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Snoozin's 1981 Toyota Starlet KP61.


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And here she is... the much vaunted 1981 Toyota Starlet KP61 Lisse (a spec level I assume, from what I can gather she was the top-spec KP61 in it's day!). Known colloquially (at our place at least!) as the KPimp.

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So there she be.... all $490 dollars worth of cult-classic Jap RWD Econohatch. Motovation is provided by the perennial 4K pushrod engine, in the case of the KPimp it's a 4K-U, U being the designation for Jap emissions package... however this is also the most powerful of the carbied 4K engines with a reputed 74hp. Due mostly I would think to the heron-head combustion chamber design, the higher compression and so forth... the 4K-U also has a stronger bottom end (or so I read) than garden variety 4K's. Soon to receive a freer flowing exhaust courtesy of a parts car I've scored. She runs a very sweet K40 gearbox, great for round town work, sadly not-so-great for open road stuff as it's noisy and generally crap.

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Inside the KPimp showcases the very feature's that contribute to it's name... the rich, enveloping white velour/vinyl and maroon interior. Truly this is the interior of the kings... albeit with added dirt from years of ferrying round Joe and Jolene average in the course of their daily chores. Unfortunately 1981's idea of an audio system is not by any means acceptable.... the only acceptable facet of said audio is that EVERY (yes... all 5! 5 presets!) preset is tuned into Radio Hauraki. Classic rock hard. Note the brushed alumnium trim on the dash - now we know where Audi got the idea's for the TT from... GO TOYOTA! Steering is controlled via a premium public-transport issue steering wheel, which at some point will also be binned in favour of something less crap. A tacho is also an addition I think I will require, to allow me to keep tabs on the fearsome 4K lest it slip from it's incredibly narrow powerband (I am yet to find said powerband, someone once told me it was actually there..... somewhere!).

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And here she is showing off here insides... filthy wee thing.

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So.... what are my plans for this, the pinnacle of Toyota's automotive prowess? Well, to begin with, I'm sorting out a basic (read: cheap but reasonably effective) sound system.

The source unit will be (sale pending) Pioneer DEH-P6450, which my flatmate is kindly selling me for $100. This will send musics to my recently acquired Audison VR404 amp (4x45wrms), which I also acquired for $100. No LP or HP filter though so an electronic crossover will be in order... I can sort that cheaply from Jaycar with my super-excellent rates! I ideally want to run components in the front, so I've got my peepers peeled for something cheapish and half-decent quality... probably actually going to go for a set of the Jaycar kevlar coned 6.5" comp's unless anyone has any particularly bad news about them!

As for rolling stock, I already have a couple of options open to me... what, did ya think I was going to run around looking stock??? I just bought a set of SSR Mark I 14x7" rims off Trademe, ($100... there's a pattern emerging here) one of the earlier Jap 2 piece rims, stupidly light and very period! The parts car also came with a set of 13x6" Cheviot US800's... which are a tad bogan looking for me, but at least they've got tyres.

Anyways, that's the intro, I'll keep this updated with any progress! The best thing is, I'm not putting k's on the Alfa any more!

Cheers, and thanks for reading!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Rightio then, time for an update, albeit minor!

Added the fender mirrors, and I'm pretty damn happy with the result:

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Here's a couple of closeups in succulent sepia toned piccies....

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And this is what it looks like when you're in the drivers seat...

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AAAAANNNDD.... my SSR's arrived! Weren't 14x7's as described by the seller, so I'm a little disappointed on that account, but nonetheless they're in good condition, with the usual nicks and a few minor scrapes you'd expect on what is probably a 30 year old wheel. Only problem now is I have to find some suitable shank and washer wheel nuts, and all the tyre places want about $95 bucks for a set....

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And because I can't photoshop and can't be assed learning, here's a glimpse into the KPimp's potential future....

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More to come folks!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well.... yesterday we had another eventful day with KP's.... I finally picked up the free facelift KP61 off a mate of mine, ripe for deconstruction! Bit of a background story... he bought it 3 years ago hoping to make something of it, in the end it sat on his lawn for 3 years...

Here it is arriving on the car trailer...

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As you can see, it has a set of US800's.... 13x6" to be exact, and all of them in fantastic condition, only very minor kerbing on one of them. Tyres are shot, but I have some sussed so I'll bung the wheels on the KPimp for a spell to see how she looks, then I'll sell them... if any of your are interested make me a sensible offer (they'll have WOFable tyres on them!)

So we set about stripping it....

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Chucked it up on axle stands, and removed the 3K... yes, a 3K. The chassis plate said KP61R, indicating it originally had a 4K, but this one sadly had a 3K and a K40... along with the original 4K the car would have had a K50 as it was a Sprint. Found out it had extractors and a 2" exhaust system in savable condition... so those will be finding their way onto the KPimp in the near future, once I've tidied them up a bit and welded flanges onto various spots so you can actually take it apart to fit to the car, as opposed to taking the car apart to fit it!!!

And we ended up with this...

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Chucked some 12" Starlet rims on it, and she's ready to roll! We're storing the shell, as it's 99.9% rust free, me and a friend have plans to build a race car from it at some stage, so there might be another project on the go one day.... keep tuned!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Aaaaannnd we have an update!!!!!

Well, something else the wreck yielded was a set of extractors, and a 2" exhaust, complete with resonator, muffler and a big shiny tip. Kinda ugly tip but it'l do for the time being, this is a budget build after all! They cleaned up nicely with a couple of hours worth of sanding, and a can of grey high temp paint.

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Another few items I acquired on Saturday:

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Along with these Jap market grilles from the wreckers, I also scored a cheap 2" tacho, so thats all wired up, and I've managed to make the little 4K spin to a very buzzy 6500rpm..... Of the 2 grilles, I used the bottom one as I prefer the badge, and I also scored a new boot badge as mine was cracked and perished.

Then I decided it was time to fit the mags. I needed rubber... so I cunningly acquired a free 1983 Honda Accord (used to be my girlfriends car, but long story....) which had 2 good tyres on it. Removed said tyres and sold the car for $120, to fund further developments on this car. Got another couple of good tyres off Paul's steel Datsun rims, and off we go! Once the tyres were finished I spent a bit of time with a tube of Autosol and a bundle of rags, polishing off the oxidisation left by 3 years of sitting out in the weather without attention..... result = NICE AND SHINY!!! (For US800's anyway)

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So, I'm currently running around as you see it here, next step is to sell the US800's (any idea what sort of money I could get for them guys.... I'm hoping $250 - $300 with tyres) and fund new rubber for the SSR's, and get those suckers bolted on!

Stay tuned!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Woohoo! Update time! I have new toys :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

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King's and Monroe shocks obtained at excellent prices.... and associated spring compressor and wheelnuts, also the product of some crafty hookups. Like I'd pay retail for anything.

And what a few of you have been waiting for, the SSR's are ready to rock. Got the holes in them drilled out a tad larger, and recesses machined in them to suit the shank and washer wheelnuts. Flush fitting, mmmmm..... Tyre's were criminally cheap.

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Sneak peek.... watch this space!

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All the bouncy crud is set to be installed this weekend, wheels and tres will be fitted following a wheel alignment next week (FREE!!!!!!!!)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ok.... more stuff!!!

Slaved away installing the new suspension 2 weeks ago... daaaaaayyyaam she's a totally new car now! Stops better, doesn't pitch and wallow through corners, turns in crisper..... definitely money well spent. Rims are also on, and with the wider 185's it holds the road much more keenly.

Here's a few pics from the shed.....

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Haven't yet got any with the rims on it, I plan to take some over the Christmas break when I can properly clean the wee beast and have it looking spiffing! Also the rear sits a bit higher than the front, so the rears will be removed and compressed in the not too distant future to enable it to sit level with the front (and lower!). I figure I've uprated the spring rate as it is, so it shouldn't casue any untoward handling or spring rate issues that can be encountered when compressing a standard set of coils.

And this week, the audio has come together - I'm a music fanatic so it's only fitting that the KP has some quality sounds - albeit at a shoestring budget!!! Once again - success on the budget front. Heading up the system is a Pioneer DEH-P6450 CD player ($100), an older unit but still capable. This in turn feeds it's signals to an Audison VR404 4ch amp ($120), (4x45wrms or 2x135wrms bridged). I plan to use this initially to run the pair of Digital Designs DDC 6.2 component speakers ($200) from the front channels, and to bridge the remaining two to provide 135wrms to the DLS W310B sub ($140) for which I plan to cram into a 1cu. ft ported box, as per the manufacturers recommendations. Fibreglass pods will also be sculptured to house the components in the front doors, or possibly the kick panels, I haven't decided yet!

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So that's the current update - total costs are currently sitting at a smidgeon over $1900, I have also purchased a period style MOMO steering wheel, date stamped for 1981 (strikingly similar to a Nardi so preferred by the drift set!) and a bosskit to suit, so I'll throw up pics of those and the new (also period style) tacho I have also bunged in there.

Enjoy :)

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  • 3 months later...

Brief update.... I haven't been neglecting this car, it made it to Palmy from Chch loaded to the gunnels with my crap :P

Exhaust and extractors have been fitted, it's a bit loud now, however sounds like no other K series I've heard, has this gutsy deep note up til about 4000rpm where it gets a nice rasp going.

I have acquired a rot-free hatch, and two absolutely perfect front doors for the beast, all for $130 just before I left Chch.

A K50 is sitting here all ready for use, I'm in the process of sorting out a 3.9:1 ratio diff for it (which, I suspect is U code) however WDE BDY has informed me on Club K that I need to shorten my existing driveshaft or source one from a Starlet with a U-code diff.

Also bought a set of old ROH 13" wheels, same as Escorta's off TradeMe for $76 bucks.... at first they looked like $20 worth of wheels, I've polished 2 of them and they're looking new, super shiny after treatment with a rubbing compound, fine steel wool then Autosol to finish.

I have a tacho dash from a Jap import KP61 S model to install, also acquired a set of KP61 S yellow fog lamps for it, my one obviously USED to have the lamps though, as I have the switch in the dash and wiring which is suspiciously similar to the wiring supplied with the lights! All adds to the Japanese look I'm aiming for.

Panelwork will be happening in a couple of months all going well, going for a factory red with a few coats of clear to bring it up nice.

I just realised I haven't posted pics of it with the SSR's or the steering wheel on it yet either, one day I'll get round to it.

However..... things are happening, watch this space.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

The donor has arrived!!!

Thanks to a tip off from CaM I scored this stunning piece of automotive engineering for a sweet $80, basically I bought a 5K engine with a Liteace attached. Going by the torque the beast had, it should be freakin sweet once the motor's in the KP, especially with the shorter diff ratio!

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Well.... my first proper update in a long while. The car has been stripped of all it's bits and pieces, has had the replacement few panels dummy fitted, and is ready to begin panelling. I was absolutely astounded at how rust free the shell is, even beneath the screen it is like new, the only rust of note is below the bonnet, just beneath the scuttle panel where the water drains through! So without futher ado, some pics!

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Fantastic showcases of the sublime brown and blue replacement bits to replace the rusty/dented ones!

And some detail shots of what should have been problem areas!

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O/S A pillar

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N/S A pillar

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And the nasty bit....

All in all, pretty good I thought... hopefully we'll have an update towards the weeks end.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Righto, seeing as it's kind of relevant more to this build, and not a project in it's own right, I bought this as a runabout/parts hauler for while the KP was off the road!

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It's the funniest thing to thrash around the place, I actually drove the very same one as a company vehicle when I worked for the previous owners about 5 years ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well then, I have the KP back in my possession, and it's not looking too bad even if I do say so myself.

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The colour is pretty much a match for the original, it's a fairly interesting shade of red really, kind of pale-ish, but not an orange-red... looks great when the sun hits it.

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All the little shopping trolley dents are gone, and she's now straight as.

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So now the reassembly begins, a couple of parts around the car have a bit of overspray on them which is a little bit annoying, should be able to cut it off without too much difficulty however.

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  • 2 weeks later...

And she's all together :D Took probably about 18 hours in total to get it all together, compared to reassembling the Alfa the KP was an absolute doddle to complete!

Managed to scrounge a RHS headlight surround, as it was the only piece I needed to get it all back together, so I went for a bit of a hoon to take a few shots and generally get back into the swing of driving (CANING!) the little weapon!

Enjoy!

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I also got the mirrors sprayed in the same satin black as the window frames and B-pillars, looks a zillion times better IMO.

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The shiny paint also offsets the bling headlights a lot better as well, so at the end of the day, I'm pretty bloody happy with how it all turned out. There are a couple of runs I have to get fixed up, but they're in accessible places and the painter reckons he'll sort them without any troubles.

And a crap photo from the driving part of today:

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Just took a few quick shots of all the random crap I've collected, some of it will end up on the KP and some of it is destined to gather dust on the shelf:

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- MOMO Gille Villeneuve steering wheel (stamped 1981, same year as car 8))

- JAF badges of varying vintages, including one brand new one

- bizarre Japanese gearknob, clear acrylic with dried flowers inside (6" tall)

- Japanese plates, correct class of vehicle, for Chiba prefecture

- a flare to bung in the flare holder on the drivers side

- JAF membership sticker, and reproduction JAF 20yr membership sticker

- AA badge dating from late 1970's

- original TOYOTA STARLET badge

- 'bugeye' Starlet script style badges, I far prefer these so they'll likely end up on the car

- John Rush Toyota "Sprinter Power Kit" badges dating from early 80's

And I've also been collecting KP brochures:

These first 3 are NZ market KP60, 62 and 61 brochures

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And I've also been buying the odd brochure for the Jap market cars off Yahoo Auctions Japan:

KP40 from 1975 - 1976

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KP61 of varying vintages (1979 - 1984)

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That white guy in the last one is Ove Andersson, who ran the TTE Rally program for quite some time.

So yeah.... I errr, like Starlets. :oops:

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  • 1 month later...

So I got some Streetfins after looking for months and months for em... 14x6.5" zero offset, which made me quite happy when I picked them up.

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But they stick out a bit too much on the front, about an inch protrudes from the guards, which pissed me off.... so I need to try and make them fit. Somehow.

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  • 5 months later...

So yeah, never put those fins on it.....

This is what it looks like nowadays, pics taken at Nats so the cars looking like shit after being driven up to Taupo on rotten wet roads.... road film ftl.

SSR Bright Speed 14x6.5 (offset is somewhere around +7) running 175/60/14's. I like them. Quite a lot.

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Also bought a parts thing.... some pics:

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Yes I know it needs lowering, but to do it the way I want is looking like a cunt of an idea and I am rapidly getting to the "whats the point" stage with the thing. Am currently being real indecisive about what to do with it.... so far it's been a huge waste of money and I'm really apprehensive about wasting even more on it... it owes me a smidge under 5k and I haven't really got a lot to show for it.

Thought of a minor plan for it... throw 5K in as is, perhaps with a mild cam grind and a rejetted Weber DGAV, headers etc, clean engine bay up to exterior standard with a little bit of polishing here and there, back it with the K50 and the 4.1 diff I've got.... ergh.

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