Arizona's controversial new Illegal Immigrant law is gaining national attention. Also drawing attention is today'sNice Price or Crack Pipe Starlet GT that's claimed to be here legally, but looks foreign enough to elicit demands of your papers please.
Have you ever felt that the only thing keeping the early-eighties Honda Civic from achieving perfection was that it wasn't rear-wheel drive? Well, one way of realizing that perfection that doesn't require a plasma cutter and multiple parts donors is to get a KP61 Toyota Starlet instead. The Starlet's rear-wheel drive and Civic-sparring weight has made it an excellent base for any number of engine-swap Starletations.
Beloved by drifters and rotary transplanters alike, that tiny Toyota was the only version of the Starlet ever officially sold here in the U.S.. However, outside the land of sieve-like borders the car continued to evolve and grow beyond its econo-box roots. After its die-off in the states, the Starlet transformed from rear to front-wheel drive, although it's questionable as to whether that evolution was for the better. Still, two generations up the family bonsai tree finds the EP82 Starlet, and, branching out, the derivative GT Turbo. The U.S. Was denied this 135-bhp pocket rocket, having to settle instead for the larger, but less capable, FX16. That is, until now.
What we have here is a JDM Starlet GT Turbo hailing from 1993. That's nearly ten years past when you could walk into your Toyota dealer and get your Oh What A Feeling on with a factory-authorized Starlet, but oh what a decade hath wrought. The EP82 shares some of its platform with the concurrent Tercel and Paseo, although when sold in the U.S. neither of those cars ever rocked the 1.3-litre turbo four like this one does.
That 4E-FTE four sits underneath a short and intercooler-feeding be-scooped hood, although the rest of the body is typical ‘90s generic Japanese. A set of Enkei wheels and the obligatory fart can spice up the exterior, as does the GT's front air splitter and hatch-mounted spoiler. The show is matched with go as the car will do zero to sixty in a tic under 7 seconds, and the quarter in under 15. As for handling, well it should do better than the early '80s Starlets with which we're all familiar.
Inside it's different story, as you'll find a serious set of real Recaros in which to plant your butt, and a fat steering wheel that's mounted JDM right. That's because in this case, like all intended for the home market, the car has the pilot's seat opposite where you're probably comfortable. That means shifting with your left arm, which isn't as strange as you might think, and getting out of the car at the curb rather than into traffic, which is actually kind of nice. It does sort of make you feel like you should be delivering the mail, though.
Everything is described as being in excellent shape, and the pictures bear this out. That tidy condition may be due to it having but 76,000 on the clock as well as the fact that it is, after all, a Toyota. Not only that but the seller claims it to be the only one that has been imported into the U.S.. That fact does raise the question as to why the car is in this country. If one were to go to the hassle of bringing a gray market car into the states, go through all the red tape to get it legal and licensed, and then use it as a daily driver, wouldn't you expend all that effort on a forbidden fruit that was maybe a bit more exotic? Like say a Lancia Delta Integrale, or Peugeot 205 t16? Maybe, maybe not, but in this instance what pup-tented somebody's pants was a Starlet GT turbo, and, while the impetus remains undisclosed, here it does sit. Not only that but it's apparently licensed and insured to drive on the streets of Florida, just like any other Toyota. That's a big deal when dealing with surreptitiously imported cars, and while there's no guarantee that you could transfer that Florida registration to your state of denial, at least you have the Sunshine State to use as precedent in your arguments.
Where there's no argument is in price, and in this case to have this Starlet star in your driveway it'll cost you $9,999. As it's a 135-hp sporty Toyota in decent condition, you might expect to pay that if it had been an official part of Toyota's U.S. Lineup. As it's a car that you won't see passing you on the highway in like ever, as well as a car that'll drop jaws at any JDM meet, that price might be even sweeter.
Or is it? It seems, despite the pictures of the Florida tags, that there may be more than just flashing a winning smile at the DMV to get this Starlet's immigration papers approved. And even if that's all it took, you're still just driving a Toyota Starlet - on the wrong side of the car!
So what do you think, is $9,999 a price that would make you want to extend this visitor a green card? Or, does that cost have you calling to deport this import?
Help me out with NPOCP. Click here to send a me a tip, and remember to include your commenter handle.