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Fist of the North Starlet

Well whaddya know? This quasi retro hatch sure took me back quite a bit. It was smack bang dead center during the Escort era – the de facto ‘Mafiosi’ of the KL street scene. Remembering vividly, for the most part since the entire scenario slash episode literally formed the backdrop of my ‘infantile’ post adolescent upbringing, the Weber twin carb powered blistered flares Ford coupes were king, The non official coronation being their howling flat out blast through the balls to the walls Kuen Cheng curve (KL bound).

That KL bound Kuen Cheng bend (more like) has lost its mystical aura thereafter since the yellow stripes appeared a few foreboding meters preceding the apex, diminishing the ‘manliness’ of the testicle shrinking right turn. I must reiterate how shrunken my ‘two colonels’ became being tuck at the rear seat holding on to the arm rest for leverage. Yup safety belts for rear passenger hadn’t been thought of yet so the hopelessness was palpable for the three occupants (that’s the pale looking front passenger, my tough military college friend and me) and raw amusement for the insane driver who was grinning through it all.

Essentially that grinning Ford Escort street racer who confessed to have gotten his jollies going full on max out through a flat-out turn, as in like so, epitomized the extremities of speed ‘without containment’ (street racing a couple of decades before Vin Diesel) of the era. And sure as hell the gist of that era as per the entire mod scene subculture, had ennobled the next generation of performance-inclined machines and speed craving human elements, to go faster, more sideways with louder tire screeching noise, and more panache, with great deal of impromptu coolness. Nowadays being cool is an unwritten prerequisite with one caveat – the definition remain as undefined as ever bordering on the abstract and ‘enigmatic’.

See what twenty odd years of progress had brought about? the anal retentive obsession about being cool without having a tangible concept or even a basic idea of the term. I mean labeling something as cool don’t mean jack shit right now apart from maybe closer and closer to a beast of burden’s feces, as in bullshit. What the slightly ‘more experienced’ age group like so, offer regarding the cool factor was this: you’re either cool or uncool. Period. No extended universally applicable holistic definition for ‘cool’.

What that earlier era revolved upon was not a superficial lip service or impactful statement or metaphor whence we have a good positive vibe on certain things therein, instead it was all about having substance, the right and exacting kind. Having substance means right opposite of being shallow or superficial. Say what you will about the fashion of the era, the speed-inclined cars of the era were borne of genuine pedigree and pure class.

Genuine pedigree and pure class – pretty much the sincerest most affectionate gesture of admiration and compliment you could shower upon a ‘non-entity’ mechanized machine slashed done-up, ‘performance is the utmost priority’ automobile. I mean its’ even more so for an unassuming ‘old’ hatch with a reputation for being rapid. Indeed this one Starlet right here is all them irony and contradiction given a one-off re-working session with an exotic ‘gourmet’ ingredients.

The bulk of that gourmet recipe revolved around a 13B rotary motor sourced from the effeminate purveyor of rotary Mazda. The 13B lump gets a concoction of blown overture – Garrett AR70 turbocharger, GReddy intercooler, GReddy FIMC piping kit, Fwin aluminum radiator, custom exhaust system, custom oil cooler, HKS air filter, Samco Sport silicone hose, with a guzzling needs supplied via a Mercedes dual Bosch 304 fuel pump.

The considerably powered up, re-chipped 13B rotary motor prompted the gearbox’s stock clutch be discarded in favor of an ACT clutch, while an element from the Starlet’s superlative forebear the AE86’s rear differential gets a ‘token’ in this ‘tri factor’ powerplay. Chassis mods featured Tein adjustable shocks (with pillow ball), stopping power got the expected enhancement – RX7 FC & AE86 front & rear stoppers respectively. Toyo R888 tires are wrapped around a set of 15 inch polished black rims 8 and 9 inches wide front and back.

The slightly ‘demure’ styling was due to the distinctively retro exterior design but injected with a chic carbon fiber wing mirrors, and a couple of custom bodywork bits – wheel fenders all around plus rear roof spoiler. The special custom grey paintwork was intended to maintain the ‘blended in’ guise, only to have the bold ‘in your face’ front mounted intercooler to undo the clandestine persona.

In any case, the super Spartan interior, with Bride bucket, Nardi steering, Ralliart shift knob, all but reiterate the objective behind the Starlet’s modifications in its entirety.

Car: Toyota Starlet

Engine: Mazda Rotary 13B

Engine mods: GReddy Intercooler, FIMC GReddy piping kit, turbo AR70, Samco Sport hose, radiator Fwin Aluminum, HKS air filter, fuel pump Mercedes dual Bosch 304, custom exhaust system, oil cooler custom front

Transmission: ACT clutch, rear diff AE86

Electronics: Rechip, GReddy boost meter

Suspension/Chassis: TEIN adjustable with pillow ball

Brakes: RX7 FC (front), AE86 (rear)

Wheels & Tires: 15 inch polished black alloys 8J front 9J rear; Toyo R888 tires

Interior: Bride bucket seats, Nardi steering wheel, Ralliart gearknob

Exterior: Special custom grey paintwork, custom fender, custom spoiler, side mirror CF

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