At first glance, the Toyota Sera looks like a generic Japanese compact from the early 90’s. But when you open the door, you will see why this little car is so special. Toyota conceived it on their regular Corolla platform. They powered it with an ordinary 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, so the Sera is technically a regular car.
But the design and technical solutions of the cabin, doors and roof are unique. The Sera project showed the world how a boring compact car can be a design marvel. To do so, Toyota installed a glass canopy that partially opened with butterfly-style doors rarely seen on anything except for McLaren F1 supercars.
The production of this feature was demanding because Toyota needed special tools and machines to fabricate the door mechanisms and the specially curved glass. However, Toyota’s engineers managed to pull it off and introduced the Sera in 1990. It stayed in production until 1996, during which time they made over 16,000. Unfortunately, they sold almost all of them exclusively in Japan.