1997 Toyota Paseo Convertible

Driving home from work, I caught sight of a rather unusual car: a Toyota Paseo convertible. I couldn’t recall ever having seen one before.

As it turns out, the convertible model was introduced in the U.S. in August 1996 and the Paseo was discontinued in 1997. That means the Paseo Convertible was a one-year only car for the United States. According to Wikipedia, the convertible models were never offered in Britain or other markets.

According to a thread on ToyotaOwnersClub.com, only 2,700 Paseo coupes were sold in the U.S. in 1997. Of those, approximately 1,000 were convertible models were built by ASC in California.

The Paseo isn’t a particularly remarkable car, considering that it was in production alongside the MR2, the Celica, and the fourth-gen Supra – all of which are much more interesting from an enthusiast perspective. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Paseo convertible is its incredibly low production numbers. Here’s how the Paseo stacks up next to other low-production models of the 1990s.

Years Make/Model # Produced
1997 Toyota Paseo
1991 GMC Syclone 2,995
1989-1990 Pontiac Grand Prix Turbo ASC-McLaren 3,500 (?)
1989-1991 Dodge Dakota Sport Convertible Truck 3,800
1991-1993 GMC Typhoon 4,697
1990-1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 6,939
1989-1991 Chrysler TC by Maserati 7,300
1987-1993 Cadillac Allante 21,430
1988-1991 Buick Reatta 21,751
1991-1992 Lexus ES250 37,476

I wonder how many other rare 90s cars are out there, yet to be discovered. I can say that I have a new appreciation for Toyota’s one-year only convertible Paseo in the U.S.