KIDNEY, ANYONE? 53k-mile 1981 Toyota Starlet


Often clad in faded paint, plenty of rust, and maybe an oil-caked zombie of an engine, those KP61 Toyota Starlets which that aren’t being abused by a teenager with dreams of being Daigo Saito are usually on Craigslist halfway through a restomod. However, this car has never been restored and has few enough miles to be within the requirements of Toyota’s warranty policy if it wasn’t 34 years old. 

At 53,000 miles, this fine specimen of Toyota’s RWD hot-hatch is cleaner than anyone could expect. Besides some minor wear and tear to the interior that happens to any Toyota prior to the mid-80s, it is in great condition. A basic reupholstering to the seat covers, some minor PDR and cleaning up the glazing on the interior plastics in the back will have it up to 100% perfect factory spec.


The owner reports in great detail that every option in the car works perfectly, all the way down to the factory A/C, which admittedly has gotten a bit weak in later years. A recharge of the original R12 (in regions where it is legal) will get that right back up to OEM spec though. Mechanically the struts are a little weak but he has quality replacements ready to go in as well.


The engine is reportedly leak free and the valve lash has always been on point, so no need to worry about internal engine damage. Beyond a K&N filter and an Interstate battery, it is all new old stock (NOS) parts or the highest quality replacements available on this car. Even the muffler is an original Toyota piece, which is very hard to find since even modern Japanese exhaust systems in northern climes  are more prone to rust than the Titanic.

The owner has elected to use Redline fluids for the transmission and rear diff, which are a great choice for keeping the driveline sorted out and distinctly not puked out on the road beneath the car.

Besides a few dings, the paint and bodywork is all original and in good condition, which is definitely the result of the mild northern California climate combined with a lifetime of protective waxing and garage parking. Not to mention that it’s the most era-appropriate color you can find, the 1981-only Copper Metallic. If you want what is probably the best KP61 in existence look no further because this can be yours for just $4500.

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9 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? 53k-mile 1981 Toyota Starlet

  1. Ben Hsu says:

    This should be in the Toyota Museum.

  2. Tom says:

    That rear bumper is enormous!

    • Jim says:

      AND you could put a 1/4 keg in the back hatch, sit on the bumper comfortably as if it were a bench (with a friend or two), get loaded and watch a softball game. Never driving home, of course.

  3. Nigel says:

    My Tercel was almost the same color. (Wish I had $4500 ).

  4. Ramón Mora says:

    Since 1990 I have a 1982 KP-61 ( U.S. version ) with the original red color and ulphostery. Everything is original in my car. For that reason I see that this one is extraordinary, the one who takes it hit the jackpot 🙂

  5. Tim says:

    KP60 are amazingly fun and simple cars. They have grown very rare. Me and my girlfriend own a very nice 3-door blue one (in Belgium) :-). with stock wheels with RS Watanabes

  6. Diana Strahl says:

    This is exactly like the one I bought brand new in ’81. I have been looking for it . Please keep me posted as to it’s status. I may be able to swing it soon.

  7. Stacy Richards says:

    Is this car still available

  8. Rufus Kaiser says:

    Could this gar je Exported Go Germany? What size is the Engine? 1.3 or 1.2 ?

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