Is a Suzuki V6-Powered Toyota Starlet a Winning Lemons Formula? | Your Projects

By Colin Wood
Apr 24, 2021 | Toyota, Your Projects, Engine swap, Starlet

Like so many other 24 Hours of Lemons racers, forum user newrider3’s Toyota Starlet was bought for cheap (to the tune of $400) after sitting for a number of years.

In this case, the Starlet had sat for around 20 years, and did so in a field on a farm in Colorado. That led to the car getting trashed by mother nature: “the interior was an absolute disaster, completely packed with mouse nests, bird seed shells, and mouse E36 M3. I even had to strategically hole saw into the rocker panels from inside and outside in order to reach all of the turd nests to get the car fully clean.”

The little Toyota would go on to make its Lemons racing debut in 2019 at the September High Plains Drifter race at High Plains Raceway in Deer Field, Colorado. However, that race would only be the beginning of the Starlet’s greatness.

In February of last year, a new heart for this beast was acquired: a 2.7-liter V6 normally found in the Suzuki XL7 and Grand Vitara. Why this powerplant? We’ll let newrider3 explain:

We settled on this option for a few reasons:

  • Lightweight, all aluminum construction, shouldn't be much weight penalty over stock. I was considering GM 60deg V6es but couldn't get over the weight gains.
  • Compact, both narrow and actually a couple inches shorter in overall length than the 4K.
  • Durable bottom end, split block design with main bearing caps integral to a girdle with 4 bolts per main journal. I think a stiff bottom end is important for endurance racing reliability, and part of the reason engines like the 1UZ are so successful in Lemons.
  • Cheap, readily available in the junkyard, and just weird enough to intrigue the Lemons judges. “

The thread may have gone quiet for about year, but newrider3 is back, getting the Starlet ready for the 2021 Lemons season. Get all the latest updates on this Suzuki-powered Toyota over on the “1983 Toyota Starlet - H27A V6 Swap” build thread over on the Builds and Project Cars Forum.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Vajingo HalfDork
4/23/21 12:09 p.m.

Yo, that engine bay shot makes the engine took TINY!

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/23/21 12:56 p.m.

It is a pretty small engine, these are popular swaps into Suzuki 4x4s as well, their only weakness is their thirst for gas, not really a problem for a track-only car.

californiamilleghia SuperDork
4/23/21 1:51 p.m.

Cool motor , would sound great with a couple 3 barrel Webers from a 911......

or BMW throttle bodies  and an Arduino  control box laugh

GB New Reader
4/24/21 7:27 a.m.

They put that engine in kit airplanes too...

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/24/21 10:11 a.m.

From what I read, stock tuning is more towards torque than reving, which bodes well for an endurance event like Lemons.

That motor is direct injected, isn't it? What's the management strategy?

bobzilla MegaDork
4/24/21 10:39 a.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Port injection. Suzuki left the market before DI started to catch on here. I know our H25 redlined at 6800rpm and pulled all the way there


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