I Caught You Sleeping: A 440hp Starlet

When you’ve got something to shout about, it must be very hard to keep quiet. Restraint is one those things we see less and less of in today’s celebrity obsessed culture. If you’ve got it, tell everybody on Facebook, put a picture on Instagram and tweet the hell out of it. Or not in this case…

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (4 of 17)

It was the registration plate I noticed first on this ’82 Toyota Starlet, as it rang a bell. I’d seen it before but I wasn’t sure where… I was instantly reminded when I saw the Cosworth YB motor in the engine bay though: it was from a forum a few years back when it was for sale as a complete car.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (1 of 17)

Looking up over the raised bonnet I then saw the owner, Ben Birch, who used to work in the UK car mag scene. Small world, huh? I can remember at the time thinking it must be a crazy package: a 200hp-plus Cosworth engine in a car that weighs roughly 750kg.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (7 of 17)

I also liked that it looked stock with the factory body work and full trim. By modern standards the mildly-wide 13×7-inch Minilite wheels are tiny, so not even they can give a true clue as to how potent this Toyota is.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (12 of 17)

Since Ben bought the Starlet in 2012 it’s been stripped back to a bare shell and fully rebuilt. He was very complimentary about the original conversion, but added that everything else needed bringing up to the same high standard.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (3 of 17)

The engine was stripped, refreshed and re-mapped. The standard figures are long gone and the 2.0-litre YB engine now puts out 440hp and a massive 430lb-ft of torque. That’s a T36 turbo hanging off the side and there are air injectors in the mix too. It’s a stout package, but one that’s not about to grenade itself thanks to massive boost or eight injectors and 700hp.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (10 of 17)

So what’s it like to drive? Surely it tries to kill you every time you bury your right foot? Ben smiled and told me, “it’s properly lairy”. That’s British for ‘I like a fight’. In a straight line you’ll be alright if you hold on, but anything less and it’s going to wag its tail like a hungry dog at dinner time.

Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (14 of 17)

I’m so glad I stumbled across this Starlet at Players Classic. I’m fairly sure a large proportion of people would have walked on by, maybe noting the engine but having little clue as to how incredibly clean or subtle the whole package is. And that’s the beauty of a proper sleeper – you just never know when there’s one right next to you.

Yup, this is a Japanese wrapper with some British filling that I can get right behind.

Bryn Musselwhite
Instragram: Twospeedbryn
bryn@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (2 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (6 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (8 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (11 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (15 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (16 of 17)
Cosworth Toyota Starlet KP61 Players Classic (17 of 17)
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43 comments

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1

is it FWD? If thats a 4cyl with those kinds of numbers, I hope the engine internals are very very strong and capable of handling the power, I'm guessing they are, and that his gearbox is up to the task too. Nice to see a Cossy swap too rather than the LS v8 that gets done a lot. It's a lot of torque too and he must be a skilled driver and only lets friends/family who are up to the task of handling that kind of power drive it. 

I like the styling too, very original and clean, all signs of aging seem to be dealt with and he's kept the wheels period correct. A very nice build.

2
Speedhunters_Bryn

John Key NZ Hi John, it's a RWD platform as standard and now too. The Cosworth YB engine is a four cylinder and this one has been thoroughly uprated. I'm not sure Ben lets anybody else drive it!

3

Oomph... A proper engine NOT in a Fiestaa for once. Really nice little weapon.

4

That is bad ass.

5
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner
6

Very nice rocket hothatch <3

What's the purpose of the small lever in the transmission tunnel area ?
http://www.speedhunters.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Cosworth-Toyota-Starlet-KP61-Players-Classic-11-of-17-800x533.jpg

7

the lever is a brake bias adjuster, front to rear I believe, can probably be used as a brake line lock too for burnouts

8

Bryn, thanks for the lovely pictures as you always manage to capture, and the opportunity to have a Spotlight in the first place. I was very flattered, as there's still plenty I want to do to the car to make it perfect, despite me already having sweated through nut and bolt restoring it!
As Bryn has said, the KP Starlets were originally RWD - my car keeps that platform. Starlets were raced heavily in the UK on the oval circuits, against RWD Escorts, Anglias etc. and an easy swap into the Starlet was a RWD Escort running gear (2-litre Pinto 4-cyl engine, axle, gearbox etc). My car simply takes that Ford family interchangability to the next stage... The Cosworth YB is an evolution of the 2-litre Ford Pinto for example. The box is a Mustang / Sierra Cosworth T5... it may be strained in a bigger car at this power and torque level, but the Starlet is so light (850kg actually Bryn), that the transmission isn't struggling.. yet!
It is 414bhp rather than 440 though... my Norf London accent to blame Bryn!
And yes, the lever you can see on the trans tunnel is a line lock - it locks the front brakes whilst stationary in order to burnout / play silly buggers much to my fiancés chagrin!
Ben

9

If anyone is interested, the fantastic restoration was completed by Xtreme Restorations in Sussex -

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Xtreme-Restorations/152066921499036

10

Had always wondered what Xtreme did as I drive past there quite regularly on the way to the other halfs parents in Billingshurst, must get up there and have a nose about at some point, love the car Ben, top work, takes the oval hot-rod theory and ramps it up all the way to 11

11

Thanks, much appreciated very humbled by the nice comments : ) JD and Trevor at Xtreme are lovely guys they've just finished an in and out paintjob plus several body tweaks on an amazing Cossie-powered Focus too.

12
Speedhunters_Bryn

@Ben Birch Pleasure, glad you like them. Remember what I said about them never being finished? Haha! Sorry about the power and weight inaccuracies, it makes search engines suspicious of the article if we change the title after publishing, so it'll just have to stay now ;)
There was a comment left saying it was a line lock, but it seems to have been removed in the editing process. Would be good to see it in action some time, cheers.

13
Speedhunters_Bryn

mk4 lew Yes it is.

14
Speedhunters_Bryn

Putsteelsonit To be fair I don't think I'll get tired of seeing them in any car!

15

@Ben Birch thanks for your replay, what a beautiful car you've made ;)

16

@BenBirch 
Unvbelievable, they're a few hundred metres from my house and i had no idea what they did!

17

LOVE this! Seriously.

18

Great car.I remember ben posting a few pics on passion ford a while ago before it was re painted,it looked great before.
Its what a sleeper should be!!!!!!!!!!!!

19

Absolutely awesome.  Love a well executed sleeper.  Can't help but thinking a high strung N/A with a nice set of ITB's would maybe sound more correct for something of this vintage.  Awesome either way.  Very nicely done.  :thumbsup:

20

I remember people in japan use to drop 4AG engines with solex carbs in them. I think you also had to use a distributor from another engine or car and of course a shorten drive shaft. Those cars were crazy drifting.

21

Thanks all : )

RedWhine... I have contemplated an S2000 engine on ITB's etc, and agree would really suit the car... but as soon as the boost gauge whips around I forget all about that idea!! I also love the NZ and Puerto Rican drag Starlets with rotaries, MEGA!

TurboM, thank you - the car was tidy but not immaculate, and deserved to be hence the hard graft by various companies and I in getting the details right. The paint now is on another level, thanks to the company already mentioned... just hope I can keep it pointing in the right direction : /

22

Ben birch of performance ford and the Jordan yellow formula ford?

23

Beautiful build. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

24

I cannot believe how clean that car is. Forget about the 440hp; it's like a museum piece!

25

Thanks Corey, still far from perfect in my eyes but comments like that make all the hard work worthwhile and give me the impetus to keep improving.
Skunkworks - I used to edit performance ford and launched retro ford, but it was my colleague keith wood on performance ford who was the owner-driver of the yellow ff

27
Slappy_Pistons

Love the detail, right down to the original dealer sticker.  Tiny wheelbase, big power, and rear wheel drive is certainly a recipe for the bold.

28
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Yup
Cossie in ANY car = Instant Sweeeeeet!

29
Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Yup
Cossie in ANY car = Instant Sweeeeeet!

30

WoW !!! Fantastic build

31

I love it. I'm glad that Bryn has found other cars to shoot, I mean except Phantom's , 911's and Continental's.

32

Love sleepers!!!!

33
OrfeasChristodoulou

At last a KP60!And it's soooooooo spot on!amazing job!

34

what a beastly little bastard that thing is.. the purist in me is sad about the choice of powerplant though..

35

@Ben Birch what spec is the engine

36

Absolutely love this

37

Junk, bruvs. Biff.

38

Changed somewhat since I last saw it,bought this car from an elderly lady in 2003 who had it from new.Dave c

39

Paint and bodywork carried out by xtreme restorations in sussex. Check out our facebook page!
https://m.facebook.com/pages/Xtreme-Restorations/152066921499036

40

MAxium YB  Hi - it is currently a standard 2wd 205 block engine, standard compression standard head / ports etc. Uprated head gasket, billet T36 turbo, L8 Weber ECU, air injector boost control, Siemens 55lb/hr injectors, Group A coil, 4x4 inlet plenum and throttle body, PF09 TPS, RS500 sized intercooler and rad, Kent AB07 inlet cam, 4x4 exhaust manifold, Bosch 044 fuel pump and a Bosch 2wd Cosworth fuel pump as a lift pump from the swirl pot.

It is working very well currently, but I am sure it will need a rebuild soon (it's on original valve guides, rings etc). So I am saving funds for an alloy block, MA Developments rebuild, Borg Warner twin scroll turbo and aftermarket ECU.

Hope this helps?

Ben

41

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43

I want to buy one old Toyota Starlet if available than do respond. THANK you.

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