Modified Toyota Century To Be Used For Victory Ride of Sumo Champion

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From right, Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Akio Toyoda and stablemasters Shibatayama and Miyagino unveil the Century parade car at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo on Saturday.

Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled a modified version of its top-of-the-line Century on Saturday at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan in which the winner of the upcoming New Year Grand Sumo Tournament will be taken for a victory ride.

The car, a Century sport utility vehicle that was first launched last year, features reinforced suspension springs to handle the added weight of the heavy sumo wrestlers. The company made the SUV into a convertible by removing the roof.

Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda started development of the “sumofied” vehicle about a year ago at the request of former yokozuna Hakuho, now stablemaster Miyagino, with whom he has a close relationship.

“I’m grateful that the Century was chosen as the car that only the champion can ride in,” Toyoda said.

Up to now, the Toyota Crown has been used for the victory parade.

The New Year tournament starts Sunday, with the champion to be crowned on Jan. 28 before being taken for a victory ride.