Photo Credit: Nissan

For years I’ve gone on about how cool Toyota Previas are, with their midengine/rear-wheel drive platform tucked under an egg-shaped minivan body. But it turns out Toyota wasn’t the only one to follow this formula.

This is the Nissan Serena. Like the Previa, the engine is mounted under the floor and it drives the rear wheels (or all the wheels if you chose the option). Apparently the motor “gives you a massage” as you drive along, as one very dissatisfied car reviewer noted.


Nissan built these things through the 1990s, much to the chagrin of British buyers, who time after time derided its slowness, its tallness, and its tackiness. In 2001, Top Gear called it the worst car on sale in the UK. They didn’t know what they had in front of them.

Photo Credit: Nissan

Particularly cool is that the Serena came with an SR20 inline four-cylinder, an engine that you can find tuned up to seven, eight, even 900 horsepower in some of today’s top drift car builds.

You can drift them.

You can track them.

You can do burnouts in them. (Kinda.)

You can swap in a rotary engine then watch them burn to the ground after a fuel leak!


I’m counting the days until someone imports one of these things (of course they were never sold in the U.S.) and runs it in Formula Drift.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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