Theme : Dashboards – Japanese Prestige

I am indebted to Eoin for drawing my attention to the repugnant excess of the Mercedes S-class interior.

2015 Toyota Century interior (screen shot)
2015 Toyota Century interior (screen shot)

This has led me to Japan to investigate their approach to boardroom-level transport. Helping me along the way was an article at The Truth About Cars about the Tokyo car show of 1995 and a live web-page showing Nissan´s offerings then. Apparently the web-page is still live, having been left running in all its 1995 glory these last 19 years. One of the cars on the list was the Nissan President of which I had never heard. With this in mind and Eoin´s article freshly published I put the ideas together: if the Mercedes is bad, what else can a plutocrat get for similar money from Japan.

2015 Nissan President dashboard
2015 Nissan President dashboard

The Toyota Century is made in quite small numbers and is deliberately supposed to be very formal and reserved. Presumably it´s intended to be good enough for the Emperor of Japan but without being ostentatious about its size and expense. Nissan´s President has the same ambition but I think it is not able to claim a unique body as the Century can as some form of this shell is sold under the Infiniti brand in the US.

Toyota Century website
Toyota Century website
2015 Toyota Century
2015 Toyota Century

The dashboards of the two cars are as different from each other as they are from the Mercedes S-class. The Toyota says “I am above fashion.” It says this by genuflecting to car design as it was in 1988. This is a trope seldom seen in cars. I have seen old designs still in production but not passé shapes exhumed. That´s subtly different from retro-design, isn´t it?  Someone in Toyota has made the choice to design a dashboard as if it was from 1988 and then put it on sale in 1997. I like that thinking.

2015 Nissan President seats
2015 Nissan President seats

The Nissan President images here come from new screen shots of Nissan Japan´s website. However, Wikipedia alleges the President stopped production in 2010 when the F50 platform was retired. I assume Wikipedia is wrong here but I am not sure. The President´s is simply a contemporary Japanese large car interior. I like it more than the Mercedes but a lot less than the Century.  That´s not saying much either way. However, the President scores with its the astonishingly inviting rear seats. I had no idea anyone 2015 Toyota Century interior whole viewhad the determination to make such overtly arm-chair like chairs in a modern car. Again, this is in contrast to the sober and neatly tailored grey velour that Toyota´s Century provides. I can´t quite tell which I prefer. One must admire the confidence of the President and the reserve of the Century. If I was a plutocrat or senior bureaucrat, I´d feel less guilty about being driven about in the Century, I suppose. It´s comfortable but not greedily so. It´s almost like a very good rail carriage interior. The same goes for the dashboard: public transport at a really high level.

2015 Nissan President
2015 Nissan President (?)

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

5 thoughts on “Theme : Dashboards – Japanese Prestige”

  1. “The dashboards of the two cars are as different from each other as they are from the Mercedes S-class. The Toyota says “I am above fashion.” It says this by genuflecting to car design as it was in 1988. This is a trope seldom seen in cars. I have seen old designs still in production but not passé shapes exhumed. That´s subtly different from retro-design, isn´t it? Someone in Toyota has made the choice to design a dashboard as if it was from 1988 and then put it on sale in 1997. I like that thinking.”

    I’m guessing it’s simpler than that and they were told not to change anything of substance, rather than to go about their job as if it was the 1980’s all over again.

  2. Meanwhile you will like this I’m sure about the Century (from the good people at Wikipedia):

    “The vehicles’ interiors are usually ordered in wool cloth, rather than the leather seen in many luxury cars; leather is not as quiet as cloth when sat upon.”

  3. If I was seriously wealthy and sufficiently self-important to require something chauffeur driven, I’d quite like to be driven around in a Toyota Century – a W222 would send out quite the wrong impression. Far too showbiz. You can be sure the Toyota rides beautifully too – without all this ‘Magic Ride Control’ hokum…

    1. I agree with Eoin. In fact, I think the Century has replaced the Lincoln Town Car in the short list of cars I’d really like to own if I was someone else.

  4. The wool upholstery is a super detail. I miss the cloth (partly wool) of my old car. It was noticeably more acoustically agreable inside than the hide my current car has. Leather reflects more sound.
    The Century has a lot going for it but I couldn’t imagine driving one. It’s up there with a Maybach and Seraph, cars that are like top hats. These are absurdly formal vehicles. The Lincoln is just a mildly tarted up Ford and is at much lower level of prestige, more like a dark coloured Fedora worn with a suit.

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