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The Icarus Project (4EFTE)

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I've had my motor for 18 months now and it was a project from day 1. Not really what I wanted for a first car, I'd rather it just worked. Or saying that, It did work, just was poorly.

This here is a 1994 Toyota Starlet GT Turbo High Wycombe Special. These are rare models complete with dirty underwear in the boot! I kid you not.

The lying gits didn't mention anything about the coolant leak until I went to pick it up. I should have walked away, the car was in a terrible state, one side rattle canned, the other side looks like it's been in a collision.

Me and my Bro took one RAMP up the road with the worlds biggest grin on our faces, what the hell! It's only a measly £1600 and this cars a hoot!

We had a great 100 mile drive home, light hearted blitz down the B roads following each other.

Gave her a wash, polish and clean ready for a days driving.




I was surpirsed with how well it drives for an old, beaten gal!

Seems quite common amongst Starleteers to not bother with Air Filters, but that's not really my game. First things first was a service!







Upon investigating the coolant leak, I found that there was no thermostat. And when I installed one, the thermostat housing then wouldn't hold water.

This being my first car, I was not impressed.

I'm not a mechanic, I don't know nothing about cars, so the best thing for me to do, was to strip it all down and fix it. Okay my frinds laugh at me cause it took like 4 months, but this was during the winter and like Saturday mornings before I actually went and did stuff for the weekend. lol.

Stripped the bay down for Waterpump, cam belt and head gasket.







Took chunks out of the pulley trying to get it off GRRR









Another used steering wheel and some Indiglos!



The seats were damaged and I gave them away. JDM EP had some stunning MK3 seats with no cig burns.

So well pleased when these turned up!



Nice D1 Spec Knob



New Waterpump


This made me laugh as well. As soon as I fitted the cam belt I found out that the water pump came with a gasket! So it all had to come off again just so I could fit it! lol.

Picked up the cylinder head this morning. Had to hike it there and back carrying the bloody thing. 2 miles is a LONG way carrying this heavy mofo! My arms have been dead all day and haven't been able to do any work to it. It's got lots of swarf and shít in there so it's going to need some serious elbow grease when I get time.

The head passed the pressure test, not cracked, but was severely warped! The guy says highly unlikely to warp the block and he's confident the bore wouldn't be cracked. So it's literally bang this altogether now and fire it up.

This guy I took the head to! Fúck me. He should be retired. Been doing this job for 45 years in his little man cave. And literally, I bet he has never swept up once in his entire life. And that's an understatement of how messy this place was. Literally couldn't find the guy when I walked into this little shed. Over the mountains of engines he had lying about the place. I don't know whether I'd use him again. He's a cracking bloke and certainly knows his stuff, but I can't see him being delicate with my bits.

Money's tied up in some other things atm. Need to get some shít sold to work on both the bike and the car. Lots more bits needed for the car whilst its in this state. And I can't fix the bike till the car is on the road lol.

But hopefully this weekend I'll put the head back together and get it ready to go on the car next weekend. Still need braided oil return hoses and a whiteline anti roll bar. And loads of other parts that are just worth getting at this point in time.

Ha! It really shouldn't be taking this long. I just like taking my time. That said I'm pretty sure this is going to go bang when I fire her up....close now.

Going to be getting some twin pot calipers for this next month. Interior still needs sorting out. So there is still much work to do!

Polybushed the rest of the engine mounts now






Finally could start reassembling things:









After dropping the sump I found out that the engine had been forged. So that was a nice surprise. Especially as I just spent that winter feeling sorry for myself about buying a High Wycombe special!


No idea on the kit, this apparently was MalcomGT's old motor. But he doesn't know what was used. So I expect one day I will do it again.


Car Passed MOT


Managed to go out a few days in it over 2015. Probably drove it 10 times last year.






It's so sad!

This is how stunning she was in 2009!


Gauge fitted!





I spent a few days cleaning the underside. Ensuring it's rot free!







Clean and Polish the HKS










Some JDM Goodies!





Thought this might be handy for shows....


Gauge holders






Rear beam powdercoated and bushed!


As well as that, I've overhauled the sound system with new speaker wires, subs and amps. Not massive system but a modest system.

The trunk is still full of goodies that I bought last year but haven't fitted.

I'm currently still working on the rear end.

All new Stainless steel braided lines. Rebuilt both calipers. Made up new copper brake lines.

Just need to sort out the rounded nut on the brake line that goes under the petrol tank. Or failing that make up a new one.

Once that's done, I still don't plan on driving it.

Rather sort out the front end. Russ sold me the Celica Brake kit that I haven't fitted yet.

So rebush the front end of the car. Get some stuff resprayed whilst I'm at it.

The car needs a full respray.

I really fancy the WEPR GT20 Fast spool kit for this motor. My brother has the WEPR TD04 and that's savage. But I like the fast spool of CT9. That's fast spool, not power. His seems to make power earlier than mine, but I think that's down to him being a better driver and my car being a bag of nails LMAO!

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Cheers Colin. Believe me she isn't.

It's actually a little embarrassing to be seen in it it's in such a bad shape.

I will sort it out though. When I bought the car I just thought "Well you know, first car, it'll get knocked about, I don't want a minter!".

Not thinking that, actually, it's a sweet motor. And I do want it mint. So no doubt 2K hard earned cash will go in for a respray. I want to take it to JF with pride. Rockingham was crap, but just being amongst other Starlets was great.

I'm always keeping an eye on your build to nab ideas haha!

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Cheers lads. Much appreciated for the support cause it's been a bit of a nightmare at times.

Yes you have Ollie lol. You came over one day when you were in the Micra I was sat near or around my car. And I would always see you blasting around in the Charade haha!

It most certainly has been a while though!

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  • 4 months later...

Still Working on this.

Finished the rear axle.

All that is left is a RARB.

Whilst I wait for that I have begun on the front end.

Got my lowerarms back :D



That is powdercoated, polybushed and new grommets. Brand new Lower arm brace to boot as well :D

Hubs have been rebuilt.

Someone took an angle grinder to the bloody hub and destroyed it.

Then had the cheek to just fit it.

I will tell you what, this car has been owned by some Cowboys!

Edited by Calum122
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  • 2 weeks later...

So I bought an Anti Lift Kit for this car. But unfortunately it renders the other polybushes I bought useless. So that was money well spent.

The effort required to fit these though! It a two man job at best. Seriously took me a long day.

I had to first cut out the crush tubes on the arms. Then you have to pull really hard to the rear of the car to pull the lowerarms inline.

Anyway after doing all that I forgot to put the lowerbrace on so had.to remove it all and start again.

Sorry the photos are no good. Blazing hot.day and I was absolutely shattered to take photos!






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  • 1 year later...

Wow, haven't kept this build up to date at all.


Picking this up where it left off. After I fitted all the suspension components to the car back in August 2016, I removed the side skirts to find that the car was rotten down both sides, plus the floor was badly repaired on both rear passenger footwells. Incredibly disheartened by this, I was tempted to scrap/sell the car.




I'm not a mechanic, I'm not a welder and funds are always tight. So this was frustrating to say the least.


Laugh as you will, but it took the whole of 2017 to get the repairs to this vehicle done. The problems were found early on in 2017 and we needed the weather to improve in order to get the repair work underway. So we didn't actually started the grinding and welding till May 2017.








It was like this on both sides of the car.

Luckily my Dad is handy with a welder, and during the hottest day of the year, he got stuck in for two days on his Chinese welder doing all the repair work for me. He's not a mechanic or welder by trade, but I was very impressed with the repair work. The floor repairs went without a hitch, but the sills were problematic. Got there in the end and I'm chuffed that he managed to sort it.




I had problems with the side skirt brackets. One of them was rotten beyond saving.




I shot blasted them myself, came up well, and my dad fabricated a new piece and spot welded the existing metal that we could save to the pieces.


Powdercoated these for longevity.






Another Starlet saved.


I pumped the sills and all the box sections with waxoyl and rust inhibiter through an 80 PSI canister and an air compressor. Hopefully that'll be the last I see of any rust forming from the inside.


The next thing on my list was to remove the powersteering. Because...weight.


After much head scratching and thinking, I decided not to loop the lines and use an EP80 Rack, but I wanted to keep the JDM column. So early on in 2018 I set about doing the necessary bits for this conversion.


I bought a EP80 column and rack and decided to split the universal joint from the column and extract the extension piece, since the rack does not protrude into the cabin like the PS setup.



Fitted is the EP80 column knuckle, below is the JDM column knuckle.




Notice that the bar on the rack is a lot longer.


This now allows the rack to be connected to the column




I bought a EP91 washer bottle and moved it into the wheel arch and removed the PS ancillaries from the bay.




I also took the liberty of relocating the battery to the boot.







80 Amp breaker switch fitted along side a Buddy Club Racing Spec Condenser all fitted to the battery box.


I've fitted a ZEP C pillar brace, Cusco Carbon Rear Strut Brace, Ultra Racing Floor brace and Ultra Racing rear under carriage brace (not pictured) Also got the fuel pump cover powdercoated :D


For whatever reason, I simply could not bleed the Celica kit I bought. I decided to swap these out for a set of WMS brakes that came up for sale on here.







These bled almost instantaneously.


Now I can't really tell you whether these four pots are any good. They slow the car down, but I don't think they stop on the dime.

Nethertheless I'm sure they're better than stock so I'm not complaining.


And when all was said and done, I got it down to my local testers for its MOT.




We managed to scrape the car through the test...and I've actually be able to legally drive the car for the first time in three years.


Scary trip down to the testers mind. In the last three years, every single suspension component has been off this car and I just hoped I put it all back together again...

Edited by Calum122
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  • 2 weeks later...

Just had a read through, good work. I thought when i saw the pic of the head off those pistons werent the stock ones then when i read down you could see the ARP's and the rods from underneath, bonus!

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1 hour ago, Bean said:

Just had a read through, good work. I thought when i saw the pic of the head off those pistons werent the stock ones then when i read down you could see the ARP's and the rods from underneath, bonus!

Haha thanks, yeah  duh! To be fair I never picked up a spanner before working on this car and it was my first and only car. Made a lot of mistakes but learnt a lot as well. Cracking car to learn how stuff works, on the whole it's been very forgiving. I've been out enjoying it on my holiday off for the last two weeks. 4 years later I've actually be able to enjoy the car. Unfortunately I've not done something right as it's leaking oil like no tomorrow, 4 litres in 300 miles is not good!

Still kept up well against a 16 plate Mini Cooper S 2.0 Turbo. The chap said he was struggling to keep up...it was a cabriolet model mind you, he said it weighs in at around 1.7 tonne.

Still very impressed for a car I've thrown together. Just need to figure out where all the oil is coming from before I do it some damage.

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They are a good car to learn on as they are pretty simple and easy to work on and parts are cheap. You've done a good job sticking at it all this time.

Your leak sounds bad though best get that sorted asap.

Plenty fun to be had in a GT, you dont need loads of power in them. yours should be good for some decent boost being forged if you got an emanage ultimate and get it mapped at the turbos limit. Handy your dad could help you out too.

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5 minutes ago, Bean said:

They are a good car to learn on as they are pretty simple and easy to work on and parts are cheap. You've done a good job sticking at it all this time.

Your leak sounds bad though best get that sorted asap.

Plenty fun to be had in a GT, you dont need loads of power in them. yours should be good for some decent boost being forged if you got an emanage ultimate and get it mapped at the turbos limit. Handy your dad could help you out too.

Yeah I'm not driving it anymore as I guess the oil pressure would be pretty low, wouldn't want to spin a bearing.

Yeah he's a bit of a legend to be fair, saved the GT from the Scrap Yard. One day I want to do what you're doing and properly restore something.

Yeah, I planned on going down the TF035H route, but seeing more and more these days people just sticking to the CT9 Hybrid.

I fancy an externally gated Blitz CT9 on a Blitz Access ECU or maybe a ME11 with Coil On Plug conversion. If I can get 200 BHP I think I'll be happy. Then just get something else if I want more power. I just like being in the Starlet, it's a cool little car for the most part.

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TF035H seems a good setup for response. The Blitz turbo may be cool but its nothing special now, better hybrids can be made or are already available with billet wheels ect.

You cant map the blitz ecu either. Dont bother wih COP not needed and its just hassel and a waste of cash, stick with the dizzy its good for plenty power yet. A decent ct9 will do 200 no bother mapped.

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