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The 11,000-RPM 4A-GE Toyota Starlet Hillclimb Car Has Gone V-8

starlet hillclimb dyno
The 11,000-RPM 4A-GE Toyota Starlet Has Gone V-8VHT Racing

I remember when I first saw Mikko Takaja's yellow-and-white Toyota Starlet: we were both queuing up for the starting line at the 2017 Mt Washington Hillclimb. How quickly I fell in love with the Finnish car's hair-raising 11,000-rpm howl, so tiny a vehicle, so big a sound. Well, its old Toyota four-cylinder 4A-GE is gone. In its place is an even screamier engine.

The VHT Racing Starlet had a particular charm to it because of its old setup. The 4A-GE is the twin-cam engine Toyota put in its contemporary sporty cars of the Eighties, like the AE86 Corolla and the original MR-2. You can make power out of them without a turbo, but you have to gulp in huge amounts of air from gigantic intake trumpets and rev them to the moon. The sound is unforgettable. Well, the ringing in your ears certainly takes a good amount of time to go away.

So what V-8 could possibly replace such a legendary four? Of course, it's the one that's basically two Hayabusa engines mashed together. It's the 2.7-liter RPX Hayabusa V-8, and "it worked great and there is still potential left, but enough for the moment," as the team describes it in this first dyno video. They claim more than 400 horsepower. Normally you find these things in Radicals.

Amazingly this is the second V-8 the team has run. For the past year, they have been working with the slightly older 2.6-liter version, revving it again over 10,000 revs and looking like a rabid hamster making a run for freedom.

As you can see in some other onboards, this is still a hairy car, and one of the coolest hillclimb racers on the globe.

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