While there aren’t any convertibles or open-top cars in the Toyota range right now, the Japanese automaker has produced two one-off topless versions of its range-topping crossovers.
The first is a bespoke Century SUV developed for the victory procession for the first Grand Sumo tournament of the 2024 season.
Although it’s sometimes referred by the company and its representatives as a convertible, it’s more correctly an open-top parade car, as there isn’t a roof mechanism or any type of add-on enclosure.
In addition to removing the roof, as well as the B-, C-, and D-pillars, Toyota’s engineers have taken out the rear seats. The seat area is replaced by a raised, carpeted foot rest, while a padded seating area is fitted where a folding roof mechanism or parcel shelf might go.
The rear of the open-top Century SUV has a sedan-style boot lid married to the SUV’s tail-light arrangement.
In a Toyota Times video (below) detailing the genesis of open-air Century SUV, the company also debuted a one-off Toyota Crown Crossover “convertible”.
It’s unclear what the purpose of this other one-off car is because, unfortunately, this writer’s Japanese is limited to ordering ramen and apologising profusely for not being to speak the language.
Like the open-top Century SUV, the bespoke Crown Crossover has been freed from its roof, B-, C-, and D-pillars, and most of its rear tailgate. Once again there doesn’t appear to be a folding roof mechanism.
Unlike the Century, passengers in the rear of the Crown Crossover sit in the car’s regular seats.
According to Simon Humphries, Toyota’s chief designer and chief branding officer, it was important these two latest open-air models look like they were designed to be convertibles from the very beginning.
It was equally important, especially to chairman Akio Toyoda, to avoid having tell-tale signs of a late-stage open-top conversion, such as stubs from the sawn-off pillars.
Although both the the Century SUV and Crown Crossover share their names with Toyota’s large rear-wheel drive sedans, both crossover variants are actually based on the front- and all-wheel drive TNGA-K architecture that underpins everything from the Camry through to the Toyota Grand Highlander and Lexus LM.
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This isn’t the first time Toyota has lopped the top off a Century. In 2019, it produced a special open-top version of the third-generation Century sedan for the Japanese royal family.
The company also produced a bespoke open-air version of the first-generation Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan for Pope Benedict’s visit to Japan in 2019.
Toyota has also produced numerous one-off “convertible” conversions of earlier Crown and Lexus models for parades and other festivities.
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