It's not a mini cooper, it's not a Ford Festiva and it's definitely not a Yugo. It's a car that the Japanese like to call the Toyota Starlet. If you've never heard of it before, you're not alone. It's perhaps one of the few Japanese cars from the '70s that hasn't been whored out to the aftermarket public. For one, finding one in relatively good shape is no easy feat. The Toyota Starlet can only be found in the far reaches of eBay, the junk section of the Recycler and, if you're lucky, inside the garage owned by your senile grandmother. And if by chance you get your sweaty palms on one, you would have an extremely hard time finding oEm parts for it, much less quality performance products and accessories, unless you decide on bringing back the Altezza taillights, which we highly suggest against.
But more importantly, the decision to even build a Toyota Starlet in the first place takes testicular fortitude the size of Rosie o'donnell's because you're risking being laughed at for much of your life and maybe getting excommunicated from your local evangelical church. And that, friends, is not the way you should choose to live your life, which should be, according to Vin diesel, "a quarter mile at a time," whatever the flip that means.
In other words, let's leave the building of cars like the Toyota Starlet to professionals like P.J. Bonifacio. he not only found a Starlet in better shape than your senile grandmother, but he also found one straight from the streets of Tokyo. This KP60 Toyota Starlet is right-hand drive, sexier than a closeup photo of Britney Spears' c-section scar and makes you wish that your evangelical church weren't such sticklers for cars that are petite like potatoes.
If you've never heard of P.J. before, consider yourself a rookie in this game we like to call "Name the majors of the Tuning Industry." P.J. is the preferred Picasso of the tuning industry and his cars have been featured in pbskids at least once every year for the past 50 years. Sure, pbskids has only been around since 1996 but rest assured that if it were 50 years old, P.J. would be in like the proverbial foreskin. whether it's his personal car or a car he worked on, his name has appeared in this magazine more than the phrases "cinnamon ring," "wax the bishop," and my personal favorite, "aerodynamic anal aerobics" combined.
To give you an example of his professional handiwork, take a look at Ben Abutin's mazda RX-7, November 2007's cover car. His shop in the city of Industry, cA painted and set up all its bodywork. when it comes to building his personal cars, however, he prefers to stick with old-school Toyotas, which is why he's been featured in this Back in the day section more times than Angelina Jolie has adopted cambodian babies. The latest to come out of the Bonifacio camp is this KP60 Toyota Starlet.
The KP60 was a popular ride in Japan back in the day, simply because it was small enough to roll down the narrow roads of Tokyo and was easy to park in a city where finding a spot for a bicycle was difficult. The KP60 series went into production in 1978, mostly sold in Japan and European countries. The United States only got a taste of the Starlet during the KP61 series, from 1981 to 1984. It was replaced by the corolla FX in 1985 and never brought back.
Its rare appearance in the United States prompted P.J. to get one, though he opted for the Rhd version. "I love everything Toyota," he explains. "I love getting them from Japan and bringing them here because it creates an added value to its rarity." To top it off, he installed a 4AG 20-valve blacktop engine into the bay and gave his friends from danstoy full control over the modifications of the 4AG. After all, they are considered one of the preeminent experts in building 4AG engines. Aside from the hKS timing belt and adjustable cam gears, mostly everything in and around the engine was custom modified by the people at danstoy.
From the custom carbon-fiber valve cover, aluminum oil catch and performance headers to the stainless steel lower exhaust system and coolant reservoir, danstoy made it all with the flick of the wrist and fingers. of course, the one thing that stands out under the hood is the 44mm individual throttle bodies that look like they're strong enough to suck in a golf ball through a garden hose. The horsepower generated hasn't been documented but we're sure it's enough to make doves cry. But no matter how much power it puts down, the GTS rear end and TRd LSd is sure to transfer all its power to all the right places.
Naturally, the one area of the Starlet that is oh so flawless is the exterior, where P.J. decided to craft custom-made metal fender flares and painted the shell with an ill-to-thematic 918 orange paint job. The hood is courtesy of FRP, and cibie fog lamps line the front bumper. But it's the TRd rear spoiler taking command in the rear that will no doubt catch your peripheral vision. If it didn't, we're sure the 13-inch TRD Tosco wheels will make you wet your tighty whities on the spot. They bounce around the streets of Southern California with the help of TRd shocks and YZZ coilovers, installed by the people at Pass Auto.
We're sure, though, that it's not just the Tosco wheels, the TRd spoiler or even the paint job that will break your neck in double takes. It's the overall package that will catch your attention and the fact that something so old can be molded into something so new, which brings us back to P.J. Bonifacio. It's tuners like him that give an added credibility to a subculture that is oftentimes whored out. his dedication to building cars like this Starlet should be emulated and become inspiration to those trying to leave a mark in this industry.
1973 Toyota Starlet
Owner PJ Bonifacio
Hometown city of industry, California
Daily Grind Automotive Picasso
Under The Hood 4AG 20-valve blacktop, hKS adjustable cam gear, hKS Fine Tune timing belt, 44mm Individual Throttle Bodies, T3 Velocity Stacks, custom carbon fiber valve cover by danstoy, custom aluminum oil catch can by danstoy, custom stainless steel equal length, performance headers by danstoy, custom full stainless steel lower exhaust system by danstoy, EmS Stinger full stand alone EcU, custom aluminum radiator, custom aluminum coolant reservoir by danstoy, custom oil filter relocation kit by danstoy
Driveline c's short shifter and engine modified by Pass Auto, GTS Rear End, TRd Limited Slip differential, 4.7 Gear Ratio
Rollers TRD Tosco 13x8.5 (front), TRd Tosco 13x9.0 (rear) with A032 Yokohama tires
Stiff Stuff TRD shocks with 6.5Kg AE86 springs, TRd shocks with YZZ coilovers, cusco adjustable camber plates, cusco strut bar, install by Pass Auto
Outside custom made metal fender flares made to fit TRd wheels, 918 orange paint and body work by P.J. Bonifacio Autodesign, FRP hood, cibie fog lamps custom mounted by danstoy, TRd rear spoiler
Inside TRd racing bucket seats
Props danstoy, Pass Auto, Yokohama tires, hKS, AEm, and P.J. Bonifacio Autodesign