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Toyota Starlet: Crunk or Junk?

The Toyota Starlet was a strange duck in the US, only being sold from 1981-1984 and quickly replaced by FX series Corollas and the Tercel line. Starlets were ugly, cheap, and small. But, they were also highly economical and easily modified. So, what’s the verdict on these Japanese oddballs… crunk, or junk?

Let’s look past the Starlet’s tiny size and homely appearance for a moment. The car gained quite a bit of notoriety when people noticed it was RWD, super light, and very easy to modify. Some of the fastest drag strip import cars are still Toyota Starlets and they enjoy success in road racing, autocross and drift events around the world.

I personally owned one and loved driving it, even with the California emissions spec 4k-C motor putting out a paltry 58hp. On the flip side, I’ve seen Starlets with Wankel Rotory motors that can reach into the 8 second range for a 1/4 mile time! I love the styling and the endless possibilities for an amazing race or show car at your fingertips.

So, The IMG brain trust has made our decision about this one, but it’s up to you to make the final call: Toyota Starlet: Crunk or Junk?

I'm a Starlet. Woohoooooo!

So am I. Cough, cough, wheeze.



  1. No recalls, so I say CRUNK!

  2. As pointed out on ClunkBucket (so close to CrunkBucket) There are NO recalls on the Starlet!

  3. I say that the Starlet is the most crunk car you could get for the price. Now and days people are just giving them away with no thought what so ever about the potential the car has. It’s an all around great and fun little car. There are limitless possibilities on turning this car into a beast of a machine for drag, track, rally, or drifting. So two thumbs up for this car. Very Crunk IMO.

  4. Gran Turismo 4 has me believing that the 90’s Starlet was actually pretty sweet too.

  5. Definitely crunk. Plus, mirrors on the fender = insta-win.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I say crunk! Old School FTW!!!

  7. IIRC, the Starlet was rear drive while the “larger” Tercel was FWD. Looks like Starlets were the poor man’s BMW!

    • Ramón Mora says:

      I own a 1982 Toyota Starlet since 1990. The car is in original condition and in outstanding condition after 33 years and 238,000 miles without major repair. I always loved the E30 Series 3 BMW and I always wanted one. But in the last years, I´m liking my Starlet more and more, over the Bimmer.

  8. Wasnt these later turned into the Glanza. And the JDM ones had turbo if I am thinking of the same car. I think it was the Glanza V that had the turbo. Well anyways, just looking at the evolution of the car, kinda reminds me a little like the Yaris. Coincidence?

  9. Sarcasmo says:

    The Starlet is cool… the Yaris is a girly FWD piece of CRAP.

  10. Deffinatly crunk, those that voted junk don’t seem to want to voice their opinions…

  11. The starlet is the same thing as the Model A of the 30’s , the Ford Falcon of the 60’s. Basic transportation for the un eductaed , blue collar workforce to get to and from work, or the college student who had a little more money and was able to have 4 wheels, rather than the “2” that I had going to college. 🙂

  12. bring out a 2010 starlet 2 liter rwd please

  13. My former wife and I owned a Starlet many years ago as new in 1982. At the time our children were babies, so we had the Toyota dealer install what we were told was the “Happy Child” package. It consisted of a wind up music box installed in both rear panels by the armrests with a bright orange winding knob; stick on characters of cartoon-like animals and children were applied to the rear panels as well; and there was also an activity center that was removable that fit in the middle of the rear seat. It was kind of like one of those Fischer Price busy boxes they used to sell. Overtime the music boxes stopped working due to being overwound. The Starlet was a very cool car and I regret selling it because I know how valuable and desirable a rare classic it is today. Old cars like that sell for $50,000 nowadays at auctions.

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