If you’re a Toyota enthusiast, you probably often reflect on some of the company’s older and retired models. However, we’d reckon there are a number of vehicles that you’ve just completely forgotten about. Well, here at AutoInfluence, we’re going to make sure that every car is remembered, regardless of how it was received by consumers. Considering how long Toyota has been around (and how many different vehicles they’ve produced), the brand seemed like a natural place to start.
So while the following vehicles may not be what you’d typically find when you’re searching for a used Toyota, understand that these cars could potentially be more desirable (based on who you’re talking to). Some of the vehicles are now million-dollar collector items, while some are likely being used on a farm somewhere. Regardless of the current use, let’s take a look at some of the rarest Toyota vehicles…
The two-door coupe was available only from 1990 through 1996, and it was only sold to the Japanese market. That didn’t prevent car enthusiasts from around the globe from getting their hands on the impressive vehicle, as the Sera had been imported to the United States, Ireland, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, among others. With the name meaning “will be” in French, the intent of the car was to show the company’s futuristic outlook on automobiles.
The most recognizable feature on the Sera was the Lamorghini-esque (as described by Casey Baseel of RocketNews24.com) butterfly doors, as well as an eye-catching glass roof. With an additional glass rear hatch and a rounded body, the vehicle was commended for the excellent visibility. For those worried that an exterior composed mostly of glass would lead to a toasty interior, the company included a pair of removable roof panels on every Sera. Furthermore, the Sera was one of the first cars to include projector headlights up front.
On the inside you’ll find bucket seats up front and bench seats in the back, allowing for four possible passengers. You’d also find the vehicle has right-hand drive, which could be quite the issue if you were looking to import the vehicle from Japan. Major alterations were necessary to make the vehicle legal. However, the company also made sure the changes would not be as drastic as those in other imported vehicles, as the Sera was practically adapted for overseas use.
As Baseel explains, the Sera “featured lackluster performance and handling, and the disharmony of its “look-at-me” styling and absence of driving fun has resulted in it largely fading from memory.” Still, the innovative design still makes it a favorite among car enthusiasts, and you can bet that there are a good number of consumers out there searching the market for a Sera.
Baseel writes that the sedan was modeled after the embattled 1950’s Toyota Crown, which was the company’s first exported model. However, the brand inexplicably only made their new Origin available for the 2000 model year. The decision to recreate the Crown was curious in the first place, as the vehicle was considered a “colossal failure in the international market.” With an estimated $70,000 price tag, the car could only pump out 220 horsepower, which was well below the expectations on]f overseas buyers.
The company relied on the Toyota Porgres for the Origin’s platform, and they also borrowed the straight-six DOHC engine. As a throwback to the Origin, the company included rear suicide doors, jewel taillights and a slanting C-pillar. Although it may not have been the intent of the manufacturers, the Origin was considered a luxury car in Japan due to the exterior dimensions and engine displacement. This meant that Japanese drivers were required to pay higher road taxes due to the engine size.
Luckily for the company, they managed to sell 1,000 units, after which production was promptly shut down.
Toyota Sprinter Trueno Convertible
The brand opened up their popular AE86 Hachi Roku Corolla fastback with this model, converting the vehicle into the Sprinter Trueno Convertible. The vehicle never sold particularly well, however, which could be attributed to the hefty price tag (more than twice that of the vehicle it was based on). Furthermore, the convertible was only sold at Toyota Tama dealers, so your everyday car buyer wouldn’t just randomly come across the car and make an impulse buy.
While you’ll still likely find the Sprinter (or even the Sprinter Trueno) on used car lots, it’s unlikely you’ll come across the convertible. If you do, you can take satisfaction in knowing that you’re driving one of the rarest Toyota models ever produced.
Toyota Mega Cruiser
While General Motors used their military Humvee as a basis for their iconic Hummer, Toyota did much the same thing. They look their all-terrain vehicle that was typically used by the Japanese Self Defense Force and released the Mega Cruiser, a street-legal version of the military ride. Sold only in Japan, the vehicle wasn’t particularly popular in the country, as the large frame didn’t mesh with the “narrow roads, tiny parking spaces, and expensive gas,” as Baseel explained. The full-size SUV did end up finding a niche with the police and fire departments, where the large interiors were useful for storing gear.
The 6,270-pound SUV was the largest four-wheel drive vehicle ever produced by the company. The Mega Cruiser included a 4.1-liter turbodiesel I4 engine that could push out a ton of torque at low revs, which was one of the priorities of the engineers. Furthermore, the vehicle had front, center and rear differential locks, and the system also included four-wheel steering.
It wasn’t so much the vehicle that led to a lack of popularity. As we previously mentioned, Toyota’s SUV was much too big for Japanese consumers, and the popularity of the Hummer limited the Mega Cruiser’s sales. The SUV ultimately only lasted from 1995 through 2002.
The sports car wasn’t necessarily known for it’s performance, although the late-1960’s vehicle was impressive for its time. The car could reach 60 miles per hour in 9.2 seconds, and it hit the quarter mile mark at 16.3 seconds. What truly made the 2000GT so desirable was the stylish body, with a longnose that resembled the E-type vehicles of that time. The interior was luxurious, featuring a much-desired air conditioning unit.
Take a look under the hood, and you’d find a 2.0-liter straight-six engine, which was inspired by the motor in the Toyota Crown sedan. To make the system sportier, Yamaha produced a new double overhead camshaft, allowing for 150 horsepower.
While only 351 2000GTs were sold from 1967 through 1970, appreciation for the vehicle has grown over time. As a result, the rare vehicle now sells for nearly a million dollars in auctions. There was at least one of the sports cars seen driving around Nanto, Japan, but the vehicle met it’s demise when a freak falling tree took out the car.
As we mentioned, you probably wouldn’t find many of the vehicles lying around a used car lot. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to ever see one of these vehicles at all! They’re all extremely rare and (usually) extremely expensive, meaning it would take a true Toyota fan (who happens to be wealthy) to get some of these vehicles back on the road.