Seen the one with the 11,000rpm, 260hp, 700kg Toyota Starlet? Get yourself comfortable...
The unerring dedication and commitment of Euro hillclimbers remains incredible to watch. It’s never going to be the most glamourous or high profile of motorsports, yet that doesn’t stop thousands of hours (and goodness knows how much cash) being poured into projects specifically built to scamper up mountains.
Mikko Kataja’s is a perfect example of the breed, the Finn’s history with this little Starlet stretching all the way back to 2000. Once a Group F rally car, it has now evolved – with help from VHTRacing – into the 11,000rpm screamer you see here. The 4A-GE engine and sequential gearbox combo were actually dropped in for the 100th running of Pikes Peak in 2016, with work since then finessing the package and getting the very best from it.
As you can see, from this Wolsfeld Hillclimb video, the old Starlet is working just perfectly. It absolutely shrieks through its rev range, darts through direction changes just as you’d hope for such a light car and uses its rear-wheel drive to shoot away from the endless hairpin bends. It looks hard work, no doubt, but also immensely rewarding to drive.
So much so, in fact, that it only seemed right to share as widely as possible this incredible little car. By bringing together one rather boring Toyota with the (heavily modified) engine from another, much more interesting Toyota, Mikko Kataja has created a truly spectacular Starlet. He can certainly drive it, too, as you’ll see. Watch the video below!
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Back in the 90s a mate of mine used to race a Starlet on the ovals with a 1600 Ford Cross-Flow running twin Webers and I thought that was pretty impressive - this one takes Starlet madness to another level!