NEWS: Akio Toyoda actually built a Century GRMN

It seemed like a throwaway joke. Shortly after the Tokyo Motor Show last year, where Toyota unveiled only the third new Century design in 50 years, the company’s car-nut CEO Akio Toyoda was interviewed on a Japanese talk show called “We Love Cars.” In it, the host asked Toyoda-san what kind of car he would like to drive. “A Century GRMN,” he replied. Would Toyoda really combine his company’s plushest luxury sedan with the top modification level from his in-house tuners? Apparently, the answer is yes.

As JNCers know, the Century is the most traditional of all the species in Japanese automotive kingdom. It was sold only to high-ranking individuals in Japanese society. Even Akio Toyoda himself revealed in that same interview that his company car was an Alphard (though surely he could have had a Century if he wished).

GRMN, on the other hand, is anything but traditional. Last year, Gazoo Racing was promoted to become the official performance line of Toyota vehicles, kind of like AMG is to Mercedes. Not bad for an offshoot of Toyota’s online used car website. GRMN stands for Gazoo Racing Masters of the Nürburgring, and is only applied to cars with the most hard core of tunes, like the Yaris GRMN.

At the time of the interview, it seemed like a joke, and the host didn’t follow up. Now, it seems that Toyoda has actually gone and built the damn thing. Twitter user @50ESTIMA05 recently spotted a prototype in Gazoo’s white with black and red accent colors. It wears a darkened front lip, side skirts and rear dressing instead of the standard chrome, a thin trunk spoiler, and sporty-looking gunmetal wheels.

Whether this will translate into a production vehicle, only time will tell. Still, with Gazoo confirming plans to build a 986-horsepower Le Mans-inspired sports car, a souped up Century doesn’t seem that far fetched.

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15 Responses to NEWS: Akio Toyoda actually built a Century GRMN

  1. BlitzPig says:


    Someone needs to knock Mercedes off it’s now undeserved pedestal.

    Imagine, a totally luxurious ultra high end, hand crafted, high performance sedan, with the bullet proof reliability of a Toyota.

    A (much) better Bentley.

  2. nlpnt says:

    I hope it still has the wool upholstery. Blue would look good with the white-with-red-accents exterior.

  3. Mark Newton-John says:

    Hey, don’t knock Alphards. Some of interiors look like the inside of a Citation V.

  4. Mark Newton-John says:

    With the support that Toyota gives to Toyotafest, they really should bring some hard-core JDM, like the Century and Alphard.
    And with Gazoo Racing the performance arm of Toyota, where does that put TRD?

    • cesariojpn says:

      The Alphard would be slotted in the US as a Lexus, maybe under the RX. AX?

      • Mark Newton-John says:

        Ah, the only problem with the Alphard/Vellfire twins are that they are physically smaller than the Sienna. Home market and all. Now Toyota should put that Alphard interior into a Sienna sized minivan, and they could create a new market for upscale vehicles, like the SUV went upmarket from the original Ford Explorer.

    • Jolteon says:

      TRD is pretty much left doing light cosmetic work to cars

      and also thrown away to the dregs, as they make garbage bodykits for cars in third-world markets

  5. Atomu says:

    It’s wearing dealer plates in the shaken lane too…

  6. Mark says:

    The CEO of a major automobile manufacturer that’s a car nut? Is that allowed these days?

  7. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Niiice….. Probably not a bad marketing move too.

  8. Nigel says:

    I like this very much. VIP sport !!

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