Toyota Crown and Century crossovers go topless


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.

Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

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.

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
Not Supplied
Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

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.

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
Not Supplied
Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

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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