WOULDN’T BE THE first

Unique Cars - - MORLEY’S WORKSHOP -

“THE STARFIRE WAS A 173 WITH A COU­PLE OF POTS CHOPPED OFF”

Starfire Four that got chucked in the near­est skip, David. Ob­vi­ously, there was a bit more to the job of turn­ing a six into a four (a crank­shaft with dif­fer­ent phas­ing, just for starters) but es­sen­tially she was a 173 with a cou­ple of pots lopped off, just as you’ve de­scribed. I won­der why the GM brass wanted to see a mock-up of the en­gine be­fore giv­ing it the green light for de­vel­op­ment. And why was it the Repco Bear­ing Com­pany that got the job of mak­ing the, clearly non-op­er­a­tional, dummy Starfire?

Any­way, his­tory will record that they needn’t have both­ered, be­cause the thing was just a turkey from the start. Holden would have been much bet­ter off shar­ing the de­vel­op­ment cost of a new four-cylinder with Toy­ota. The new en­gine would have boosted lo­cal con­tent for both brands and it needn’t have been an all-new de­sign. A lo­cal re­vamp of Toy­ota’s ex­ist­ing 18RC unit (which did ster­ling ser­vice in the Corona and rear-drive Celica) springs to mind. Even with­out any mod­i­fi­ca­tions, the Toy­ota

18RC was mak­ing 75kW against the Starfire’s 58 pid­dling kilo­Watts. It was also smoother, lasted longer and was vastly more re­li­able.

To this day, the Corona with the Starfire Four is the poor re­la­tion in Toy­ota cir­cles and the less said about the four-cylinder Com­modore the bet­ter. About the only good thing to come out of the whole, oth­er­wise com­pletely re­gret­table episode, was the Starfire con-rod which had to be stronger to cope with the four-cylinder har­mon­ics and stresses. Those of us old blokes who still mess around with Holden sixes are very fa­mil­iar with, and fond of, the Starfire con-rod.

“AF­TER A COU­PLE OF HOURS AND A COU­PLE OF FALSE STARTS IT WAS SORTED”

ABOVE A raw Starfire block cast­ing? Now there’s a ques­tion...OP­PO­SITE PAGE Who knew a sim­ple push but­ton could arouse such pas­sion?

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