Project KP61 Saga: The Story So Far
Origins Of Necessity

An obvious perk of being a part of the Speedhunters team is the exposure to some pretty special automotive creations. Cars with backstories dripping with character and tales of glory, others with bloodlines so steeped in prestige lesser vehicles seem to cower in the streets as they glide by. Then you get the fresher style of build, those engineering tour de forces bristling with quality craftsmanship and at the cutting edge of automotive trends.

So why are you looking at one of the most modest production cars manufactured Japan in during the early 1980s then? Allow me to introduce the creatively entitled ‘Project KP61′

Almost 10 years ago to the day, this diminutive red hatchback came into my possession. Suffice to say, things have since progressed past any original intention, so pop the kettle on and brew up a cuppa, this could take a while as there’s a lot of catching up to be done.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (1)

I sort of became a KP Starlet aficionado by accident. In 2004, I was living in New Zealand’s South Island, Christchurch specifically, and studying at Canterbury University. My daily driver was an ’83 Alfa Romeo Alfasud which I’d restored alongside my father whilst in high school – a vehicle that I treasured above all other possessions. A hare-brained idea formed that I needed a rougher car that I could subject to the daily rigmarole, park anywhere I liked and generally not give a damn about. This prompted the purchase of my first KP Starlet – a decrepit 1981 model that cost a meagre $100.

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Even though it was run-down, looked disgusting and had a 1,000cc 2K pushrod engine better suited to producing some form of stitched garment, unbeknown to me at the time that car made a hell of an impression. Fast forward a year or so, the KP was long gone and I was pining for another. The problem? Student income, or the lack of it. Nevertheless, armed with a dose of optimism and a steely resolve to obtain another example, I eschewed the obvious choice of the internet marketplaces and went straight to the trusty Buy, Sell, Exchange classified ad paper, obtained at 6:00am in the morning – a tactic favoured by the keenest of bargain hunters.

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I can still quite vividly recall the somewhat ambiguous text submitted by the seller. ‘Toyota Starlet. 1981. Runs well. WOF. Rego. $500 obo.’ Not much to go on, but at least there was a contact number, which I promptly dialled with what little prepay credit I would have had lingering on my mobile account at the time. This was exciting. As the dial tone buzzed in my ear the classifieds became illegible in my trembling hand. “Hello?” ‘Uh. Oh. Hi, yeah I’m, uhhh, I’m calling about the Starlet you have for sale?’ The voice on the other end regrettably informed me that no, I couldn’t look at the car then and there as it was a workshop courtesy car, but come 5:00pm I was more than welcome to rock on down and check it out.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (2)

I’m not sure I achieved a whole lot that day, Linguistics 201 definitely went in one ear and out the other. All I could focus on was making it to 5:00pm and picking up my new Starlet. Suffice to say, eyeballing the small crowd that was also present to view the car didn’t really make my day. But I’m born of proud negotiating stock, so I put on my bravest face and swaggered through the assembled throng to be confronted by a slightly beaten up, but otherwise original 1981 KP61 Starlet 3-door. In fact, it was more than that, this was a Japanese market model blessed with a higher spec than New Zealand new cars, namely a 4K-U 1,300cc powerhouse and a K40 4-speed gearbox. Perfect.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (5)

Quick thought was the order of the day. While the other would-be buyers milled about pointing out the patchy paint and dents I went straight for the keys, and the resulting 30-plus-minute test drive. Not to test the car, more to test the resolve of the competition. Trundling back to the seller’s address most had dispersed, aside from two other die-hard parties. I’m not 100 per cent certain what happened to one of them, but essentially it all came down to a stalemate between myself and one other. My student budget was extremely limited. All the other chap would have had to do to secure the car was offer $510 and I would have been out.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (8)

But instead we settled on a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide who would be the one handing over the folding. A swift ‘rock’ followed by a crushing blow of ‘scissors’ saw me win the ‘best of three’ showdown, and I was soon driving home in my newly-acquired KP61 dream machine – after I’d cheekily negotiated a cheaper rate, of course.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (9)

Aside from the addition of a set of SSR MKI wheels (which kickstarted a retro Japanese wheel addiction), the car remained largely untouched. Maintenance items were changed regularly in order to keep it on the road. New shocks and springs and brake pads were also fitted while the car served its intended purpose well, ferrying me to and from uni, work and even the occasional city cruise at night.

Fast forward a further two years. Study was behind me, I’d started earning a full-time salary following a shift back to my hometown and the poor old KP was starting to look shabbier, not to mention showing concerning signs of rust.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (10)

With newfound cash superpowers, what better move than to strip the whole car down and give it a big refresh. After sourcing replacement bolt-on panels (ones without rust or previous body filler bodges), the Starlet found its way to a family friend, who conveniently happened to be a panelbeater. A quick massage (it was actually quite straight) and a coat of factory red paint saw the car arrive back at my parents place ready for reassembly.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (11)

Under the cover of my parents’ barn and aided by some valuable lessons learned during the restoration of my old Alfa Romeo eight years prior, the process took me something like 18 hours in total. While the shell was off being pampered, I’d spent hours in front of the TV stripping, cleaning, repairing and ultimately refinishing what I could of the weathered trim. Bagged and labelled fasteners also accelerated the reassembly process. The reward was an appearance that looked close enough to showroom fresh.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (12)

But, like any human with a fetish for all things internal combustion powered, the urge to tinker prevailed. Among the many wheels the car wore over the next couple of years was this set of particularly rare SSR Star Bright 14-inch 3-piece examples, the acquisition of which is a story in itself.

So, Like, It’s A Project Now
IMG_3999

Total immersion in the Starlet lifestyle followed, as the shot above illustrates. Like some kind of rabid completionist, I spent the next couple of years tracking down sales literature, parts catalogues, workshop manuals and a myriad of rare Japan-only parts. All this among at least four separate project cars including a DC2 Honda Integra Type R, a CL1 Honda Torneo Euro R and a couple of old British barges.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (13)

Case in point, I’d long craved the aesthetic of a Starlet ‘S’ badged grille, something eventually acquired through pleading with a roadside seller to whip the one from his car and swap it with a standard item. And cue more wheels; these Advan A3As arrived to me in a very sorry state, but were brought back to an acceptable level of finish by hand. In this guise the car made a 1,200km round trip to the 2010 4&Rotary Nationals to be a part of a club display put on by local Toyota K-series enthusiast group, Club-K. For the most part, the 29-year-old mechanicals fared well, or at least right up until the last 20 or so kilometres from home when the bottom radiator hose decided being watertight wasn’t something it was into.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (14)

Every project has a defining moment, right? Well, a simple hose failure defined the future direction of the car. I’d only ever intended to pull the radiator and a few bits and pieces out to clean it all up and carry on. But aided by pleasant weather and a few bottles of cold beer, everything forward of the A-pillars was soon cast aside and the engine bay readied for paint.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (16)

Of course, to complicate matters I moved towns again, and right when the car was away at the panel shop being painted. But we got it up to Auckland several months later, and I was finally able to lay my eyes on the refinished bay.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (15)

Popping the bonnet revealed a space that was barely recognisable. Deletion of the battery tray and other unnecessary brackets followed by some smoothing had absolutely transformed things. It’s worth bearing in mind that at this stage I’d decided the KP was going to be powered by a hot Toyota K-series engine.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (19)

With the move came the beginning of a friendship with someone I consider myself extremely privileged to associate with. Let’s just call him ‘Sheepers’ for now. As well as being a fellow foamer for all things retro Toyota (and you’ll get to see some of his projects later), Sheepers is a man possessing of well developed talents in both solving problems, and the ability to translate my ambitious ideas into practice through the shaping of bits of metal. Not to mention gluing them together with his magical metal glue gun.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (21)

Things had become serious. Inspired by Nigel Petrie’s Engineered To Slide Hilux, once the fabrication work and refinishing was completed on phase one of the front end setup, I snapped this ‘exploded’ shot of it all. Note the coil-over struts, home-made a few years back using cast-off parts, while everything else is either brand new, custom (brake caliper brackets) or refurbished.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (24)

I’m a pretty firm believer in paying thorough attention to detail. This front brake upgrade was designed to mount a larger 256mm vented rotor in the factory position behind the hub. The reason being, I wanted no increase in track, as low-offset wheels were a definite future addition with no alteration to the factory guards for a period look. Crucially, they also fit inside the confines of a 13-inch wheel.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (25)

What better way to simulate the weight of an engine and test the travel of the front struts than coerce your tame fabricator into the engine bay. I can’t promise any engine noises weren’t made at this point. You’ll note the rear end is still up in the clouds at this stage, because I hadn’t really figured out a plan of attack for that.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (23)

Until this showed up. Yes, the whole notion of running a built K-series engine went up in smoke with the impulse purchase of a rebuilt (with receipts of course) 4A-GE engine featuring a balanced rotating assembly, high compression TRD pistons and the obvious ITB setup. Not to mention the T50 gearbox and T-code AE86 disc brake axle that came with it. Things just shifted up a gear, and if I’m being honest, a clear vision had finally formed for Project KP61.

Further Down The Spiral…
Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (26)

Finally, I hear you say, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. The first plan of attack was the rear axle. Above is the stock KP item, while beneath is the AE86 unit. At around 60mm wider the new, stronger axle needed shortening.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (27)

The KP61 axle uses a 4-link triangulated arrangement, while the factory AE86 setup employs a parallel 4-link with Panhard rod. So the mounts needed to go to make way for a system better suited to the pick-up points available on the Starlet body shell.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (28)

No more mounts? Measure twice, cut once on either side and the resulting kitset diff leaves you wondering why you just chopped up a pretty desirable old Toyota part. With a view to gaining some space in the rear arches, the housing was actually narrowed to be 10mm shorter overall than the factory item.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (30)

As well as a shortened housing, the axles themselves require some length to be cut out. Without going into too much detail, even though the spline on the ends looks to the naked eye like it matches the diameter of the shaft itself, the roll-forming process, by which it is factory formed, leaves a diameter slightly larger. Which means in order to be able to machine a new spline onto the shortened axle, building up of the material via a spiral welding process is required. Following the machining of the axle to correct diameter (bottom right), new splines were cut by a specialist.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (31)

When the grinding dust settles, the end result should be something similar to this. Factory 4-link mounts aligned and attached to the newly shortened housing, as well as new adjustable spring perches matched to upper spring seats fabricated and welded into the original spring towers of the shell.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (33)

Filling the housing, a reconditioned TRD 2-way LSD unit in a 4.3:1 ratio. New bearings throughout, as well as brand new axle bearings at the outers of the housing.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (35)

In the interim, further acquisition and tidy up work was happening in the background; freshly vapour blasted (a process using high pressure water and a superfine blasting media) throttle bodies and T50 gearbox, a Techno Toy Tuning billet ITB manifold and a redesign of the bottom 4-link brackets joined the fray. As well as now being a Low Volume Vehicle (LVV) certification compliant item for road use in New Zealand, the new mounts also incorporate an adjustable traction bracket setup to fine-tune the behaviour of the diff under acceleration.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (36)

Painted and assembled in the shed, the diff was just one of those achievements worthy of staring at for an extended period of time. In keeping with all other fasteners throughout, the nuts and bolts received a gold passivate treatment. Fresh brake lines, slotted rotors and reconditioned calipers finish off what is now essentially a brand new, yet custom item.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (39)

Keeping everything in check is left to a custom-built pair of Bilstein dampers, originally intended for an AE86 but valved to suit the rear 250lb spring rate. And peeking past the hubs, the Techno Toy Tuning billet adjustable 4-link arms are visible. While they’ll probably be a noisy item on the road due to spherical bearings, the ability to finely adjust the pinion angle is something I wanted to achieve to keep driveline issues to a minimum.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (40)

While the rear was nearing completion, attention was again turned to the front. Those early coilovers I’d knocked up years ago? They just weren’t going to cut it with limited travel at the ride height I wanted to achieve. Enter Fortune Auto and a pair of its 500 Series front units, specced with the shortest MacPherson strut shocks available and a weld-on threaded bottom section which was added to the strut tube in accordance with LVV guidelines. Plug welds around the diameter, and TIG-welded lower sections staying 10mm away from any cast material.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (41)

All dressed up with nowhere to really go… yet. With so much more opportunity to fine-tune the ride height without sacrificing travel, I’m really looking forward to seeing how these units perform. The front springs are Swift 275lb items.

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Nearing 10 years after the original purchase of the car, the wheel addiction still lives on too. The most recent addition? A restoration of what I view as the perfect set of rollers for a KP61. These Hayashi Street STs measuring 13×7-inch all around with offsets of +8 front and -6 rear arrived on my doorstep from Japan in a sorry state. After a media blast and polish things were looking up.

Project_KP61_Starlet_4AGE (43)

With a final application of paint, new metal valve stems and paired with a meaty set of Yokohama A539 tyres in 175/60 flavour, I finally had the period street-racer look I wanted for the car.

Some ride height tweaking will be required once the engine is in, but for now it’s moments like these that reaffirm there is in fact a light at the tunnel’s end, and when you break out into those rays, things are going to get very, very fun.

Richard Opie
richy@speedhunters.com
Instagram: snoozinrichy

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89 comments

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1

This is one of the best stories I've read in a very long time. Glad it worked out! And may I ask where you buy your vintage wheels? I've wanted to refinish a set for a while now. Thanks!

2

I want. no over fenders, no problems

3
ADimitriRoumeliotis

Excellent.

4

I spy with my little eye a Datsun C230 Cedric in the background.
Any more info on that Cedric mate?

5

I LIKE.  IS NICE.

6

Always Froth for your KP... I hope this Lisse decal comes back in painted pinstripe form...

7

Pittraider18 I'd imagine yahoo auctions japan.

8

@anonymous of course, that's my old '72 Cedric. I bought it off a friend a few years ago, dropped it on a set of nice old wheels, did a top end rebuild on the engine and swapped a 280ZX 5-speed into it. The inspiration for the style was the Japanese "Mooneyes" scene.

9

3nigm4 Pittraider18 yeah nowadays most of them I source through Yahoo, via a couple of agents over in Japan. Everything pictured in this post EXCEPT the Hayashi was were sourced locally however. Again, due to our history of importing used Japanese cars, many of the ones that came into the country in the mid to late 80's through early 90's were kitted out with cool wheels!

10

StreetStatik Possibly. I am leaning towards an 'S' stripe with some subtle changes.

11

SnoozinRichy 3nigm4 Pittraider18 Well that is both awesome and not fair. Haha.

12

No banana skid pics? Booo! 
For those who don't know him, Richy's one of those guys who just has an eye for styling cars. The right wheels, suitable ride height and carefully considered details somehow make his cars cooler than the sum of their parts.

13

SnoozinRichy
I remember reading your threads on oldschool. Your photos are always awesome, you owned the Triumph wagon too in the photo above right?

14

A classic Kiwi build, love it! With an NZ division of Speedhunters, I wondered when Sheepers was inevitably going to get exposure. Time for a certain 'Crown' feature perhaps?

15

@timmy SnoozinRichy The Triumph 2.5 was one of mine too, yep. Had a truckload of fun with that old thing!

16

NikkSquidBonnett I'm not sure the world wants to see those photos...

17

Car look great,  do New Zeland dont salt thier road in winter time ?

18

@Jay Only a very small proportion of the country gets full snow over winter, and only for a very short time. No salt on our roads :)

19

DOORT!

20

I'm just looking forward to the day I see it running for the first time!

21

Great article --  a very engaging read!

22
Andrej Jovanovic

Neat little car!

23

11/10 people agree this car has been dormant for far too long.

24

Is that Oldschool Sheepers? Wow! And how did you get JDM plates in NZ? Nice!!!

25

smithadamb I think I can manage that....

26

So beautiful!

27

top grade mate. Well done. I haven't read a whole SH article in ages! Brings back the days of my starletto. Always better tha the Corollacoasters.

28

Wow!!, im impressed what you did on the starlet sir!!
Club k is one of the best source for old K- series mod, From naturally aspirated, to turbo and supercharged the old k series engine

29
MatthewVonazoudas

That is quite an impressive kp! I wish i had enough money to complete mine! They are amazing little cars! Although I have some questions. What brake disks did you use in the front and from what car does the rear Bilsteins came from?

30

Great car, very interesting to see the whole process!

31
OrfeasChristodoulou

Oh my God!I never thought I would live to see the day a KP60 would be featured here on SH!The build quality is superb(I need to steal those rims!)Anyway,I hope i can resto-mod mine the way you did someday,since there is no money in the kitty(I'm a uni student who can't get a job because of a weird shedule and huge unemployment rates here).And it's also very difficult to find parts,but I'll try my best!Very inspiring article to keep me going and make my lil kp60 a better car!Thanks

32

Loved the dedication and the attention to detail! Show pictures of the engine bay and interior! :) Next steps?

33
Brian Earl Spilner

Off topic but if that Triumph is/was yours, i've got a picture of it stuck to a pinboard in my garage hanging above the 77 2500TC that i'm currently trying to put back on the road. The Starlet is pretty cool too!

34

Excellent build and even better literary article! Thanks for the entertainment!!!!! (P.S. not the biggest starlet fan but this is easily one of the best articles I've seen on SH IMHO)

35

What I would give to drive this car. Thumbs up to awesome car.

36

OrfeasChristodoulou There are several KP60 series Starlets on Speed Hunters which I will share below.

I feel you "Uni Pains" too, my KP61 looks like a TuRD, but she made it through three months of 40+ Celsius in Phoenix, Arizona.

http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/08/car_spotlight_gt_gt_d1_toyota_starlet/

http://www.speedhunters.com/2015/03/built-to-thrash-a-homebrewed-hayabusa-kp61/

http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/02/car_spotlight_gt_gt_little_white_starlet/

http://www.speedhunters.com/2010/11/car_spotlight_gt_gt_wide_kp61_at_sema/

37

SnoozinRichy But that's okay, I like your uni story because I'm in that same boat. I've had mine since 2007 and bought it for $400 USD South of San Francisco. Not to be a fanboy, but I love your attention to detail and keeping everything looking as original looking as possible. In today's world of RWB, chopped and flared EVERYTHING, it's refreshing to see a car as factory looking as yours, with modern bits to improve the driveablility and fun factor.

She'll get done when she gets done!

Cheers from Phoenix, Arizona.

38

Awesome build! Thats what i was missing at speedhunters lately :) Builds like this inspire people :)

39

Great Build!!!!

40

I guess this is the best of your own builds i've seen on speedhunters so far. Just how life goes. the plans never end up as intended in the beginning :)

41

Wow this was so nice to read!
What an awesome starlet!

42

Awesome article and beautiful build!

43

Awesome little car! Currently pretty dead set on an EP82 Mk3 GT Turbo for my first car, as my neighbour has one and it's awesome! My only problem is that I'll have to wait until I'm 19 to purchase one as a quick insurance quote for a 17 year old revealed a 10k insurance price :/ but it soon reduced to 2k for a 19 year old thank god

44

nice triumph 2000.

45

Well done. You need to find perioid correct sport seats.
Hope you have kept all the wheels.

46

SnoozinRichy smithadamb

47

@Brian Earl Spilner yeah it sure was, that's super humbling to know that old thing is inspiring someone. I had a LOT of fun belting around in it, and I want to own another one.

48

Afonsoae82gt it's all about the detail... I'll get to the engine bay in the next post, since this one ended I've been piling up parts and we've only just dropped the engine in for it's first fit. But stay tuned, I'll keep this flowing.

49

OrfeasChristodoulou Good to hear there's other KP fans reading SH! Keep at it - I never really properly started building this until I was earning some money, throughout the Uni years it just got me from A to B.

50

John Key NZ The one and only sheepers from OS. I bought these plates off eBay of all things, well over 10 years ago now. I have a set of legit Kari plates also.

51

@Albert F thanks for the encouragement, I've generally always followed a similar build ethos - keep the body clean, straight and stock and embellish with the right set of wheels, the right height and subtle touches. This car is a bit of departure for me in that I have never just gone ahead and changed EVERYTHING. I'm looking forward to developing it once it's running again.

52

@ginger green You know, I've been thinking about seats. I'm not sure I'd trust the safety aspect of an old, battle worn seat. I think I'll be popping a single fixed back bucket in, not sure who from yet but perhaps a Bride or Racetech example.

53

LukeEVOVIII You'd get on with Peter_Kelly - rumour has it, he has a soft spot for the EP82 GT Starlet.

54

@JDMjunkies And no doubt we'll see a few plan changes before it turns a wheel under it's own steam again!

55

Dogg Cheers, due to starting the project stuff midway through the build I've had to condense things a bit, but hopefully I can offer some more in depth stuff as the car progresses!

56

One hell of a great read and looking forward to an amazing build!  Thank you.  Looking forward to the next writeup...

57

chiprez You and I both, it's been off the road over 4 years now and without a second car to hoon around in I really have to get this sorted and driving.

58

SnoozinRichy LukeEVOVIII Peter_Kelly The dream! The EP82 GT was my first car. I did terrible, terrible things to it but it was so much fun. It eventually got stolen, painted gold and dumped on a beach.

59

Exceptionally well written and execution sir! Those wheels are drooltastic.

60

Proper good. Having just picked up a project myself I've started reading builds has consumed a lot of my time lately and it's great the builds like this on modest (ish?) budgets are being featured!

61
OrfeasChristodoulou

@Albert F OrfeasChristodoulou I've started checking on SH after 2013,so that's why I've never read those articles(except the busa one).Hehe one thing I've really discovered is they are bulletproof,even with those lumpy 4K engines(I've had my share of hot summers here in Greece)!Also good thing to know there is some1 in the US with a KP starlet,since they were sold for like 3 years there and they aren't as popular as the big bro Hachi or Cressidas.Good luck to you man!

62
OrfeasChristodoulou

SnoozinRichy OrfeasChristodoulou I'm not planning to give up on the car anytime soon(especially after  your article!)!Only thing that scares me is the rust,which in all honesty isn't that bad but you know how it is!Can't wait for the next installment!Best of luck to you and your little pocket rocket!(Need to stop here since I have sooooo many questions and I don't want to bother you :P )

63

Those wheels are perfect.

64

SnoozinRichy sweet as I haven't met him in person yet but his Celica builds are amazing. Those plates combined with cherry blossoms in full blossom lol would make for a pretty picture.

65

MatthewVonazoudas The Bilsteins are AE86, with custom valving and limited travel to match my setup. The discs - well I was sworn to secrecy on those details by the racer who put me onto them.

66

Very nice car mate. NZ represent

67

Now that's a build, that engine and tranny setup is perfect. 
Great post.

68
MortenHartvigKristiansen

I've seen trd buckets on the interweb, pretty period looking as well, look up trd /tosco bucket seats!

69
jbfromsiliconvalley

Now go conquer some hillclimbs! I have a huge liking for starlets. Would do a 4agze with a 20v head swap and aftermarket sc, and a custom 4 link out back myself. Nice 4a and overall fab work.

Track/hillclimb/autox video or project didn't happen!!!! I just wanna hear the 4a at redline through those bigass trumpets.

70

This is definitely one of my favorite build articles I've seen in a long time. Somehow the fact that the aethetic impact is kept to a very subtle approach is making it all the better. Starlets are beautiful little cars, and I'm just daydreaming at the idea of a 4AGE in there!

71

jbfromsiliconvalley I'm keen to drive the wheels off this thing when it's done, don't worry it's not going to be a trailer queen! And yes - there will be video aplenty when it's running.

72

IRONWOLF RD Less is more! I've always worked with this ethos, while you probably don't get the most striking end result, it is almost always a timeless style I feel.

73

DaveT Definitely modest - it's a build that I've attacked when I can, when savings for the 'next step' get accumulated and so on.

74

This looks perfect. I got a ep82 gt as a daily and I'm in love with it, starlets are the coolest.

75

SnoozinRichy IRONWOLF RD Timeless is definitely the word I'd use as well. Not to mention all that work that's been done behind the scenes is like your dirty little secret. The best result is always the one that makes you happiest.

76

Dear lordy this is amazing! Dream car right here. What's the driveability like I wonder?

77

Haha this car is such a saga, glad you've stuck with it!

78

Or has it stuck with me? If I was this car I'd be super grumpy at the owner for being sluggish in build pace.

79

I'll let you know as soon as I get behind the wheel again!

80

SnoozinRichy DaveT I'm using a similar method for my project ('51 Chevy 3100) put money into a jar until there was enough to buy one. Started again until there was enough money to get some parts to work on it. And so forth and so on. Takes awhile but seems to work and I can still afford food and what not...

81

what an awesome article, great to see a more grass roots build with really nice pictures! the attention to detail is amazing on the build! are those fortune auto front coilovers a universal item? similar to what I was considering for my FB RX7. can you give me any details on the guidelines and process of welding the internal threaded part of the coilover to the spindle/strut?

82

JamesFord4 I guess they sort of are - the KP uses a 48mm strut tube (among the smallest) and they were able to provide the sleeve to weld on which fit like a glove. How we did it in my case is dictated by the legal rules, we have to have this modification certified through the correct process. So what we did first was trim the strut tube to length which meant it wouldn't interfere with the threaded shock body at max low adjustment. Now the rules dictated we must have at least 10mm between the cast spindle and the weld - so we positioned it accordingly and it was TIG welded to the spindle. Last but not least, the rules called for 10mm 'plug welds' (also called puddle welds by some) at four points around the circumference of the tube, as extra security against failure. After that, these were taken to an XRay lab where they were NDT (non destructive tested) using a dye method to ensure adequate penetration of all welds. I hope that wasn't too much of a read! But perhaps give Fortune Auto a call, they were very accommodating through the NZ agent here and a breeze to deal with.

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MortenHartvigKristiansen I have a trd bucket, old school with the 2 small slots. it just feels so good and so light. but SnoozinRichy The safety aspect of all J-Land seats is valid.

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Mate really wished these weren't borderline impossible to get in Aus. I'll just have to stick to my KE70 wagon. But damn I love this KP. 

I feel the wheel obsession pain with you. Had over 50 wheels for a bit, but funds got tight and some had to go :(. Thats life though I guess.

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takahashitothetop

What a great story. The fab work on the rear end/axles makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

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Cheers, at my work we have an NDT department and use dye penetrates. I'm from the UK so shipping could be tough. I've seen similar things done here but the welds are right on the spindle casting:S

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takahashitothetop A few people told us this couldn't be done... the axles that is. Hopefully I prove it can be, when I dump the clutch for the first time!

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the hayashis' set it off

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Love it. And yes, the STs are perfect!

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