Monday, August 20, 2012

Dream Project

As you may know, I've been trying to sell my Lexus LS400 for a while now.  I have spousal approval to replace it with anything I like, within reason of course.  For a while I was strongly leaning towards a used RX-8.  It seemed like the perfect car on lots of levels - my wife wouldn't miss the luxury and nice ride of the LS too much (RX-8's, in my experience, ride wonderfully and of course come very well-equipped.  Maybe neither to the same level as a first generation LS, but not far off either), there's the practicality of four doors, four (small) adult sized seats, a large trunk, brilliant handling, and of course that utterly fantastic Renesis rotary.  Gas mileage though, would be even worse than with "Big Lex".  Much, much worse.  There are always pros and cons.

Then, the other night, I had a very vivid dream.  I was hooning a small, boxy hatchback through the hills.  It was obvious it weighed nothing, as it turned in with lightning speed and had agility like I'd never experienced before.  The rear would step out several degrees under power away from apexes, so I knew it was rear wheel drive.  The engine had the most electric throttle response, and it made induction music - honking, gargling, blaring - "individual throttle bodies!" I remember thinking, still dreaming.  I had no idea what I was driving, or where I was, but I was seriously loving the experience.

silvertop 4AGE with aftermarket anodized velocity stacks

I stopped for a break in a familiar rural parking lot, which turned out to be at the Julian Pie Company in Santa Ysabel, California - a favorite stop for my wife and I on our day trips into the mountains east of San Diego.  I opened the car's cheap, thin, wafer light door, slammed it shut with a tinny "clang", walked five or six steps then turned back to take it in - a KP61 Starlet.  When I popped the hood, I saw a JDM "silvertop" 20 valve 4AGE, then I worked out the numbers in my head - 1600 Lbs., 170 HP or so... wow.  Sadly I awoke before the chance to order some pie.

scene from a dream

Later on in the day, I noticed I had received an email from my good friend Randy.  It was titled "My Buddy's Starlet" and contained some photos of P.J. Bonafacio's similarly silvertop eqipped RHD KP61.  The email was sent at almost the exact time I had woken from the dream.  I took it as a sign.

I've started collecting the pieces I need.  Engine mounts are on order, I'm calling a guy in Phoenix about a T50 (AE86) five speed tomorrow, and will shortly be getting a motor as a birthday gift from my lovely wife.  Now all I need is a car.  I have a few lines on possible candidates, but nothing concrete as of yet.  The garage is clean, the tools are organized - with luck the knuckle gouging and heavy cursing can soon begin in earnest.  I still need to sell the goddamned Lexus, though.

Stay tuned...

power to weight ratio


  1. That was unexpected.

    At a Pebble Beach hotel driveway were exotics like the 458 Italia, Veyron roadster, Spyker, Ferrari Daytona, LS.

    1. I've been hankering for a Silvertop project for a while now. Plus, no car payment.

      I need to build something, I'm going stir-crazy.

      Also, said non-car payment can fund a nice monthly parts budget.

  2. There is nothing more satisfying than driving a car you built w/ your own two hands! I recommend a second DD car until your project is road worthy though. My 82 Celica project w/ an 18 RG - dual Mikuni sidedraft took 2 years to complete. And this was a new car so I didn't have to worry about body/paint restoration.