Starlet GT Turbo

Ben Tyrie

This page is a brief history of my first Japanese car.

I had this car imported for me after searching for a few months for the right one – low mileage,  grade 4 interior and  exterior, and no modifications.

Here she is as I collected her in December 2006:

Starlet Front Starlet Side Starlet Rear

Added xmas ’06:

More pics!:

Well what a difference a set of wheels make! Check out the GT now after a Christmas present to myself…

Starlet xmas Starlet xmas

Also, I fitted a turbo timer/boost gauge (Blitz DTT DC IV) because I was already fed up of sitting in the car waiting for it to cool……..managed to mount it on the centre console after a bit of swearing!

Starlet Turbo Timer

and here’s a bonus pic seeing as it was xmas an’ all…….

mmmmmm, shiny………….

Added 25/03/07

Sourced some rare ClimbGear Japanese shocks and springs from the same guy that imported the car.  They arrived from Japan in the boot of a skyline!

These were fitted along with a Tomei sterring wheel which I grabbed as a 2nd hand bargain.
Both mods have changed the car completely – the handling is now quite simply, AWESOME – just what I wanted.

Here’s the shocks and springs:

and the steering wheel (complete with sexy TRD horn button!)
Just changing this before I swapped the suspension seemed to make the steering feel a bit heavier and less skittish…..weird, but felt good: Steering-Wheel

Before-Suspension-Change AFTER:
After-suspension-change IN BETWEEN:(fitted the fronts and noticed that it had dropped by about 80mm! Obviously this wasnt right so I removed them again to find that the new shocks hadnt come with the complete top assembly, only the top mounts. So I dismantled the stock shocks for the top part and created my very own ‘hybrid’ shocks!)
This is how it sat…..

July 07

Had the GT dyno’d to get an idea of what I was working with before a front mount intercooler and an exhaust/decat went on.

Was measured at JKM in Portsmouth and made 125.8 bhp with 135 ftlb torque.

The car was completely standard……..not a bad result! 😀

Here’s the printout for all you naysayers:

Following the good result I started to install a front mount intercooler from WEPR (a Sri Lankan based tuner that builds monster GTs), work was slow going due to the air con and radiator getting in the way, but I found a way around it!

Cooler temporarily held on with string so I could get everything in place:
Front Mount Install

The brackets I made up for the cooler:
Front Mount Install 2

It got too dark to take a pic of the finished article but it looks good and the home made brackets are doing a good job of holding it all in place….it just wont budge! 😀

As you can see from the pics, the pipework sticks out quite a bit and so the bumper is going to need some major saw action to get it back on…..

FMIC all done: Bumper trimmed and fitted
FMIC Install Starlet Engine Bay I also fitted an HKS actuator which I would thoroughly recommend to anyone as the boost is so much stronger even set at standard…


Took the GT plus 2nd hand 2.5″ exhaust to PMCC in Fareham, where it had a silencer put into the centre piece. This took the edge off it slightly and got rid of most of the bassy drone that i was experiencing when letting off the throttle…..which is nice. It was still loud though!
Starlet Exhaust Subtle? Pah! 😀

The car now accelerated a WHOLE LOT quicker and I had to turn the boost down quite a bit from what I had it set on at the boost controller (a Blitz SBC ID3) – only because she tried to boost over 12 psi, and I wanted it more at 10 psi (avoiding det until fuelling mods came along!).


Finally got around to finishing off the front bumper after fitting the FMIC.

I cut out the original ‘grill’ and replaced it with black mesh – just waiting on some number plate mounts to be delivered so I can fit the plate securely and it’ll be sorted!
FMIC Install FMIC Install 03/10/07

Took the GT to Richard Bell @ Rising Sun Performance in Ropley (nr Alton) to have the SAFC setup on the rollers.

Very happy with the result – Richard did a grand job making the torque skyhigh and meeting my desired power. All in all a very experienced bloke who was very helpful!

The results were:

155.9 BHP and 170 ft lb Torque @ 0.9 bar

The graph:
SAFC Power Graph

She pulled so great afterwards……going to Japshow this weekend so we’ll see if we can add some times alongside the graphs.

A little photo as she looks now with my relocated number plate…..


What a fantastic car the little Starlet was! Really miss it’s awesome acceleration and the way it picked up so very quickly on open roads.
The spec list below is what I had done to her when she was at her prime:

K&N Panel Filter
HKS Actuator
2.5″ Custom Exhaust
Climb Gear KYBs
Whiteline Panhard Rod
15″ Datachamps D-09’s Alloys
Blitz DTT DCIV Turbo Timer
Blitz SBC ID3
NGK Iridiums
8.5mm Magnecours
Apexi S-AFC

Unfortunately I never got around to fitting the braided Brake Lines that I had sat in the garage due to selingl up fairly quickly as I accidentally put a deposit down on a rather special car on it’s way over from Japan – more on that in another page!
Starlet Front