Rob Richardson purchased this KP30 Toyota 1000 when he was 18 years old. In the 18 years of ownership that followed, the car took him to university and subsequently to work. It outlived jobs, house moves and relationships. It even transported Rob to his wedding and saw the arrival of not one but two children.
After all that, Rob recently sold the little Toyota. ‘How could he?!’ I hear you ask. I had the same question too…
I first came to know about Rob from his personal blog (remember those?) called Racer86. I’d occasionally see his cars at events, and then in 2012, the 1000 appeared on Speedhunters. In the time since then, the Toyota received curated upgrades as Rob’s taste evolved.
At first glance today, the 1000 resembles what I would imagine Toyota releasing back in the late-1970s as a homologation model for a smaller-capacity touring car series. All of the work put into the car reflects a ‘clubsport’ influence.
The 1000 recently underwent a full rebuild of its retrofitted 1,500cc 5K, an engine most commonly found in older Toyota Hiace vans. The now high-compression and cammed four-cylinder features twin 40mm Dellorto carburettors and a custom exhaust system.
The car used to run a fairly aggressive stance, with 13×7.5-inch front and 13×9-inch rear wheels with stretched rubber barely fitting under the arches. Since then a more subdued approach has been taken. Incredibly rare Bridgestone Sharak wheels with more sensibly-sized tyres sit in their place.
Much of the drivetrain remains the same as before, with a 5-speed gearbox sending power to an extremely rare TRD differential. While the latter was mentioned in Bryn’s story from 10 years ago, it requires repeating. Through no association other than owning the same type of car, Koji Iwasa from Cha Cha Racing Family answered Rob’s call via the internet for a TRD differential, and then shipped it from Japan along with a care package before asking for a menial payment.
A Cha Cha Racing Family sticker – something gifted to very few people by Iwasa-san – takes pride of place on the 1000’s back window.
The interior has also had a sympathetic makeover, with the bare rear passenger area now covered in carpet to continue the clubsport-style theme, along with a period-correct tachometer and oil pressure gauge.
One of the best things the little car gave Rob over his custodianship was acting as a catalyst for new friendships, both here in the UK and abroad. Rob has also been fortunate enough to have owned a number of other fun cars alongside the Toyota; namely a G-body Porsche 911, classic Mini and first-gen Mazda MX-5 amongst others.
So to come full circle and make sense of how someone could sell on such an intrinsic part of their life, Rob put it better than I ever could.
“It had started to feel like 18 years going on holiday to the same place, the same hotel with the same food and the same views. All beautiful and wonderful. Always a fantastic time. But I’m ready to travel.”
Rob’s most recent purchase of a lovely BMW 2002 (that I hope to spotlight soon) brought with it the realisation that you should never have two cars that do the same thing. I’m not sure whether to call him a fool or a hero, but Rob has also placed an order for a new Morgan Super 3, which would not have been possible without parting with the little Toyota 1000. So while it’s a shame to say goodbye, Rob is already well on his way to experiencing new automotive travels.
What is the longest you’ve owned a car and if you’ve sold it, why? I’d be keen to hear experiences in the comments below.