A 2-door, 4-seat coupe named Toyota Sera (EXY10) was released by Toyota Motor Corporation in 1990. The car was designed and manufactured mainly for the Japanese market; however, the growing interest for this vehicle abroad forced the enthusiasts to import the car from Japan. The car was imported to Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, India Ireland, New Zealand and United Kingdom. The car was first revealed in almost production ready form as Toyota AXV-II concept in 1988.
The term “Sera” is taken from French word for “will be” (the French verb “being” in future tense), refers to the car’s overall futuristic design and the close resemblance of concept car with the final production unit. The two most remarkable features of Sera are its butterfly doors that tilt up and forward when opened and the canopy made up of glass panels.
The Toyota Sera was launched with only one engine as well as body type. Despite the fact that the Toyota Sera EXY10 was only one model in its lineup, there were several factory packages available offering features like transmission, brakes, cold climate and sound system etc.
The total numbers of manufactured and registered Sera units were 15852. But these figures may not be authentic as in early 1990s some of the units were imported from Japan as well and there were chances that some units were exported from Japan without getting themselves registered. The Toyota Sera is now getting a rare collectible.
As for mechanicals, all the Sera models received a 1.5-L (1496cc) in-line 4 5E-FHE unleaded petrol engine, which was the largest capacity version of Toyota’s E-series of engines also used in certain other models of Toyota like Toyota Paseo and Toyota Starlet. Mechanically, the engine was normally setup in the front-mount, front-wheel drive transverse configuration along with electronic fuel injection. All the engines versions offered with power assisted rack and pinion steering and with a 4 speed automatic or 5 speed manual transmission.
If we mechanically examine the Sera, we will find that it is pretty much identical to Paseo and Starlet as it shares the same floorpans, suspension, steering and brakes etc. Also, there are many consumable parts like brakepads and springs that are identical and still available from majority of the auto parts suppliers.
Generally, Toyota Sera has a steel monocoque structure with a low and rounded body shape. It is often referred to as a 2-door plus hatch coupe. The most distinguishing thing about Sera is its butterfly doors, hinged at the top and bottom of A pillar and open upward like McLaren F1 and Saleen S7. Thick gas strut are present that support the weight of the door which is further compensated by a smaller secondary strut located inside the door.
The rear hatch is also unique in its construction as it is made up of a single piece of glass without having any support from steel frame. The rear hatch along with the steeply sloping front windscreen and glass upper-door/roof panels offers Sera a typical “bubble-like” canopy. In order to prevent the interior temperature to rise in sunny days, Toyota offered air-conditioning along with two interior roof panels.