tripped down, strung-out MGs, 911s , and Corvettes are fun, but both our spine and spirit enjoys time spent in the cushy embrace of large, insulated land yachts. For classic wafting, you’d be best suited behind the wheel of a vintage Mercedes or Bentley, but those tend to be overly complicated, fussy, and a bit on the bland side. For country cruising, you want something rock-solid and dead-nuts reliable, unless you have a chauffeur to handle impromptu belt changes and radiator patches. For us 99 percenters, Bring a Trailer’s spectacularly rare 1986 Toyota VG40 Century is the perfect middle ground.
Never heard of Toyota’s Century? We don’t blame you—info on the executive sedan rarely leaks beyond Japan’s shores. Up until last year, the Century quietly remained in continuous production since 1967, and served as the automaker’s top-tier luxury vehicle, positioned even above the Lexus LS offered in global markets.
The Century championed the idea of conservative luxury, eschewing overtly flashy styling, chrome, and obnoxious badging. It was quiet, reserved, and effortlessly comfortable. Inside, the car was rarely updated, only receiving a second generation in 1997. It’s a sparse environment vastly outgunned and out-classed by even the modern LS, but considering the Century was not marketed as a sign of wealth or success, the relatively sedate interior was right in-line with the image.
Buyers often opted for a wool interior in place of traditional leather, on account of how squeaky leather could be. Instead of tinted windows, white lace curtains were fitted for passenger privacy, along with electrically actuated doors that closed and opened when the latch was engaged, removing any mechanical sound that would be deemed too disruptive.
Second-gen Centuries pulled power from a 5.0-liter V-12, but since this VG40 is still considered to be part of the first generation of Century, an eight-cylinder engine was the powertrain of choice. Motivation comes from a 4.0-liter V-8 sending 190 hp to the rear wheels through a three-speed automatic transmission.
Overall, the car appears to be in great condition, with the only notable blemish being a small rust spot on the driver’s side rocker panel. These were rarely exported outside Japan, but this oldtimer found its way to Florida, so you’ll be able to pick it up and drive it across the country without hesitation.