Who would ever imagine that three guys could get insanely rich and famous by simply covering their faces in blue face paint, using household items as percussion instruments, and shooting gobs of goop into the audience? Well, the Blue Man Group has been going strong for over 20 years now, which means either they're really, really clever or American consumers are just really, really desperate for something different.
As you all know, any good article includes a metaphor. Enter Steve Wang's blue 2004 Scion xB. Not only is this beautiful box blue, but like the aforementioned infamous navy-faced mimes, the xB's unique profile truly stands out from the rest of the auto world.
"The shape was so different from anything on the market that it appealed to me," said Wang. He was so compelled by the uniqueness of the little box that he ended up quitting his job at Buddy Club and starting bBist, a parts manufacturer and distributor focusing exclusively on the Scion market. "When I saw that there was a lack of aesthetic parts, I decided to make them myself," he said. bBist was founded "for the enthusiast, by the enthusiast," he continued. Steve knew his first project car would have to be unique to stand out in the Scion community, so he decided to turn his xB not only into a kick-ass show car (common amongst Scion enthusiasts) but also a competent track car.
One look at the exterior of Steve's xB and you can see that this is no ordinary box. The first thing that strikes you is the metallic blue color expertly painted by MOB Works. Then your eyes soak in the unique VERT body kit imported directly from Japan. bBist created a treasure trove of carbon fiber parts for the box, including a vented hood, fender flares, trunk handle and mirror covers. The tasteful rear spoiler is a VS-style piece made by bBist-to Steve's credit it does not look like a shopping cart handle. Even the shoes match the uniform-this box rock's a set of 18-inch Sportmax Model 006's with custom blue faces wrapped in Falken FK-452's.
But there is more to this little xB than its blue motif. It's actually fast too, a statement generally reserved for its sportier brother, the tC sports coupe. The biggest mod was a turbo fabricated by DRAG Turbo. Steve turned to Spearco for an intercooler and piping. Exhaust gasses are expelled through a Magnaflow catalytic converter and an ES Technica exhaust. GReddy supplies the "PSHHHT! PSHHHT!" sounds with a Type R blow-off valve. All of this contributed to a dramatic power gain... temporarily. It turns out our boys at Aichi don't like it when we mess with their bulletproof engines. "Each configuration lasted for only one and a half months before the factory ECU picked up something and started throwing codes," he says. A combination of bigger 310cc injectors from RC Injectors and the GReddy E-manage system seemed to do the trick with the help of tuning by F5 Fujita. With the right pieces in place the little blue box went from stock 92 hp on the dyno to 145 hp at 5,800 rpm. That's a whopping gain of 36 percent over stock! (Yes, I'm Chinese and yes, I do like math, thank you very much. Now back off before I kick your ass or build a railroad). An ACT X-treme clutch kit takes care of transforming the xB's newfound mojo into forward movement.
Power is just one part of fast, as you all know. Handling is just as important as horsepower, if not more so. Steve opted for an ACC Air Runner system with KYB shocks to drop his ride. Suspension guru John Hotchkis provided both front and rear antiroll bars to help keep the chassis stiff. Other stiffening parts (you can laugh, we just did) include a front strut brace by APR Performance, lower tie bars and braces by JIC up front, a JDM TRD four-point lower brace in back, and a bBist carbon fiber C-Pillar brace-that's enough braces to supply an English middle school! Stopping power comes from a Forged Superlite big brake kit by Wilwood that includes four-piston calipers, 13-inch rotors, and high performance pads and lines.
Steve entrusted the good folks at DV8 Upholstery in Downey, California to provide the interior decoration services. Bride Brix 2 seats were installed along with upholstery in, you guessed it, blue. The stock door panels were covered in black suede to provide a nice contrast to all that blue. A Webasto sunroof was also installed, making Wang's ride suitable for all those sunny Cali days. The xB was treated to a host of dress-up items including Auto Meter gauges, a MOMO steering wheel, a GReddy shift knob and RAZO pedals.
While we know that no racecar builder in the world cares much about audio, the bBist xB was intended to be a capable street and show car. Every show car (even the fast ones) need ICE. California Sound stepped in to install a host of audio goodies from Alpine including a head unit, speakers and amps. Thanks to them, Steve can now listen to the hit music of folks like the mighty K-Fed anytime he wants. Po-Po-Zao!
Not only has Steve put together a clean and unique xB, but his ride is used daily on the streets. He's even organized a track day program with help from Speedtrial USA for Scion owners and enthusiasts (called Moscion, get it? It's pronounced "motion"). After a quick switch to track shoes (17-inch Sportmax Model 003 forged wheels clad in Falken RT-615's), the Little Blue xB That Could can be found tearing it up at the Streets of Willow. This is his way of helping to encourage the performance side of Scion amongst the Scion crowd. He wants folks to put down the Quick Detailer and get on a track, any track.
It's not often that you come across a blown xB. It's even rarer for that xB to be so well built and so incredibly, well, blue, for lack of a better word. And to see it on a track of all places, now you're talking one-of-a-kind. In a world of me-too show car themes, it's refreshing to see a car with a different take on what a project car can be. Who knows, maybe one day we'll see it on display at the Venetian along with Blue Man Group. We just hope it's not used as a percussion instrument.
HOMETOWN Lake Elsinore, CA
DAILY GRIND Owner and operator of bBist.com
POWER 145.15 hp at 5,600 rpm; 139 lb-ft at4,200 rpm
UNDER THE HOOD 310cc RC injectors; DRAG turbo kit; ES Technica exhaust; Magnaflow catalytic converter; GReddy Type R blow-off valve; Spearco intercooler; Sun Auto ground kit and Hyper voltage kit;
DRIVETRAIN Trd shift kit; GReddy shift knob; ACT X-treme pressure plate and full face disc
STIFF STUFF Acc Air Runner air-ride system with KYB shocks; Hotchkis front and rear anti-sway bars; APR Performance front strut bar; bBist carbon fiber C-pillar brace; JIC two-point front lower tie bar and four-point front lower chassis brace; JDM TRD four-point rear lower chassis brace
STOPPERS Wilwood forged Superlite big brake kit with four-piston calipers and 13-inch rotorsROLLERS Sportmax 18x8.5 Model 006 wheels with Falken FK-452 215/35R18 tires
OUTSIDE Vert Japan body kit; bBist VS spoiler; paint by MOB Works; graphics by 5th Dimension Sign Works
INSIDE Bride Brix 2 seats; custom black suede door panels by DVS Upholstery; Auto Meter carbon fiber gauges; MOMO Monte Carlo steering wheel; RAZO pedals; Webasto sunroof
ICE Alpine CDA-9807 head unit, MRV-F450 and MRV-F500 amplifiers, SWR-1541D subwoofer, SPR-17LS 6.5-inch component and SPR-136A component