Hoonage Classics – 1980 Toyota Starlet

I’ve featured a bunch of rear-drive, 30-year-old once-everyday cars here. Today, it’s the Toyota Starlet‘s turn. It’s one of those cars that seem to be so sought-after these days; feather-light, super-reliable Japanese RWD econobox that was never expensive to buy, run or repair. Rust hit them hard – film at eleven! – and as their numbers have dwindled, the prices of decent ones have come up, let alone good ones. There’s a whole other segment of Starlets, too; the startling Starlets that are rally-prepared with loud bits.

Today’s submission is a completely standard one, that’s been fixed here and there to keep it running and road-legal. It probably looks identical to what it looked like in 1990. Take a look.

It just looks so light in sky blue, doesn’t it? It also looks like all the usual bits have had some work done, or are awaiting for some welding. Rear arches, sills, fuel flap surround. You probably have to re-do them every five years.

There’s not a panel on the Toyota that doesn’t have rust on it, but at the same time none of the panels have excessive rust. The car’s just wearing evenly.

No worries, it’s been rust-proofed in 1981! The car also sports the correct kind of Black Horse -style covers on the blue vinyl seats.

Everything on the Toyota seems to have been designed as simple and simply replaced. The bumpers are made for bumping, but still they manage to look daintier than ones mounted on an US market car. There are proper, black metal centrepieces like on good old days, and personable round headlights.

The shape is almost Chevette-like, but size-wise it could be four-fifths scale.

There’s the 1166cc 3K engine with 55 horses. Can you imagine giving it some stick with the long, thin gearshift, sawing at the thin-rimmed steerinng wheel, listening at the tappety clatter?

Giving these photos the yellowed hue was completely purposeful, by the way. Nothing feels more like a baking hot Finnish summer day straight from my childhood than an ’80s Toyota.


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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