Rob Richardson purchased this KP30 Toyota 1000 when he was 18 years old. In the 18 years of ownership that followed, the car took him to university and subsequently to work. It outlived jobs, house moves and relationships. It even transported Rob to his wedding and saw the arrival of not one but two children.
After all that, Rob recently sold the little Toyota. ‘How could he?!’ I hear you ask. I had the same question too…
I first came to know about Rob from his personal blog (remember those?) called Racer86. I’d occasionally see his cars at events, and then in 2012, the 1000 appeared on Speedhunters. In the time since then, the Toyota received curated upgrades as Rob’s taste evolved.
At first glance today, the 1000 resembles what I would imagine Toyota releasing back in the late-1970s as a homologation model for a smaller-capacity touring car series. All of the work put into the car reflects a ‘clubsport’ influence.
The 1000 recently underwent a full rebuild of its retrofitted 1,500cc 5K, an engine most commonly found in older Toyota Hiace vans. The now high-compression and cammed four-cylinder features twin 40mm Dellorto carburettors and a custom exhaust system.
The car used to run a fairly aggressive stance, with 13×7.5-inch front and 13×9-inch rear wheels with stretched rubber barely fitting under the arches. Since then a more subdued approach has been taken. Incredibly rare Bridgestone Sharak wheels with more sensibly-sized tyres sit in their place.
Much of the drivetrain remains the same as before, with a 5-speed gearbox sending power to an extremely rare TRD differential. While the latter was mentioned in Bryn’s story from 10 years ago, it requires repeating. Through no association other than owning the same type of car, Koji Iwasa from Cha Cha Racing Family answered Rob’s call via the internet for a TRD differential, and then shipped it from Japan along with a care package before asking for a menial payment.
A Cha Cha Racing Family sticker – something gifted to very few people by Iwasa-san – takes pride of place on the 1000’s back window.
The interior has also had a sympathetic makeover, with the bare rear passenger area now covered in carpet to continue the clubsport-style theme, along with a period-correct tachometer and oil pressure gauge.
One of the best things the little car gave Rob over his custodianship was acting as a catalyst for new friendships, both here in the UK and abroad. Rob has also been fortunate enough to have owned a number of other fun cars alongside the Toyota; namely a G-body Porsche 911, classic Mini and first-gen Mazda MX-5 amongst others.
So to come full circle and make sense of how someone could sell on such an intrinsic part of their life, Rob put it better than I ever could.
“It had started to feel like 18 years going on holiday to the same place, the same hotel with the same food and the same views. All beautiful and wonderful. Always a fantastic time. But I’m ready to travel.”
Rob’s most recent purchase of a lovely BMW 2002 (that I hope to spotlight soon) brought with it the realisation that you should never have two cars that do the same thing. I’m not sure whether to call him a fool or a hero, but Rob has also placed an order for a new Morgan Super 3, which would not have been possible without parting with the little Toyota 1000. So while it’s a shame to say goodbye, Rob is already well on his way to experiencing new automotive travels.
What is the longest you’ve owned a car and if you’ve sold it, why? I’d be keen to hear experiences in the comments below.
Still have my first car, 3rd gen RX-7, bought over 18 years ago. I hope to be able to keep it and pass on to future generations. Not having 2 cars that do the same thing is very wise indeed. I wish someone gave me that advice when I was younger.
Looking forward to seeing the 2002 and well done that man on the Morgan, they look like a seriously fun machine.
Merry Christmas to you and all at Speedhunters, thank you for another year of fantastic entertainment, hopefully next year is just as good.
After nine years, I sold my BMW E30 318is convertible to a friend for the exact same reason - I wanted to move on as I've grown tired of the car. It was (and is) still fun to drive, looks and sounds amazing. During winter it lives in my shed and during summer I can drive it whenever we have a chance to meet up. And... I've got first refusal, should he ever decide he wants to move on. Not likely that this is going to happen any time soon, though.
PS: I kept the 8x15 BBS RS 002 wheels, because there are so many other 4x100 cars to play around with until I can buy back the E30.
I've owned the same car for 39 years. I don't sell cars.
I’ve wanted this car ever since I first saw it years ago. I then maxed out my entries when it appeared on dream car giveaways and still didn’t win. I hope the new owner takes good care of it. A lovely little motor.
Great article by the way. From my experience I’ve pretty much regretted selling everything over the years. I understand why he’s let it go though.
Great article, love this build, everything is just right especially that engine bay, must of been a tough decision to sell despite the need for something new. I am on 22 years with my never ending project but mines for life.
Fantastic article, thanks! It resonates with me, so much. I own a 94 Toyota Supra and have owned it for 8 years. Not a patch on the 18yrs of Rob's Toyota but a long time for me (especially considering the fleeting ownership of everything else).
It's been with me since I was in my early 20's, and in the time that has passed I've rebuilt it half a dozen times (each time wondering if it's cursed and consequently advertising it for sale), I've also drastically changed career, moved to the other end of the country, been through relationships and now have two kids. It's been to Europe and it's spent plenty time on jack stands.
I feel it's a huge part of my life and I'll never get close to what it's cost me plus I fear that if I sell it, I'll always regret it. But as Rob said so eloquently, I wonder if it's time to travel (maybe to something from Stuttgart) and the Supra prohibits this
I'm coming up on 18 years with my first gen RX-7. A new MX-5 or GR86 would out perform it and suit my needs better, but it's so easy to maintain and still ticks the boxes for looks and sound (which is most of why we're in this, right?).
I thought the same thing when I sold my first car and regretted it for years. Some vehicles are time capsules not just because of the classic design but because of the memories you made with them. I was lucky enough to track mine down years later and buy it back. I won’t make the mistake of selling it again.
I also have my first car, a mk2 Golf GTI 16v which I have owned since I was 17, now 21 years ago. And it's still my only car, as I'm more into public transport and Bikes for commuting. So it gets used rarely by now but never for city driving. I think it's hard to get bored by something when you only drive it on special occasions.
This one hit hard... Having had a crazy daily since 2017, the trends, low price windows on amazing cars, and the occasional gem being offered up come and go, always the thought to part with it has tempted like a little devil.
Cheers to this guy, but this car is awesome. Whomever bought this must realize they have received a primo role in a rare narrative that can become a legend. Networked everyman Builds like these might be the tippy top of all, Singer and Ferrari specials and whatever else, the story and passion and focus here is worth it.
I'm the opposite of keeping a car forever. My average time of ownership is 2-3 years. Lately its been barely 2 years LOLOL. I've had flat 4 awd, flat 4 rwd, i4 fwd, v8 rwd. I get the itch to do something new. I always find issues with the car I own at the time and have what my family calls #dontknowwhatthehellIwantosis hahahah
My dad on the other had has own his 1994 Mustang since 1997, so what is that? 25 years this year! He did buy a 2003 WRX brand new to commute in and the Mustang has been his forever car. I just got to fly down to Cali to help him get the freshly rebuilt 302 and brand new T5z installed and running. What a cool experience! I blogged about the resto on my little personal blog: http://hechtspeed.blogspot.com/
Dad just sold his 2003 WRX to fund the Mustang. The WRX had 360k miles on it and owned it for 19 years. I don't know how he does it!? I'm very envious of someone who can keep a car that long. I just haven't found the car that I want to keep... or my brain just cant' stay locked on the coolness of the cars I own. SMH
Michelangelo didn't keep his paintings and sculptures.
He sold them to fund his next artwork and he learned as he progressed.
There's a lesson in there.
I've lost count how many years I've owned my one car for, it's been at least 15 years though.
I have purchased more cars along the way, most serve different purposes, some will continue on to others in the future, but the one car will remain as long as I can continue to drive it.
Great story. I had my ae86 for 22 years before selling it to get my business off the ground. The kid I sold it to got it on the road this year. Can’t wait to see it around in the spring.
Thank you for the very interesting article, Chaydon.
The 13" alloy fits the car nicely, without any hint of being awkward looking. The polished lips made the car sexy.
However, sourcing new 13" performance tyres are becoming harder.
In my country, the cost of such 13" tyre is much more than 15" ones.
BTW, is the car running on fiberglass panels, beside the front bonnet?