Mrs. Gore has more to worry about these days. As her sons hotshot junior driver Matthew and local rally Champion Douglas Gore show off their skills in the latest in speed hardware, husband Neil finds himself with a 300 horsepower Toyota Starlet GT Turbo. No typos here, that’s two zeroes after the three. How do you get 300hp from a 1500ccs engine? Lets just say it must have been a rather boring day in Japan.
Dubbed Crazy EP this plain vanilla looking beast has forsaken the land of the rising sun for the land of wood and water. Forget ‘deportee’, expatriate is more like it as Doug and his father recall the events leading up to its imminent removal from Tokyo. Having previously owned a Starlet GT Turbo, with way less horsepower, Mr. Gore went looking for a new car. A new Starlet preferably. A few months later Plaza Motorsports, owned by Toshiaki Endo, hailed success and Doug was invited to Japan to sample the Starlet. His first meeting with the Starlet was impressive to say the least.
“I was driving Mr. Endo’s pet Lancer Evolution. It has a rumored 500hp,” grinned Doug, “cruising down Mt. Fuji I looked over and saw Mr. Endo in this Turbo Starlet. I shifted and accelerated then looked back over and saw the Starlet still next to me. Before I could shift again I was looking at taillights.”
So how does a Starlet get 300hp, it isn’t the horsepower fairy, just more GReddy products than your grandma could provide on Christmas.
From the outside there’s no real indication of the violence available in the Starlet’s four pressurized cylinders. A front mount intercooler gives you the first subtle hint of its true performance. No crazy exhaust. No super lowered stance, just an air of regularity that would have your unsuspecting mother jump in for a Friday run to the supermarket. Once inside she’d soon realize that her trip to the nearest Super Plus would be quite interesting. Looking directly at you are three huge white-faced GReddy gauges giving you the important stuff, boost, exhaust temperature, and oil pressure. If that’s not enough the TRD 280km/h speedometer should tip anyone off. Trust me, it has no problem reaching those velocities.
The real magic lies in under the bonnet. Joining the ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ camp the Toyota switches to Mitsubishi power with a worked Lancer Evolution III GReddy turbine and matching wastegate. For reference the wastegate is bigger than the turbo. Both are held to the engine by a unique manifold. Engine internals specs are, ported/polished head, cams, and forged pistons. However grabbing your attention is the intercooler setup. Quality is a Plaza Motorsports trademark and the front mount setup of the Starlet reflects that. Plumbed ahead of the throttle body are two massive extra injectors controlled by a GReddy Rebic III unit, which activates them at 5000rpms. Inside, a GReddy Profec unit maintains turbo boost. Suspension is in two flavors. For street use rally springs and shocks try to keep contact with the available tarmac. For serious racing, or when he feels like Mr. Gore breaks out his two grands (yes that is US dollars) worth of TRD coil-over suspension.
What is drive like? Very livable, but there’s only one way to describe acceleration. Take a loved one, strap them to a skateboard, shoot them full of heroin, carry them up to the Blue Mountains and kick start them over the edge. That fun, that addictive, and that unreal. Want one, hell so do I.