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Old School, New School

This is precisely what I love about the tuning scene; the idea of taking something decrepit and old and turning it into the likes of which no one has ever thought possible. The more outrageous and pointless the build seems, the better. And that is exactly what this Autobaze built KP61 Toyota Starlet puts forth: Sheer, outrageous silliness.

Many would think that it would be pointless to take something as outdated as a KP61 Starlet and spend tens of thousands of ringgit on it, but if you’re building a car to compete in the local Classic Car Race Series, it all begins to make sense. It may seem a little narcissistic, but this after all, is why we all modify our cars; to inflate our egos and separate ourselves from the crowd.

The first thing which catches your eye would probably be the massively wide arches on this car, but what really gets my heart racing is what’s under that swollen and bulging bonnet.

Powering this aged chassis is one of the best engines ever created by human hands, a 2-litre, naturally aspirated F20C taken from the much loved Honda S2000. We’ve seen F20C’s shoehorned into other cars before, such as Ah Fai’s old AE86 Goodyear drift car, but never have we seen an F20C fitted to a car which looks as outrageous as this Starlet.

The F20C remains quite stock save for a few bolt-ons, such as a Spoon throttle body, 490cc injectors, a custom fabricated air intake kit, a RS*R header, a 5Zigen muffler and a Chi Chi Vee custom fabricated exhaust system for just a little more power. As it stands, the F20C is already a very highly tuned engine and practically bombproof, which makes it ideal for racing. But, just to be on the safe side, a custom aluminium radiator replaces the standard one, along with a GReddy oil catch tank and a Spoon metal gasket to make it even more bombproof. Fine tuning the air and fuel ratios is GReddy’s E-Manage Ultimate piggyback ECU.

With these mods, the engine doesn’t put out much more power than 250bhp at the wheels, but bear in mind that the KP61’s chassis weighs in at a scant 750kg…and that’s what it weighed when it left the factory.

The superb 6-speed gearbox remains unmolested but is toughened up with the addition of an Exedy Hyper Single clutch. The gearbox is mated to a Toyota AE86 rear axle and differential, which was fitted with a full lock LSD from kAAz. Getting the propshaft to work properly was a bit of a doozy, as Autobaze had already broken two propshafts before this. They had a huge headache trying to get the propshaft to sit at the right angle so that it wouldn’t snap under pressure. Finally, a C’s short shifter replaces the standard one for crisper shift feel and shorter shift times.

The standard KP61 brakes would have melted under race conditions, so the S2000’s braking system was custom fitted to the Starlet’s hubs. To cope with the rigors of racing, the pads were upgraded to Project µ 800ºC pads. Again, because the car is so light, the stock S2000 brakes do a magnificent job of bringing the Starlet to a halt.

The massive, brightly coloured wheels are 17 inch Racing Seneka items, measuring 17×8 inches at the front and 17×9 inches at the rear. Being a race car which weighs next to nothing, the Starlet gets lots of grip from the Michelin racing slick tyres.

The downside to having an old and outdated car is that a lot of its components would have to be custom fabricated from scratch, and finding a suspension kit suitable for racing would be extremely difficult. Thankfully, Titan came to the rescue with a set of their custom made adjustable coilover kits and pillowball mounts, along with a full set of rose joints to keep the nippy Starlet safe and stable in the turns.

Open the Starlet’s lightened doors and you’ll see a brightly coloured interior (which makes it easier to spot cracks in the seams), which has been stripped clean of anything Toyota put in it about 30 years ago.

Izmi, the owner and driver of this fine machine, pilots his racer from the relative comfort and safety of a Bride Gardis III bucket seat and a Sparco 4-point harness. He steers with a grippy OMP Corsica steering wheel while shifting gears with an OMP gearknob and is kept safe and sound with the custom made rollcage. Sharing cabin space with Izmi in his Starlet are a pair of Walbro external fuel pumps, a 40-litre racing fuel cell and a MSD Racepak lap timer and tachometer.

The Starlet is transformed from boring to outrageous with the Merican designed widebody kit. The fat fenders are made from metal, not fiberglass, which makes the bodykit so much more desirable. Finishing off the exterior mods are the roof scoop and the whale tail TRD spoiler.

It’s cars like these which make me love my job. Taking something old school and infusing it with new school parts and technology titillates me like seeing Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox lying bare-naked on a bed with a jar of honey. It’s cars like these which truly show the ingenuity and creativity a car builder has, and it’s a damn crying shame that builds like these are one-in-a-million.

Car: KP61 Toyota Starlet
Engine: F20C 2-litre, 4-cylinder, DOHC VTEC
Engine modifications: Custom air intake kit, RS*R header, Chi Chi Vee exhaust system, 5Zigen muffler, Spoon throttle body, Spoon head gasket, 490cc injectors, custom radiator, GReddy oil catch tank, dual Walbro 255 lph external fuel pumps, 40-litre racing fuel cell
Transmission: Standard 6-speed manual, Exedy Hyper Single clutch kit, Toyota AE86 rear differential with 4.3 final drive ratop, full lock kAAz LSD, C’s short throw shifter
Suspension/Chassis: Titan coilovers with pillowball mounts and rose joints
Brakes: Honda S2000 braking system, Project µ 800ºC pads
Wheels & Tyres: Racing Seneka wheels (17×8 inches front, 17×9 inches rear), Michelin racing slick tyres
Electronics: GReddy E-Manage Ultimate, MSD Racepak dash display
Interior: Stripped interior, custom rollcage, Bride Gardis III bucket seat, Sparco 4-point harness, OMP Corsica steering wheel, OMP gearknob
Exterior: Merican designed widebody kit, TRD spoiler
Tuner: Autobaze – 016-220 9797 (Rafiq), 016-332 9797 (Yaya)

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