Up until recently; I worked for a car dealership selling new cars. An (important) element of my job was to speak with clients about all of these fancy features on their potential new car – you know, dual-zone climate control, seat warmers, ten-way-adjustable power seating and what not. I spent hours boasting about all of these luxuries, conveniences and features on these new cars, and it’s what everybody was after because their previous car didn’t have them. When I first took a ride in Kyle’s Crown Majesta, I was greeted with all of the features I sold every day… But Kyle’s car was built in 2004.
The Japanese domestic market (JDM) features the weird, the wonderful, and the outrageous. Weird looks, wonderful performance, and outrageous luxuries adorn concept cars unveiled by Japanese manufacturers every year, and (to our delight) these features quite often make it to market well ahead of our western inventory. Toyota is one such manufacturer renown for its intelligent designs and technological advancements, and has recently celebrated the release of the all-new Camry, Corolla and C-HR (and next year the new RAV4 and Supra). With features such as radar cruise control (which matches the speed of the vehicle in front of you and even brakes to maintain a safe distance), heated and ventilated seats, keyless entry, heads-up displays and numerous other features available on most models; many would say that Toyota is ‘up to date’ with current design trends (and unsurprisingly it is). However, what if I told you that all of these features were available in the car I had just ridden in from 2004?
The Crown Majesta stands today as an icon of Japanese luxury. Currently standing as a flagship within Toyota’s luxury line of vehicles alongside the Century; the Crown Majesta has been a popular model within the import market since production commenced in 1991. The first generation Majesta featured an electronic dash cluster, electric power steering, seat heaters, a heads-up display and even satellite navigation from standard. Standard! The luxury sedans were well ahead of their time, and this serves as a testament to Japanese ingenuity and engineering.
Kyle’s S180 generation commenced production in 2004 and ceased in 2009 (his particular car being a 2004 plate). On top of the features listed in the 1991 production model; the S180 Crown Majesta featured radar adaptive cruise control (with low speed tracking functions), air suspension, rear-view camera, parking assist, lane keeping assist and an advanced radar pre-collision system. Nowadays; Toyota refer to these features on Australian models as a standard safety package called Toyota Safety Sense. Today’s all-new Camry and Corolla feature adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and pre-collision safety (as well as other features like blind spot monitors) and luxuries such as seat warmers, wireless phone charging and lumbar support. Bear in mind that this is 2018, and there are now plenty of cars on the market with this kind of stuff.
Kyle’s example is obviously well away from factory standard; featuring subtle modifications such as Junction Produce curtains (insert token VIP owner accessory starter pack here) and a samurai shifter on the inside, and T-Demand coilover suspension and some stunning Art In Motion MA27 wheels (we recall seeing this exact set around town a few years ago on a particular slammed M35 Stagea). It’s all you really need on a VIP car, in all honesty. They’re stunning on the inside, they’re stunning outside, and it’s definitely the sort of car that one must be mindful of the term ‘less is more’ when modifying.
The VIP market is a niche’ of our import scene, and I’m honestly considering getting one for myself someday. With features which match a 2018 plate vehicle, plush interiors, gorgeous exteriors and genuinely powerful motors; they’re a bang for buck if you were to consider a modern car with the same specs, and you can pick up some very clean examples from $10K if you know what you’re looking for. Definitely food for thought if you want that JDM life but value your passengers as much (if not more) than yourself!
Oh, and before I finish up, I just thought I’d point out that the rear passengers in Kyle’s Majesta can actually adjust the seating position of the front passenger seat from the rear reclining seats, so that it can allow more leg room in the back. F**k you, front passenger peasant.
I’m never calling shotgun in this car.
Oh, and Kyle’s Majesta will be featured at SlowCase 2019, so you best be there in your car as well! Register by clicking here.