Toyota Century SUV Convertible: A Custom Parade Car for Sumo Champions

The roofless version of the flagship SUV was developed in response to a special request from a retired sumo wrestler, intended to serve as a parade vehicle for future champions.

Toyota has unveiled its first-ever Century SUV Convertible, a unique and luxurious vehicle that can accommodate two sumo wrestlers inside the cabin. The roofless version of the flagship SUV was developed in response to a special request from a retired sumo wrestler, who wanted to use it as a parade car for future champions.

The Century SUV Convertible was officially unveiled at Ryogoku Kokugikan, the main arena of the Japan Sumo Association, by Toyota chairman Akio Toyoda and former yokozuna (sumo grandmaster) Onokuni and Hakuho. The event took place on January 15, 2024, ahead of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

Toyota Century SUV Convertible: A Custom Parade Car for Sumo Champions
Toyota Century SUV Convertible: A Custom Parade Car for Sumo Champions

How did they modify the Century SUV?

The exterior of the Century SUV Convertible remains identical to the standard model, except for the roof and pillars that have been removed. This effectively converts it into a four-door convertible that can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates its elegant design and spacious interior.

The interior is spacious enough to accommodate two sumo wrestlers, thanks to some modifications made by Toyota engineers. The rear section of the cabin resembles a folded fabric top when folded down, serving as a small backrest for the custom rear bench. The bench has been made to resemble a convertible’s canvas roof when folded down. Grab handles have been installed behind the front seats to give the passengers something to hold onto as they’re entering and getting out of the vehicle.

The body and the suspension have also been reinforced to be able to carry the weight of the occupants. The average weight of sumo wrestlers is 120kg to 150kg. The Century SUV Convertible will have its first official outing on January 28, 2024, to ferry the champion of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament.

What are some other features of the Century SUV?

The Century SUV is Toyota’s flagship model that offers unparalleled luxury and performance. It is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 plug-in hybrid engine that produces 406 hp (303 kW / 412 PS) and can run on electric mode for up to 69 km (43 miles). It also features an e-CVT gearbox and an E-Four Advanced AWD system that provide smooth and agile driving dynamics.

The Century SUV also boasts an impressive list of amenities and technologies that make it stand out from other vehicles in its class. Some of these include:

  • A panoramic glass roof that offers stunning views of the sky
  • A head-up display that projects key information onto the windshield
  • A surround-view camera system that provides a bird’s-eye view of all four sides
  • A Mark Levinson sound system that delivers crystal-clear audio quality
  • A wireless charging pad that allows compatible devices to charge without cords
  • A smart key system that allows remote access and start/stop functions

Why did they choose this vehicle for sumo champions?

According to Toyoda, who attended the event alongside Japan Sumo Association director Yamayasu Shibata (formerly known as yokozuna Onokuni), and committee member Sho Miyagino (formerly known as yokozuna Hakuho), this vehicle was chosen because it represents Toyota’s commitment to excellence and innovation.

Toyoda said: “I’m grateful that we were able to create this car for only one person who can ride in it. I think this car reflects our philosophy of creating cars for people who love cars.”

Miyagino said: “I think this car is very suitable for sumo champions because it shows their strength and dignity. I hope they will enjoy riding in it.”

Onokuni said: “I think this car is very beautiful and elegant. I’m honored that we were able to see it today.”

Hakuho said: “I think this car is very fun and exciting. I’m looking forward to riding in it.”

What are some other examples of custom parade vehicles?

Toyota is not alone in creating custom parade vehicles for celebrities or dignitaries. Some other examples include:

  • The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé: This luxury sedan was modified by Rolls-Royce with gold leaf accents, diamond-studded wheels, leather seats with gold stitching, champagne flutes, cigars, roses, chocolates, champagne bottles, crystal glasses, silk scarves, cashmere sweaters, leather jackets, sunglasses cases with gold-plated frames.
  • The Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta: This supercar was customized by Ferrari with carbon fiber body panels, gold-plated badges, leather seats with gold stitching

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