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Supercharged Scion FR-S Gets Rare Varis Widebody

JDM parts galore update an internet famous build

Jun 8, 2015
Photographer: Stephen Brooks

Whether you're talking about music, fashion, business, or lifestyle, there will always be trendsetters. These are the people who aren't afraid to step out of their comfort zone and take chances in their industry. The same type of people can be found in our very own car scene. These individuals are the innovators, the game changers, the Noel Barnums of the world.

2013 scion frs varis widebody kit Photo 2/29   |   Makin' the Varis widebody kit look better than the actual demo car in Japan. Hot damn!

The story of Noel's Scion starts in '12 when the FR-S and Subaru BRZ first entered the market and became the world's next hottest tuner car. Building a unique FR-S or BRZ quickly became as difficult as building a dope Honda Civic in its heyday. But Noel was up for the challenge, especially after he fell in love with TRA Kyoto's Rocket Bunny rendering. It was that moment when he knew he needed to get his hands on one.

2013 scion frs ssr professor tf1 wheel Photo 3/29   |   The retro-themed 18" SSR TF1s in white are a perfect fit for the car—color, style, and size-wise.

As a hardworking student, he couldn't just walk up to his local dealer and drop some money on a fat down payment. After evaluating his funds, he eventually sold his current Toyota Corolla project and two Honda Ruckuses to afford a new FR-S. At the same time, he managed to get on the list for the first batch of Rocket Bunny kits, but with everyone and their mother trying to get their hands on the kit (our green FR-S included), it was only a matter of time until it was played out. So Noel devised his own mash-up exterior to set himself apart using Vertex parts. This inevitably made him stand out and landed him a feature in Import Tuner. But even then, he was already thinking about the next stage of his car, a stage that has now taken full form in '15.

"There were a lot of Rocket Bunny builds coming out," Noel began. "Joey Lee of The Chronicles brought up the idea of going Varis. It really wasn't an option I had thought about since I didn't know any distributors that could get me the kit. But Joey set up a meeting with Mastermind NA, and next thing I knew, I ordered a full Varis widebody with carbon accessories." Opting for a more rare body kit was only the first part of the equation; next the Rocket Bunny wing was substituted for a Legshort duck spoiler. A few additional changes included the Craftsquare carbon mirrors, carbon window visors, and Lexon taillights.

Updating the wheels and chassis came next. While the brakes and air ride remain the same, Noel coordinated with SSR and picked up one of the first sets of TF1s—a modern interpretation of the Super Fins. Improving the overall stiffness of the car came via a Safety 21 rollcage, Monster Sport, and TRD braces, plus Whiteline's entire catalog of arms and sway bars.

2013 scion frs keys racing semi cone leather steering wheel Photo 7/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Keys Racing Semi Cone Leather Steering Wheel

Inside the cabin, there's no shortage of top-shelf parts. The original front seats were ditched for a pair of Bride's edirb 23s—no cheap expense by any means. Instead of the Vertex steering wheel, Noel opted for a Key!s Racing semi-cone—much more aggressive if you ask us... FR-S aficionados will notice the JDM 86 cabin trim such as the door handles, sills, and buttons. The Touge Factory checkered floor mats round off the JDM-themed atmosphere while the trunk was rebuilt to house the air components within the spare tire well.

2013 scion frs vortech v3 supercharger Photo 8/29   |   One of the more immaculate FA20 engine bays we've seen with JDM goodies and a Vortech supercharger kit.

It's clear that Noel's FR-S is fitted with nothing but the best gear, and under the carbon hood is no different. "My favorite aspect of the build is the motor," he told us. "I spent a lot of time trying to find these Japanese parts that people weren't using in the States yet. From the TODA throttle body to the Monster Sport radiator hoses. I wanted something out of the ordinary and things that people weren't used to seeing and didn't think were available. I especially love the new Vortech unit. I wanted to keep the blower on the car, but I felt like it needed an update to set it apart. Neil Tjin at Vortech Superchargers came up with the idea of polishing the blower and the piping." The distinctive rumble comes from a Tomei unequal length header that eventually makes its way to an Arquray Schaferhund titanium exhaust. Power is transferred via an OS Giken Grand Touring clutch, which retains all the racing technology but incorporates a floating pressure system for a smoother and quieter operation—very important since Noel drives his car regularly on the weekends. The engine bay is styled with carbon-fiber pieces from the fuse box to the Zeek manifold covers.

Noel has managed to reinvent the FR-S for the second time and has done it with incredible swag and style. And even with the extensive list of rare JDM parts and his drive to always be evolving, what might impress us most is how Noel and his brother Hubert put the car together in their small garage in Long Beach, California—that includes the body cutting, the welding, and all the install work. "I always felt that it was cool to see these builds that were coming out of garages," he concluded. "It wasn't that I couldn't trust a shop—I just think it makes you appreciate your build more knowing that you played a part in each stage of the build."

Three biggest changes from Noel's '12 debut to today's look

2013 scion frs import tuner feature Photo 12/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Import Tuner Feature
2013 scion frs rocket bunny fenders Photo 13/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Rocket Bunny Fenders

Body: The biggest transformation of all was Noel's exterior. Noel wasn't sure if his version two using a Varis kit would match up to the Rocket Bunny style—luckily, it did and all was well in the world.

2013 scion frs vertex steering wheel Photo 14/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Vertex Steering Wheel

Wheels: If there's anything Noel excels in, it's his style. Before switching over to the brand-new SSR TF1, he was rolling in a set of discontinued Work VS-KF wheels—both look equally hot, but we think the TF1s take the win!

2013 scion frs works vs kf Photo 15/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Works Vs Kf

Interior: Noel changes the interior up but keeps it clean with a Key!s Racing steering wheel, Cusco five-point rollcage, and new edirb seats. He's also redone the trunk for a custom enclosure for the AirREX components—a very clean install.

2013 scion frs varis widebody kit Photo 19/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Varis Widebody Kit
2013 scion frs legsport rear spoiler Photo 23/29   |   Frshhh to death with the new smoked taillights and Legsport duckbill spoiler.
2013 scion frs jblood window visor Photo 24/29   |   Carbon accents galore.
2013 scion frs modellista engine cover Photo 25/29   |   The blower and its piping have been polished to perfection.
2013 scion frs varis widebody kit Photo 29/29   |   2013 Scion Frs Varis Widebody Kit
Jofel Tolosa
646 Articles
Supercharged Scion FR-S Gets Rare Varis Widebody
Tuning Menu
Owner: Noel Barnum
Location: Long Beach, CA
Occupation: Student
Engine: Vortech V-3 polished supercharger, carbon-fiber wrapped airbox, upgraded pulleys; Maxflow Race blow-off valve; 700cc Deatschwerks injectors, DW65c fuel pump; Koyo radiator; TODA Racing throttle body, pulley set; Tomei unequal length header; Milltek over-pipe; HKS cat-less test pipe; Arqray Schaferhund titanium exhaust; Legsport Hyper intake duct; Modellista engine cover; Zeek carbon-fiber manifold covers; Victory Function carbon-fiber radiator shroud, fuse box; Neoplot clear alternator pulley cover; GReddy carbon-fiber hood damper set, magnetic drain plug; TRD Japan oil filter oil sensor plate, carbon-fiber battery tie down; Monster Sport oil cap; polished AC pulley cover, coolant overflow tank; Acre brake master cylinder cap; Bolt Boys chassis bolt kit
Drivetrain: OS Giken GT2 Grand Touring clutch; Driveshaft Shop carbon-fiber driveshaft; MTEC Industries clutch line, clutch spring
Engine Management: EcuTEK Tuning software
Footwork & Chassis: AirREX suspension, pillow ball top hats, digital management; Beatrush rear bumper support; Monstersport front engine brace set; TRD Japan member brace set; Whiteline sway bars, endlinks, rear control arm toe correction, polished front strut bar, rear sway bar mount support, front gearbox positive shift kit bushing, cross member insert bushing, rear diff mount in cradle bushing, lower control arms
Brakes: AP Racing six-piston front, four-piston rear big brake kits; Goodridge stainless steel lines
Wheels & Tires: 18x10" -19 front, 18x11.5" -34 rear SSR Professor TF1 wheels; 225/40R18 front, 265/35R18 rear Falken Azenis RT615K tires
Exterior: Varis widebody kit, carbon-fiber hood; Legsport rear spoiler; JBlood carbon-fiber window visors; Beat Sonic antenna, rear window visor; TRD rear aero stabilizing cover; JDM 86 headlights, rear foglamp; Crystal Eye Japan front foglamps; Lexon Exclusive taillights; Craftsquare carbon-fiber touring mirrors
Interior: Bride edirb 023 seats, brackets and sliders; custom upholstered rear seats; Legsport reverse lever, seatbelt canceller, seatbelt harness anchor; WC Lathewerks Ti shift knob; TRD Japan billet shifter garnish, leather shift boot; Takata Drift III harnesses, shoulder pads; Cusco/Safety 21 five-point rollcage, harness bar; ATI triple meter gauge pod, carbon-fiber wrapped radio trim, driver-side vent pod; Defi BF Imperial series gauges; JDM 86 black trim buttons, door handles, door sills, European armrest; Works Bell Short Boss hub, Rapfix GTC; Key!s Racing semi-cone leather steering wheel; TI steering wheel bolts; Touge Factory checkered floor mats; OEM Audio + SL Series, dual 8" flush-mount enclosure, front and rear carbon-fiber speakers; custom false floor
Thanks You: Phaze2/Rawheart for pushing me and teaching me to never be content; Stickydiljoe for helping plan the next stages of the build; SSR Wheels; Vortech; Falken Tire; Evasive Motorsports; MV Designz; OEM Audio +; Stickyicons; Premier Autobody; Arqray exhaust system; Mastermind NA; my brother, Hubert Barnum, for helping me put together the car in our garage—all the blood, sweat, and beers were definitely worth it; finally, my girlfriend, Emily Sek, for dealing with my obsession of trying to keep reinventing the car and keeping me sane. She was and still is my rock

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