Scion Tuner Challenge Details:
- Three contestants representing the East, Pacific Northwest, and Southern California
- Judge panel included Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Wong and Senior Feature Editor Sam Du
- 90-day time frame and $15,000 to build a 2014 Scion tC
- Grand Prize winner took home $10,000
Now in its ninth year, Scion hosts another Scion Tuner Challenge. The winner was revealed during this year's SEMA 2013 held in Las Vegas, NV. This year three tuners were chosen to represent the East, the Pacific Northwest, and Southern California. Each builder was handed keys to the new 2014 Scion tC and $15,000 to build the car that best epitomizes their respected tuner scene. The tuners were given a 90-day time frame to have their car completed.
First up is Josh Croll from Mertztown, PA. Probably the wildest concept out of the bunch with a right-hand drive conversion. Croll fuses a hot rod orange color, European lines, and super-wide wheels. His car was completed in-house at Croll's Customs. "This tC is a modern day hot rod with clear Japanese roots," Croll said. "It has the uniqueness, style and power to win this competition."
Young Tea from Alhambra, CA the co-founder of Scion FR-S community was chosen to represent Southern California. Tea and his team envisioned the Scion tC to be both a daily driver and track warrior. His concept is called "Simpli-tC" or simplicity. He kept design cues of the tC while adding fender flares, a custom dual-outlet exhaust rear diffuser, and air suspension for that slammed look at car shows. "The tC popularized the concept of cost-effective and easy-to-modify coupe, and that principle inspired this SEMA build," Tea said. "We want to show people what you can build in the garage, and that you can be proud of your car."
Last, but not the least is Seattle tuner Walter Franco owner of lifestyle brand NAMSAYIN. Franco partnered with DTM Autobody in El Monte, CA to create the ultimate VIP tC. The interior uses a combination of suede, leather, and diamond stitching. For the exterior, he chose pearl white for a clean VIP feel. A shot of nitrous was added to the engine for an extra kick. "We aimed to reach that next level within the VIP style with performance capabilities and a good sense of design cohesiveness," Franco said. "This build represents the new direction I want to bring to the industry and the skill represented here in the Pacific Northwest."
A panel judged the cars that included Super Street Editor in Chief Jonathan Wong and Senior Feature Sam Du. The winner took home a $10,000 grand prize.
"Showing off the three Tuner Challenge builds ahead of SEMA lets more Scion enthusiasts see the incredible creativity and craftsmanship that went into these tC vehicles," said Steve Hatanaka Scion marketing and special events manager. "We hope will be inspired by the versatility of the tC as displayed by our custom build. Our panel will have a difficult job choosing the ultimate winner."
Ultimately Young Tea and his Simpli-tC concept had the edge and took home the trophy. Second place went to Walter Franco with his Scion L-DZ, and third place went to Josh Croll and his Scion WSD tC.
"It may have been a dash to the finish, but the car looks amazing thanks to the team's hard work," Tea said. "With the new styling, the tC was a great platform to take on this challenge, and it inspired our team to bring out a concept we believe in. Stay true to who you are."
Prior to SEMA Scion hosted a preview party with all three tCs and a few other builds that were to debut during SEMA. One of the builds that stuck out was Ken Gushi's Scion FR-S equipped with the latest Rocket Bunny aero and powered by a GReddy 2JZ engine good for 750hp. It was such a big hit that it was awarded Gran Turismo's Best Asian Import at SEMA.
Another amazing build comes from Bulletproof Automotive with its Varis Scion FR-S. We're told that the car is pushing over 500hp, which is unheard without an engine swap. Adding to its uniqueness is its turbo kit. The kit was taken off of Amuse's own ZN6 car and is now sitting in Bulletproof's engine bay.
To some Scion is just another carmaker, but for tuners it serves as an inspiring lifestyle with affordable aftermarket customizations. The impact of the Scion FR-S alone will echo in automotive industry. Some may even call it the savior of the tuning industry. It just might be.