Words & photos - Daniel Bevis
Stock cars, autograss, banger racing, and physical competition of that ilk is probably the most polarising strata of motorsport. Many love the rough 'n' tumble nature of it, along with the simplicity and relatively low cost, and the fact that drivers spanner their own motors (and hammer them back into shape as required). Others see it as an ignominious, gladiatorial disgrace that sends rare cars to the crusher before their time; it's an oft-heralded cry that banger racing killed off all the Ford Granadas. But a lot of people enjoyed it, so it is really so wrong...?
Seeing a car like this lurid green thing in such competition is always going to raise eyebrows. Early rear wheel-drive Toyota Starlets are thin on the ground as it is - shouldn't we be cherishing and nurturing the few that remain, rather than brutally cutting them up and banging them into things?
Dave Bullen thinks not. And that's fair enough really, as he's been racing this Starlet for quite a long time. The running gear is largely Ford, and he's recently ousted the trusty old Pinto engine in favour of a new adventure in horsepower in the form of a Duratec - although he admits that he's already thinking of changing again, to a Mondeo ST220-sourced V6. This sparky Starlet has always proved itself to be a strong contender on short ovals and autograssing, and will presumably be even feistier once a few more horses are crammed into that diminutive 800kg frame.
Yes, it's deliberately rugged and basic, with ugly welds and skin like a seventy year-old chain-smoker, but a waste of a Starlet? Not a bit of it. Dave's out every weekend wringing its neck, and that's just the way it should be.
Click here for more from Wheels Day 2015.