1984 Toyota Starlet (KP61) – Kouki Ambush


Starlet. Nothing sounds more testosterone lacking, feminine adolescent, or even mildly stripper-esque than this expression. If anything, it might be considered form of cute once we absolutely must give credit to its creator–the Toyota Motor Corporation. Time was definitely irregular back in the ’80s, but, checking out the big picture, little has changed. According to the country of allocation Automakers still decide each model’s name. In certainty, they continue to let an intellectual employee decide on the names after careful consideration of social trends and linguistic slangs for each market. The predecessor in the Starlet model was bestowed a fresher name, the Toyota Publica, ending and starting its antiquated reign from 1961 to 1978. The Starlet’s successor received a much cooler name that was perfectly aligned with its era of production, called the Corolla FX16 in 1985. As usual, no other cooler Starlet models besides the KP series ever made it to U.S. shores. Despite the bubbly Starlet’s estrogen-smothered surname, it was actually a solid platform that was highly praised by many automobile-loving enthusiasts all over the world in several genres of motorsports.

Eugene Garcia ofRosemead and CA, was one of these brilliant fanatics who genuinely appreciated the classic nature of the KP61 Toyota Starlet. He finally acquired one and preserved it in a safe house in excess of 15 years.

Instead thoroughly improvised for its extensive customization and strategized due to its timely revival, although don’t misunderstand Eugene’s actions, this vehicle has never been forgotten nor neglected through its slumber. In a more conflictive sense, it was in guerilla mode, collecting formidable armaments and crouching as an assassin waiting for retaliation against modern adversaries of present automotive technology. Everyone, particularly the domestic crowd, knows that a classic car designed with a modern powerplant and computers are the influential bunch of the packFor all those enthusiasts who had been clever enough to realize this affordable Toyota subcompact was one of the last front-engine rear-wheel-drive-configured automobiles the automaker would release, one didn’t think twice to snatch them up and store them away. In spatial aspects, the Starlet didn’t really take up much storage space either. The 91.5-inch wheelbase is so short that in extreme cases one can manage two Starlets in a single parking space. So, a whole decade following the millennium, Eugene finally received a spiritual calling in the Japanese classic car gods to impede hibernation and begin building the vessel for salvation. Full restoration of Eugene’s ’84 Starlet took over a year with an abundance of investment, combined with the aid of the supreme knowledge of a seasoned classic Toyota shop, Racetoys in Diamond Bar, CA. Moreover, the key to the success of this amassed intricate automobile machinery functioning harmoniously was patience.

First, is first. The original kouki 4K engine came fuel injected, however it was quickly tossed for a 1.6L 4AGZE engine. The factory-supercharged 4AGZE is simply a low-compression motor equipped with beefier connecting rods to handle forced induction. The engine was torn down for a full-forged internal build, including 8.1: 1 Arias pistons, TODA piston rings, Carrillo connecting rods, and custom re-sleeved cylinders. The big-port head was assembled withTRD and HKS, and ARP products, which is a tried-and-true formula that has been proven to never act up in any way. Individual throttle bodies (ITB) are synonymous with old-school tuning, which run considerably more efficiently by having an ECU than an outmoded carbureted system. Eugene’s factory AE111 ITB system required a custom air intake surge tank–one that won’t leak any pressurized air from the turbocharger compressor. The HKS GT2540R turbocharger is actually a small T25 flanged unit, but it packs a powerful whirl of compacted air, effective at over 350 hp on a small-displacement four-cylinder engine. This turbo was mated into a custom-made exhaust manifold and pipes, with an HKS wastegate, Greddy intercooler, plus an ARC blow-off valve. Gases are spent through a custom exhaust system designed with a TRD muffler.

An Australian computer system, named the Stinger EMS, was implemented to give control of engine modifications made beyond that from the stock realm. A straightforward fuel compensation controller might have made the automobile run, however not to Racetoys’ high standards. A custom turbo setup combined with a minimal-compression internal rotating assembly required full tuning of custom fuel and ignition maps with an intricate level. ignition and Fuel spark are two essential factors to create an engine go suck, bang and squish and burp. Eugene decided, with a system that had been capable of uncompromising ignition spark and fuel supply, ideally to maximize turbocharger performance and produce torque. A set of Denso ignition coil-on packs were installed, to give full spark dedicated for each cylinder and mutually partnered with RC Engineering 550cc injectors. The Stinger EMS makes all of these overzealous modifications possible, given that it must be utterly capable of controlling advanced tuning mods. The end result is 301 hp at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque, using a power-to-weight ratio that will embarrass plenty of shiny exotics around.

Supporting drivetrain and suspension upgrades were also called for but not taken too over the top since, after all, this was a street assassin instead of a full-blown track terrorist. A totally rebuilt T50 transmission, composed of brand-new silky smooth Toyota synchromesh gears, engage the ACT and TODA lightened chromoly flywheel, transitioning the energy to the TRD rear limited-slip differential. Motul is the gear oil associated with preference, keeping temperatures and viscosity levels consistent to counter the increased heat applied. Who builds suspension coilovers for KP61 Starlets these days? Exactly. No one does. These older chassis receive little or no aftermarket support, thus custom fabrication is often required. A custom suspension coilover unit topped with Cusco upper camber plates were mounted to accomplish a lower center of gravity and stiffer lateral roll. Camber settings were returned to zero for the front and backis really as clean as it may get. The reupholstered dashboard with red stitching, done by S&L Top Shop, resembles an exotic Italian vehicle. A pair of red TRD reclining bucket seats was also planted to the frame with Wedgework brackets. The Autopower rollbar, used for chassis stiffening and safety factors just in case of your rollover, unfortunately limits rear passengers. Nevertheless, Eugene never intended to make this a normal passenger commuter car anyway. A flare for Italian design graces the steering wheel at the same time with a 330mm Nardi deep corn and matching red stitching mounted to a Bell hub. Considering the compact nature of the entire setup, from the door panels, carpet, and interior plastic was redone in immaculate excellence. The complete absence of a gaudy ten thousand-watt stereo system or even GPS and iPod hookup is the reason why this creation a true enthusiast car. The sound of the hissing BOV is sufficient for Eugene’s ears.

The body was reworked by none other than P.J. Bonifacio in-house of Kolors Beige. The Japanese reference the non-widebody nature of your exterior as narrow body, which exhibits a sleeper-like vibe. Individuals who choose to learn its identity will truly suffer a spanking. You must ask: Do I want to be embarrassed from a 1.6L street kart that carries the name Starlet today? Don’t permit the retro fender mirrors and JDM short fenders fool you, this is simply not a JDM fanboy-made car.

SSR MKII 13×7.5 front and 13×8 rear polished wheels strapped with Sumitomo tires hobble the body line of the Starlet. An 8-inch rear wheel provides plenty of traction, enough to snap the factory Toyota axleshaft if mistreated in any way. It takes a special type of driver to disengage and engage the clutch while babying the shifts at the higher rpm range for these classic cars.

Given that the sleeping Starlet has run out of its hibernation and on the prowl, we can easily safely point out that Eugene has fulfilled his calling. Classic Toyotas are increasingly becoming extinct in this world when one builds one to this caliber, it must be highly praised and recognized. Take extreme caution when you encounter this particular Starlet on the road, it is strongly advised to step aside to spot the intercooler and diagonal rollbar. It offers so much pent-up fury from its hibernation it will show no mercy no matter what freeways, straightways, or twisty mountain roads. You have been thoroughly warned.