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.
— あ き ら (@50ESTIMA05) September 7, 2018
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.