Gullwing Thing: 1990 Toyota Sera

Two or three years ago when I was in rabid vintage Japanese vehicle buying mode, I wanted a 1990 Toyota Sera like this one but I never jumped on that urge. This gullwing thing can be found here on craigslist in the Washington D.C. area. The seller is asking $5,550 cash for this one. Thanks to Ian C. for submitting this tip!

From this angle, if the gullwing-type doors weren’t in the open position, this Sera would look like the typical melted-bar-of-soap 1990s Japanese car. But, with the doors open it looks like, well, a 1990s Japanese car with gullwing doors. The side view is fairly non-descript other than showing a lot of glass including inset side windows, but once you open the doors, zoom! Speaking of zoom, or, zoom-zoom, it somewhat resembles a 1990s Mazda MX-3 with that huge rear window, or really any number of Japanese cars from the 1990s.

The seller doesn’t give too much info on this car but they say that it has no rust and no rot, it has all of the import documents, and there is a clean title in their name. The Sera wasn’t imported to the US or Canada, of course, but given the 15 or 25-year import rule they can now be imported and we have seen a few of them on Barn Finds over the last few years.

Since they were for the Japanese market, they’re right-hand-drive cars which gives a lot of people the jitters thinking about driving one in a left-hand-drive country. Some of them came with a 5-speed manual transmission and those are unusual to see, most of them had an automatic such as in this car. There are no photos of the back seat area and thankfully the seller says that this one has cold AC. It would be a bummer to be stuck in the back seat on a hot day without AC, or maybe even with it.

There is no word on how this one runs but the engine is Toyota’s 5E-FHE, a 1.5L inline-four with around 105-110 hp. With 117,000 km (72,000 miles) on this car, it’s most likely barely broken in. There aren’t a lot of special features about the Toyota Sera other than the gullwing doors, but with them, it’s a very unique ride. Other than the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, Lamborghini Countach, Bricklin SV-1, and Delorean, what are some other factory gullwing-type door cars?

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Comments

  1. JOHN Member

    All I can say is it’s different…

    Like 8
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      What he said

      Like 5
  2. Ian C

    This is about a couple hours north of me. I have been trying to decide if I should go check it out. I am afraid if I do, I will have to figure out where to put it once I come home because I am sure that it how it will end.

    Like 6
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha! If I had a nickel for every time I thought/said that, Ian… The good part is that it’ll most likely never drop in value if it’s well-maintained.

      Like 7
    • Fred Alexander

      Go for itI used to be a service manager for Toyota and if the mileage is correct and nothing weird has happened to the engine etc. it;d be a good buy – – -maybe he’d pull the price back about $1k.
      Pretty unique and a good fun piece and conversation starter

  3. Kevin Barr Staff

    Shares a lot of parts with the Tercel and Paseo, which means maintenance costs shouldn’t be horrible in the long run.

    Like 3
  4. Jeremy

    Bradley GT has gull wings

    Like 1
    • SMJ_Indy

      Bradley GT was a kit, not a “factory” (production) car, though. The others listed, and the writer’s question was, what other factory/production cars had gullwing doors?

      Like 2
      • RayT Member

        Well, the Autozam AZ-1 had gullwing doors!

        In fact, I’d rather have one of those little buzz-bombs than a Toyota Sera.

        I drove one once. In a way, it felt as I imagined driving a shrunken Porsche 917 would.

  5. Bill McCoskey

    I only live an hour or so from this car, if someone is SERIOUS about the car, I will be glad to check it out [My credentials are top-rate, and I sit on the board at NADA.]

    Like 1
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Anyone remember the Toyota Paseo? They look similar to this, minus the gullwings.

    • grant

      I had a Paseo, it was a fun car. Til the clutch went out. That wasn’t fun.

  7. sparkster57

    One of these went through the Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale in Jan. 2019, let me know if anyone can find out what it sold for.

  8. DENWERKS

    This one is very interesting to look at, in all different angles. I was surprised to see that steering wheel, let alone the doors, lol. Anyways, neat rig non the less.

    Like 2

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