For $19,995, Could This 1989 Toyota Soarer Aero Cabin Unicorn Be Your JDM Jam?

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Aero Cabin is one of 500 Soarer faux-vertibles Toyota built for home market folks who wanted to soar a little more. Let’s see if this intrepid import’s price should let a new owner see the Aero of their ways.

Have you seen that pretty good Tom Cruise movie with the pretty bad title in which he’s fighting aliens and dying over and over again? There’s always one more thing that he has to remember to just make it off that damn beach.


I was reminded of that flick looking at the voting and comments on last Friday’s 1975 Volvo 245 DL which had been modded by its seller in seemingly all the right ways, but missed the mark price wise resulting in a hefty 82% Crack Pipe loss. Ooh, so close.

Aftermarket mods by owners can be hit or miss seeing as the competency of planning and execution can be, and often is, all over the board. When it comes to cars modified by their makers however… well, that can have questionable results as well.

Take for example this 1989 Toyota Soarer Aero Cabin. This JDM-only model was offered for just one model year and a minuscule 500 were built at all. It looks sort of like a very awkward Lancia Beta Zagato, but this being a Japanese model it offers a roof mechanism with a complexity not seen since the Ford Galaxie Skyliner in all its origami-astic folding, opening and shutting glory.


That allows for some open-air hijinks when wanted by its owner, without the never-intended-to-be-a-convertible Soarer ending up pretending it’s Gumby over the rough stuff.

What’s underneath that oddly proportioned special body is a Supra chassis that’s been stretched between the wheels and a 7M-GTE three-litre straight six that, with its turbocharger, is claimed good for 230-bhp. Backing that up is a four-speed automatic.


This one comes in pearl white over gold, as did all of the Aero Cabins, and features some sweet BBS wheels wrapped in what the ad says are fairly new tires. That crazy articulating top—the over-long boot lid opens from the front and the overhead and rear sections of the roof fold rearward down underneath it—is said to function as needed.


Other mechanicals are said to be equally serviceable, and in fact the seller says the car is a “blast to drive.” On the downside it has been lowered, and an aftermarket exhaust and “shift kit” have been added. Those are probably all easy fixes but it does call into question the car’s overall curation over the years. Sorry seller, but that’s what we do here: we judge.


The exterior looks decent, as does the cool Akihabara interior. There’s some wear showing on the leather, especially that center console cap, which looks all kinds of no-touchie, but making up for that the digital dash seems to be working a-okay.


Some aging is evident on the window trim outside as well and the car looks like it could stand a good once-over by a detailer. The odometer indicates 133,000 kilometers and of course you’ll have to pilot the thing from the right-hand seat. I’ve found that to be a far scarier proposition for the left-leaning passenger than the driver when cruising in the land of LHD.

So, let’s recap, shall we? This is one of 500 built; its hard-top roof does more tricks than a birthday party clown; it’s an ‘80s Toyota so it’s probably really well engineered (just look at those door hinges!); and it’s already imported and apparently is a fully legal eagle. What could that possibly be worth?


Well, it’s worth $19,995 if you believe its seller. And who are we to question him? Oh… yeah. Okay, so maybe he’s not the best arbitrator of value seeing as his present ownership could be construed as a conflict of interest. We all have no such issue and hence can offer an unbiased, but hopefully by this point, informed judgement.


What’s your take on this uber-rare Aero Cabin and that $19,995 price tag? Does that feel like a deal to get your JDM on? Or, is this a Soarer that’s held earthbound by a too-high price?

You decide!


San Francisco Bay Area Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Ad absurdum per aspera for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.