel I can fit and I'm okay but I'm certainly not great and anyone taller than me would certainly have a problem but anyway off to the driving experience starting to just how immensely quiet it is inside this car is fantastic it is not to be
23:47
sure like a modern Bentley or Rolls Royce it isn't quite that quiet I do hear some traffic noise but not much this is very very nice sitting at a stoplight it looks like the car has gone down to 550 rpm idle it is a very quiet engine as I Drive you can just tell the engine is not stressed I floored it doesn't really do all that much Florida now you know it goes but not fast this is the slowest v8 vehicle I've driven especially from 1990 by then everybody
24:19
else had it down but that wasn't the purpose of this car the field of vision in this vehicle is absolutely fantastic such the back where I should have opened up those curtains back there you can't see a thing but again the mirrors are just wonderful the steering on this car is just it's almost embarrassing I mean you seriously I could turn the wheel almost 12 inches before anything of substance occurs and the body roll oh the body will even just going around like a baby it's terrible
24:49
this is totally absolutely an appropriate valuable horrible by the suspension this car is tuned to have a lot of travel so that no bump or or pavement undulation feels especially uncomfortable and the result of that is substantial body roll the ride is just really really smooth oh it just feels so truthfully the driving experience this car isn't all that surprising it drives like you know what big winkin or something like that um just on the opposite side of the street I think they're really funny and interesting and
25:20
exciting part is all of the weird features that this car has a lot of features that you won't find in just about anything else and I'm excited as these cars become legal as the 25 year limit applies and sort of newer ones become legal I'm excited to do a newer century every couple years and sort of experience okay then they added this then they added this tomato still builds this car in Japan and I'd be tremendously curious to see what the new century is like I bet it is one of the craziest luxury cars in the world I can only imagine what weird features they've
25:52
come up with and so that's the 1990 tota century this car may be 30 years old but it's still a fantastic luxury sedan and a tremendously unique one with its highly specific ultra opulent clientele and it's crazy luxury features and its underpowered ultra smooth engine in case you thought Lexus was the most expensive most luxurious Toyota you could buy well now you know better and now it's time to give
26:23
this car a dug score starting with the weekend categories and styling the century is stately but far from handsome and it gets a 4 out of 10 acceleration is very mediocre and it earns its 1 out of 10 handling is about as vague and bad and as sloppy as a car can get and it gets a 2 out of 10 fun factor however is a bit higher just because this is so rare and weird and interesting and it gets a 4 out of 10 and it's the same for cool factor this may not be as exciting to drive is basically anything else but show up at cars and coffee and you'll get a crowd and it gets a 6 out of 10 for a total weekend score of 17 out of 50 next up
26:56
for the daily categories and features the century doesn't have any modern tech but it has so much else that I have to give it a 5 out of 10 which is a really high score for a car from this era but it deserves it comfort is excellent but not perfect and it gets an 8 out of 10 quality is very good the interior has aged of course so the materials aren't up to par with the best of the best of modern cars but this is a Toyota so reliability is a given and it earns an 8 out of 10 practicality is typical for a car of this ilk and it gets a 5 out of 10 finally value you can pick one of these up for like 10 or 20 grand and it's one
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of the most distinctive weirdest most special cars you can get for that money it's not fun to drive but it's fun to have and it gets an 8 out of 10 for a total daily score of 34 out of 50 add it up in the dug score is 51 out of 100 and here's where it falls against other luxury sedans I've reviewed some modern some older this is better than a rolls-royce from the same era only in the daily categories because your finger at Toyota will be nicer and more reliable and it's certainly more interesting and more special but the century can't beat out any modern luxury cars because the ultra soft driving
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experience is just too damn ultra soft by the way the only thing broken on this car was the hood latch so I couldn't show you the engine sorry you [Music]

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