Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Blown Rotary Swapped: 1981 Toyota Starlet

The Toyota Starlet KP61 generation was the first and only Starlet sold in the US Market and in 1985 it was replaced by the Toyota Corolla FX-16. Unfortunately, the FX-16 that replaced it was a front drive un-fun box, but the Starlet was setup with proper rear wheel drive...not that you could tell with the 3 squirrels under the hood provided by the stock K-series engine.  Thankfully, many of the remaining Starlets you'll find have been properly upgraded with something that leaves dark streaks on the road and your underwear with equal aplomb.  Find this 1981 Toyota Starlet with 13B power offered for $13000 in New York, NY via craigslist. Tip from Art C.

From the seller:

1981 toyota starlet 
condition: like new 
drive: rwd 
fuel: gas 
paint color: custom 
title status: clean 
transmission: manual 
1981 toyota starlet
13b engine fully built
turbo, fully caged
fresh paint no rust
to much to list call for info

partial trades will be considered

See a better way to die young?


  1. Kudos for a very tidy installation under the hood. I wish it was set up for road racing, rather than drag racing. The seller calls it a race car, but that looks like a regular license plate, and it has lights and wipers, so.......... YeeHaw!

    1. That's not a regular license plate it's a Florida license plate. In Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure that you would never get away with NY plates in NY.
      "condition: like new" ???
      I'm sort of curious about the cans of race gas. Rotaries don't need high octane, Mazda famously won LeMans running 87 octane as I recall.

    2. Ah, thanks for spotting the nature of that plate. It may be to make things legal for transporting on a trailer. Up here in Canada, there used to be a rule that a car on a trailer required a plate. It was common to see race cars with some bogus plate (even a bicycle registration once, if I recall correctly) just to prevent being pulled over when heading to the track.

  2. I wonder what the 60 ft. time would be in something that light with tires that big? I have no knowledge on rotary performance, but my impression is that a high string, turbocharged race rotary is..... scary.

    1. Yeah, are rotary engines that quick off the line? The turbo obviously will make a big difference, but will there be lag in the first 60 feet? I'm guessing this thing really takes off when it gets on the far end of the track. If it's geared right, with the high-revving rotary, you probably don't have to shift out of 3rd before crossing the traps.

    2. Some lag off the line in a rotary Starlet isn't necessarily a bad thing. I've seen ones that run 12 second passes yank the front wheels two feet in the air, then do a second wheelstand when upshifting into second gear. Having the power not come on until you're past the 60' mark would probably make one of those cars slightly less terrifying to drive.


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