Little Gem: 1981 Toyota Starlet

The Starlet was a rear-wheel drive subcompact car offered by Toyota from 1978-1984. The KP61 Starlet was the only Starlet ever offered in the U.S.

These would be Ford Fiesta terriotory were it not for power being directed to the rear wheels, which is pretty cool. This was before the global auto industry colluded to make the majority of their cars with inferior (and cheaper) front-wheel drive.

Styling is classic early 80s Rising Sun. No space is wasted. The shape uses as little metal as possible to lower production costs and weight and heighten fuel efficiency. The aftermarket matte black flared fenders and black center alloys are very cool and tasteful.

Speaking of efficiency, the seller says they purchased it in 2007 from a Japanese businessman living in the U.S. who used it as his daily driver. I love frugal Japanese businessmen.

The seller says they have since used it as a daily driver themselves, but have added a whole host of practical upgrades.

A bunch of flaws are also listed. This car is far from perfect. It wears a peeling low-grade re-spray, and has rust.

That said, they seem to imply the car is running and driving. It also has the stock Starlet engine, a plus or a minus depending on your need for speed.

I think the car really deserves a thorough restoration.

Find it here on ebay in Long Beach, California.

1 comment:

  1. Good call, Sam. This little car deserves to be born again. Fix the little bit of rust and dents, repaint, carpet, rehab the engine a bit, and go have fun.

    Unfortunately, the RWD tends to appeal to a group that tend to mod and abuse them. Looks like either the current or prior owner may have been starting to head down that path already, but the mods so far are still very complementary and tasteful.

    Seems to be a bit of a mileage descrepancy though. Listing say 159K, but AutoCheck says 218K. For a $2500 starting bid, I'd want to explore the car's condition and history a bit more.