1992 Toyota Sera EXY-10 ACPMGH(S) Chassis 15350 (1.5 Manual SLSS Phase III)
1990 Toyota Sera EXY-10 ACPGH Chassis 11613 (1.5 Auto)
(Now sold - living in Bristol/Huddersfield)
1990 Toyota Sera EXY-10 ACPGH Chassis 7734 (1.5 Auto)
(Now sold - living in Brighton)
Present Sera status: Astral Black 15350 undergoing suspension replacement and MOT
First Sera acquired: 17/09/2003
Page last updated: 06/01/2006
Frequently updated pictures of my current Sera are to be found on .Mac - http://homepage.mac.com/r.t.kilpatrick
The Toyota Sera is a Japanese market car produced from 1989/90 to 1995. It's essentially based on the Toyota Starlet and the closest relative is the 1992 Paseo (the original Paseo wasn't sold in the UK, but later models are very similar), and has a 5E-FHE 1.5 16v engine which produces 110bhp. Most models are automatics, all have airconditioning, and quite a lot have the sophisticated Super Live Sound System (SLSS) which features component speakers plus centre channel in the front, and motorised component rear speakers on the parcel shelf along with a boot mounted subwoofer.
The Sera was never marketed outside of Japan, apparently because it wouldn't meet EU crash regulations. Only 16,000 were sold, with most being sold in the first three years of production. It's one of the most popular 'boutique' cars from Japan to be imported into the UK, despite being outnumbered by other strange cars like the Figaro, and partly because unlike the Figaro, it was designed as a 'dream' car, rather than a retro car. Some websites report that the Sera was a concept car, but they are most assuredly real.
Unlike the Figaro, which is fragile and a little underpowered, the Sera is an incredibly usable car for daily running/commuting. Automatics are especially pleasant in town, but the manual shift's rifle-bolt precision is refreshingly accurate, and of course, lets you make the full use of the high-revving engine. As well as being reassuringly economical, the Sera has many practical attributes - it seats four, with more comfort than similar cars like the MX3 and Tigra. The doors only require 43cm of clearance to the side to open, and when in correct health, open themselves, requiring only a little force to raise them to waist height. Parts are similarly priced to normal Toyotas and the cars are very easy to work on. Insurance is catered for by mainstream firms like Direct Line and related companies, although some specialists have trouble with it as with any other import - and it generally is considered to be equivalent to a Group 9 car (but always get a quote, as groups are only a guideline).
One interesting point is the production length - Seras have what must be the longest production period of any of the Boutique cars, most were produced in 1 or 2 year 'slots', whereas the Sera was sold for a fairly conventional model cycle of 6 years. The last models - Phase III - feature high-level brake lights in the rear spoiler and (optional) three-point rear seatbelts, airbags and ABS, as well as side-impact beams (different door struts apply to compensate for the extra weight) and different interior trim. The Phase III model also includes a special edition Amlux Sera of which very few were produced.
Being a fan of weird cars, I wanted a Sera for ages, but never found one I could afford. Then, one day in September 2003, I found this lurking behind Value Cars in Galashiels. The rear seats were all removed, the car was filthy, it had a terrible bodged repair on one headlight. The rest of that story can be found in the link to my first Sera.
Specifications and data which Sera owners may find useful.
I'll add information to this as I go along, part numbers and so on. The Toyota Sera Register at http://www.toyotasera.co.uk/ is extremely good for supply of parts and information, especially if you don't have a helpful main dealer to hand, and there is also an excellent forum.
Most motor factors won't be able to help you with some parts, for example the Paseo air cleaner element is the same (but a tight fit in my experience, so perhaps not identical), the oil filter is common to many Toyotas, but the timing belt is different to that on the Paseo apparently.
If you have any information, feedback or comments on this website, I can be reached by emailing sera(at)dmc12.demon.co.uk - there is no link at present due to the amount of spam and Swen-type emails I've had, I have no desire to have more harvested!