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Hooniverse Marketplace: Clean 1982 Starlet

1982 toyota starlet for saleToyota, you were so cool back in the 80s. What happened, man? You used to make unexpectedly cool little cars like this RWD 60-series Starlet. This Marketplace example comes from Jesse of Barnfinds.com. It’s been a short-term project car, getting a few quick fixes that it needed, with a few more left on the to-do list. It’s not perfect, but it’s shockingly rust-free and would make a great platform for a speedy commuter or autocross rig. As-is, it gets great mileage and manages to still feel peppy courtesy of its 1600lb curb weight.

Usually for a marketplace post, I have to wring a bunch of info about the car from the seller, but Jesse’s done more than enough in his write-up over at Barn Finds. He’s got a no-reserve auction running on eBay motors, and as I type this it’s at $1500. A few more highs and lows and pictures after the jump…

starlet interior

-The car runs and drives well. The engine pulls well, but I think it could benefit from a full tune-up and valve job.
-No rust-through found. All suspension mounts and floors appear to be solid.
-All the gauges and controls work as they should.
-The rear seat, door cards, and headliner are all in great condition.
-The car doesn’t pull to either side on the highway and the tires appear to be almost new.
-Original stereo still in place.
-Fresh air fan blows very strong which helps with the lack of A/C. Heater blows warm too. Rear defrost and wiper work.
-Brakes work well.
-The rear wheel drive layout and five-speed transmission make the car fun to drive and fold-down back seat make it easy to haul large items!

starlet roof paintstarlet dash and shifter

-Driver side door lock sticks. Needs greased and/or adjusted.
-The windows are a little hard to roll up and down. New grease may help.
-Dome light does not work and is missing lens. I tested it and it needs resoldered or just replaced. It is getting power.
-Front seats are deteriorated so they have covers on them. The original material is still underneath so patterns could be made.
-The previous owner put the wrong wipers on it so the windshield has scratches where they rubbed. Wipers have since been replaced and perhaps the scratches could be buffed out with glass polish.
-The passenger side rear corner has a ding that needs pulled out. I replaced both taillights because they were both cracked from separate incidents. I decided to leave the bodywork to someone who knows what they were doing. I will include and hammer and dolly set from Harbor Freight if you want to try and fix it yourself.
-The paint is worn and tired with flaking on the roof and hood. It might polish up, but primer is showing through in spots.
-Previous owner installed an electric fuel pump, so it can flood if you are not careful.
-Could use new window and door seals if you plan to leave the car outside in the rain.
-Window washer fluid tank has a leak.
-If you dump the clutch you can hear a clunk in the back.

1982 Toyota Starlet for sale – eBay Motors

Thanks for sending it in, Jesse!

  • wunno sev

    -The rear wheel drive layout and five-speed transmission make the car fun to drive

    drift junkies worship at the altar of starlet because it's an RWD hatchback, but i've heard (on the internet….grain of salt, &c, but i've heard nonetheless) that they're actually not much fun to drive compared to good FWD compacts.

    not that i blame the seller for picking that particular point to list in his ad, but realistically i'd probably rather an EF/EG/EK or an EP3 (civics all) if i wanted to have fun in a cheap little car. this would be a cool period piece and a nice conversation starter, but given a finite amount of money, time, and car storage space, i can't see myself wanting to own it more than one of the aforementioned.


      In stock form, yeah, they're not much fun at all. The fun all comes in when they're modded. Engine swaps a super easy in these. Throw in a 4A-GE and you have a fun little car. Throw in a 20V 4A-GE and you have a really fun little car. Throw in a 3S-GTE and you have a tiny little RWD monster. There's a surprising amount of aftermarket still out there for these, and they can be made to handle and brake very well for very little outlay. They are a wonderful platform for modding because they are about the smallest and lightest RWD platform you're going to find. It's very easy to stay in the 2000 lb range with a 300 whp engine on board, which makes for a ridiculously fun little car.

  • Pete.z

    I owned one of those, silver like this one, but with a red interior (red all over, steering wheel and all) and actually it is a pretty fun car to drive!

  • I learned to drive in a Starlet; my family had a silver one and then a red one. Only the nostalgia would make me want one of them again.

    As I recall, they were tuned for mileage not power. That 1600 lb curb weight meant they didn't have enough crash protection to satisfy the NHTSA and so Toyota stopped exporting them to the States in favor of the Tercel or something.

  • Van_Sarockin

    If you want an elemental, eighties shitbox that will probably be reliable, this might be your shot.

    • If The Smoking Tire proved anything, it's that you should get a Tercel if you want a reliable eighties shitbox.

  • Boofighter

    How is this revered more than a chevette?

    • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Because it still runs and drives…


      Familial ties. You can parts bin a ton of parts from other popular Toyota's of the era like TE27s, AE86s, AW11s, and a number of others. A 4A-GE engine drops right in with minimal effort, and a 3S-GTE will go in with just a little bit more. You can easily adapt a bunch of existing Corolla aftermarket suspension bits to it to make it handle, and there are a bunch of easy/cheap parts bin big brake options. Chevy didn't have anything similar of the era that easily shares better parts or that had the aftermarket following the 80's Toyotas did, so the aftermarket for the Chevette is very small. Also, the Starlet is slightly less rust prone, so more of them lived into the modern era.

  • mack

    I drove a modified version of a Starlet more than 15 years ago. It had a 2 liter four out of an MR2 I think. Whatever was in it, it was the fastest car I had ever driven up to that point. Almost no bottom end but once you got up into the high rpm ranges the acceleration was crazy! I have driven faster cars since, such as a 600 h.p. Vette. That was insane in its own way but the experience of that little Starlet has had me forever lusting for speed.