24 September 2018

More than an old car #81: Toyota Sera

Back in the 90s, Toyota was the most common car on the roads, not less due to the ever-faithful Corolla and its many variants. However, many great cars of that era have been left forgotten, and I had never heard of this 1990 Toyota Sera until I saw it for myself.

The Sera was unveiled to the public in 1988 as the AXV-II concept car, and it was noted for its unique butterfly wing doors and its glass canopy. Its name is French for "will" [recall 'que sera, sera']. The butterfly doors was used to promote Toyota's corporate image by implementing it on a small, low-production car, although such style was associated with high-end models such as the Mercedes 300 SL. Even the technology behind these doors was quite high-level, as the viscosity of the damper fluid required to operate the door had to be regulated according to the seasons.
It was powered by a 1497cc 5E-FHE i4 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 195 km/h. It was 3860 mm long and weighed 930 kg.

Production ended in 1995 with only 15,941 made. They have become very rare here as well: I am aware of around 5 units only! It is noted that they were not sold here originally by the local Toyota dealer, thus they could have been parallel-imported. They represent the quirkiness of 90s Japanese designs--it has become a cult classic as people begin to appreciate their uniqueness. I don't know whether you will be able to find one on the road, but you won't be able to miss it when you see it!

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