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Sticks And Stones

A record is a black disc with grooves that plays music with the use of a hand cranked Gramophone. Before the LP or Long Play, records are made of an abrasive shellac compound, its larger grooves and higher playing speeds of 78RPM can only play music for only 5 minutes on both sides.

In the late 40’s the LP record was developed and was then made out of vinyl, a material that is much finer in comparison that allows the possibility to have finer grooves to be ‘cut’ on its surface. The 12” then is able to store up to 40 minutes worth of music combined from both sides of the LP and it is one of the longest lasting form of music storage that has even survived in this digital age.

The car equivalent of the LP record is a front engine, rear wheel drive car with no power-assisted steering wheel with a manual transmission. That in fact, most manufacturers at the time do not offer automatic transmissions. Toyota’s KP61 Starlet is a sub-compact car that is build upon this foundation.

Much like the Toyota KE70 Corolla, the KP61 Starlet is another people’s choice across the globe. Like its bigger brother KE70, the KP61 is a front-engine rear-wheel-drive platform albeit packaged in a smaller, lighter hatchback body.


To have an understanding of its versatility we’ll have a look at its portfolio. Most notably the KP60s and KP61s are famed for participating in the Japanese TS Cup series against the Datsun Sunnys, as well as various circuit events both grassroots and professional. Its lightweight, small body, and short wheelbase makes it an ideal application for most motorsports, such has gymkhana and rally. Being able to accept a variety of engine swaps has also made it popular for drag racing and drifting.

Fawster is renowned for their racecar developments and participation in motorsports, so when we heard about a KP61 Starlet they were building we were pretty excited about it. It’s the last generation KP61 starlet that was made 30 years ago in 1984.

Its unmistakable exterior design makes this car a one of a kind. Its bright orange exterior with its TRD replica over-fenders, front spoiler, and an external oil cooler, suggests that this was not its grocery getter past with New Kids On The Block’s “Step By Step” playing through its speakers at some point of its life.


And this Starlet is definitely living its new life. Under its sheet aluminium bonnet, lies a 4A-GE 16 Valve engine with an old-school DCOE 40 twin Weber carburettor setup that is attached with a TRD intake manifold with 4 beautifully polished velocity stacks. The intake side of the head is ported and polished to allow smoother airflow into the 4A-GE combustion chambers.
Pressing down all of its 16 valves in a timed sequence is a pair of HKS high cams, with an aggressive 288° angle retard on the intake, and 272° on the exhaust side. Exhaust gasses is channelled via a custom 4-to-1 stainless steel extractor, and out from a custom made 3-inch twin pipe muffler.

The 4A engine is screwed together with a 5-Speed T50 manual gearbox, that has the good suitable for full commitment track and race days. Its clutch is a 3-puck Exedy clutch assembly, which is much suitable for heavy engine builds. The clutch is in contact with a Toda flywheel that sends power to the rear wheels. At the rear end, the differential box houses a 1.5-way LSD with a 4.1 ratio final drive.


The Starlet’s sporting capabilities has recently has been taken notice by car enthusiasts around the world with videos of the little rear wheel drive car drifting around bends. And little was known that the car was advertised in Japan with the endorsement of the late Swedish ex-rally driver, Ove Andersson.

Car: 1984 Toyota Starlet KP61

Engine: 4A-GE 16-valve “blue top”, twin Weber DCOE 40, TRD intake manifold, polished velocity stacks, port and polished head, HKS highcams (288° intake, 272° exhaust), custom stainless steel extractor 4-1, 2-inch stainless steel piping with custom 3-inch twin pipe muffler, custom aluminium 2-layer radiator, oil cooler, Carter high volume low pressure fuel pump, Malpassi fuel regulator

Electronics: Apexi turbo timer, Works oil press and water temp, push-start button

Transmission: 5-speed T50 manual gearbox, 3 puck Exedy clutch assembly, Toda flywheel, 1.5-way LSD, final drive 4.1

Chassis & Handling: HWL AE86 Hi-Lo adjustable

Brakes: AE86 caliper with ventilated rotors, Project Mu brake pads, full steel braided hose

Wheels & Tyres: Rota Shakoton 15×9jj offset -15, Toyo Proxes T1R 195/50R15

Interior: Bride Low Max carbon kevlar semi bucket seats, Nardi steering wheel

Exterior: Custom aluminium front lip and fender flares, TRD replica spoiler, custom front hood, bullet-type fender mirrors, Toyota Corolla tail lamps

Garage: Fawster Motorsports