RADwood in Japan: 1994 Toyota Sera – Sold!
When you think about the features a car needs to have to be considered iconic, gullwing doors are right up there with big blocks and racing stripes. This 1994 Toyota Sera is a recent JDM import listed on Craigslist in Allentown, Pennsylvania with reasonable mileage, decent (but not perfect) paint, and the preferred manual transmission with an asking price of $7,900. Given these were never sold stateside, pricing models don’t exist for our market; however, don’t let the seemingly exotic qualities scare you off, as this butterfly-door coupe shares some of its components with the Toyota Paseo. If you’re not a wallflower but can’t abide a hobby car with a hefty maintenance budget, this Sera may be worth a look – and you can start the conversation by texting Michael at (484) 788-1910. When you do, please remember to mention you saw his post featured here on GuysWithRides.com.
The Sera has increasingly been showing up on local classifieds pages as the 25-year importation rule has opened up a new class of vehicles for export from countries like Japan. The funny thing about cars like these is consumers in its native market likely won’t bat an eye when one drives by, but it’s near impossible to ignore such a vehicle when it drives past you locally. The Sera may have looked like a show car built for road-going use, but its drivetrain wasn’t particularly supercar-like: a 1.5-liter inline 4 5E-FHE engine paired to either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Power was sent to the front wheels, and some even had drum brakes out back if ABS wasn’t chosen as an option. Like so many other cars built for Japan, many of them were equipped with the automatic transmission, and the seller points out this is one of just 1,500 with the row-it-yourself option.
To help familiarize yourself with this car, here’s a review of a similar example from YouTube and AutoTrader writer Doug DeMuro:
When it comes to buying a legally imported vehicle, the options are seemingly endless. While some may aim for quintessential Japanese supercars like the Skyline or Supra, the Sera is an attractive choice if you enjoy the attention but don’t want the maintenance headaches. That’s not to say you won’t encounter delays in getting replacement parts for components specific to the Sera (for instance, the seller points out that the awesome Super Live Surround Sound audio system is missing its rear speakers – bummer!), but enough of these have been brought stateside that I’m sure you could find resources for spares without looking too hard. The asking price is $7,900 and the seller seems open to reasonable offers – worth a look if you want to be the star of the next Radwood gathering!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Direct from Japan is this beautiful Sera.
Absolutely not a spot of rust, new door extenders, roof shades, SLSS System (missing rear speakers)
Custom wheels, Cusco strut brace, MOMO wheel
One of 1500 Manual Seras made
Damn clear coat is a weakness on these. See Pics
Ask any & all questions BEFORE making offer.“
Do you have a Sera story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!