The Hyaku Shiki had always been a odd fixture in UC Gundam: it was a high-performance mobile suit given to Char Aznable, a legend in his own right, and it resembled the Gundam in many ways. However, the distinct lack of a V-fin and the different shape of its face made it clear that it wasn’t the real deal; not THE main character’s personal machine, and more importantly, not a Gundam.
Funny, that. The Hyaku Shiki was supposed to be a Gundam.
Before the events of Zeta Gundam, Anaheim Electronics experimented on transformable mobile suits, and designed what was called the Delta Gundam. The Delta Gundam turned out to be a failure, so Anaheim sidelined the transforming capability, to be incorporated into the Delta Plus years later. But you can’t let a good design down, so the Delta Gundam’s base was used to test the Gundam Mk II’s movable frame technology, as well as anti-beam coating.
And that’s just the in-universe explanation. The fluff. In the production side, the Delta Gundam was a proposed Gundam design by Mamoru Nagano, but Director Tomino rejected it for the main Gundam role. He liked it enough though, so it eventually became the Hyaku Shiki, Char’s personal machine.
These stories of coming up short might present the Hyaku Shiki in an unfavorable light, but I disagree. It’s failures like this that provide the Universal Century a flawed, yet interesting history, and we are all the richer for it.
PS: Just as Char was a rival to Amuro, he could also be considered as a rival to the Gundam. But the Hyaku Shiki is a Gundam in all but name! Can Char fans reconcile this fact–that at one point, Char piloted a Gundam, as well? Can you?
PPS: If you look beyond the Universal Century, the Cosmic Era has the Akatsuki, which is also golden and piloted by a blonde ace. The model kits of it drop all pretensions of denying the label, even.