Jay Choong’s New Starlet “Kambing”

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Car guys go green too.

Fellow Saga Cup racer, Jay Choong, bought himself an old school pocket rocket last month at Jaya One car park. This would be the first (road-legal) classic that he owns as he drives around in a Subaru BRZ daily. Lucky for him, the car is fully equipped with parts old-school Toyota fanboys can relate to. The specs list can be found at the end of this article.

An interview with Jay gave us more intel on what he thinks about the car after owning it for almost a month.

(Left) Adian, former owner of the Starlet posing next to Jay (Right), part-time Wagyu beef enthusiast.

Legend has it that this model Toyota is known for its quick response in handling. Jay reassures this statement by describing the Starlet as being “nippy” during turn-ins, thanks to its short wheelbase. Produced in the 80’s, he expresses his concern with the wear and tear of the car by firstly pointing out the worn steering rack. “The steering rack is a bit whack… Through the wheel, it’s got a weird “empty space” where it has no feel.” The inconsistency of the steering feel means that he decided not to push the car to its limit just yet, since he does not plan to put the car into a wall- at least not anytime soon, since he just bought it.

Mesh wheels have been fitted to the car, complementing the old school feel.

The KP sits low on TRD suspension, which is “hard, but can still live with on a daily basis,” said Jay. “At least for us car guys, it’s alright,” he added. The rebound is forgiving, making the car driveable on the streets. Having the cozy EP71 seats on means the car can still be driven without destroying his back.

Changes will be made to the car as he plans to run it in MSF next year.

With aspirations of joining the Super 1600 class, the interior will be stripped out to bare metal. In addition to that, a bolt-on roll cage will be added in soon. Obviously Jay will be adding in a bucket seat in the future, so he does not get thrown around in the car as he attacks the track. Some minor wiring issues have been identified too, like the tachometer not working at all.

RamAir filters for the ITBs. Amazing how an engine could fit in the engine bay!

The swapped 4AGE Blacktop means the car is fast right out the box. It’s easy to understand why it is known for being a very challenging swap for many workshops. The mechanic who swapped the 4A in must have been a pro in Tetris. As can be seen in the picture, the ITBs barely fit in there, with the brake booster already taking up some space. It’s not even that big!

But I digress. Jay reported the car as being shaky at higher speeds. It might be the propshaft being imbalanced, or just an old, worn out vehicle showing signs of age through its metal frame.

And that’s the thing when it comes to making an old platform work on the track. A big challenge is having the Starlet balanced- not just in handling, but the whole car as a package. Outright speed isn’t everything. It is the compromise that you choose to take in making the car run close to perfection. Jay is a committed man, however. We believe it won’t take long for him to tame his Kambing when it returns from Tengku Djan’s workshop.

Below are the specifications of the car:

  • Blacktop 4A-GE engine
  • Aluminium intake stacks with sponge filters
  • Project Mu race brake pads; front and rear
  • 4.9 final drive
  • 15 x 8 Mesh wheels with -13mm offset
  • Toyo T1R tyres 195/50-15
  • AE86 front struts and brakes
  • AE86 rear axle with clutch LSD
  • TRD suspension all-around
  • Hydraulic handbrake
  • EP71 front seats
  • Pioneer Single-DIN head unit
  • A working A/C.

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