With a design inspired by a drop of water and doors that, in turn, later inspired the McLaren F1, the Toyota Sera has staked its place in the automotive design world. The Sera made its debut at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show as a concept car called ADX-II. At the 1989 show, the car was shown in near-production form as the Sera (the French verb for "being" in future tense).
During the Japanese "Bubble Economy", car manufacturers had the capital to experiment with interesting cars for niche markets. The Sera concept was approved for production during "The Bubble", but it went on sale just as the economy collapsed. Fortunately, it was mechanically based on the Toyota Paseo/Starlet, which kept some of the production costs down. Like other Bubble-era cars, the Sera was made only for the Japanese market.
The butterfly door design allows the doors to open with just 17 inches (43cm) of clearance, great for tight parking spots. Along with the doors, the Sera was also one of the first cars to use projector headlights. Visibility while driving is excellent, and while the tiny windows in the doors are not practical for drive-throughs, they do provide fresh air without buffeting. About 90% of Seras were equipped with automatic transmissions.
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Corp.
Country of Origin: Japan
Drivetrain Configuration: Front engine, front wheel drive
Engine: 1497cc, 110 hp, four cylinder, liquid cooled
Transmission: 5 speed manual
Top Speed: 115 miles per hour
Years of Production: 1990-95
Number Produced: 15,941
Original Cost: ____