Having witnessed the sun drop past the horizon a few long hours ago, I swing the nose end of my ride under a slowly rising garage door. Slamming shut the car door and stepping through the entrance of my sad cardboard living arrangement, the only thoughts going through my head are mostly thanks that this is the end of another long day. As we grow closer and closer to deadlines, and even pass them, without having our work turned in or ready, my stress level builds proportional to my last minute workload. I switch on my TV and fiddle with the rabbit ears in order to grab one fleeting glimpse of my boob tube before having to settle back into writing mode.
Soon, a slick computer enhanced advertisement blasts across my screen. Leaning forward to catch every glimpse of this ad, I can't help but notice the amount of urban, youthful, hip-ness oozing out of every frame. On screen a boxy, stock Scion xB sits on top of a piece of wet-down, darkened pavement that could pass for any street on the eastside of Los Angeles. The xB proceeds to morph in every single way, from the shift knob changing through various models, to the paint color and wheels blending through umpteen different designs. As the ad draws to a close, the xB transforms into a very familiar orange beast before returning to its original state. Complete with a custom wide body and a DJ table that is motorized to extend out of the rear, that orange xB is known to many of our readers as one of Scion's crown jewels. Since the xB is one of the most extensively modified Scions ever, it takes a whole lot to match it, and there was only one other Scion capable of inspiring so much drooling, the tC. The infamous lime green wide-bodied turbocharged tC with a 43-inch motorized rear Pioneer plasma TV was built by the same madmen behind the DJ spinnin' xB. Those craftsmen go by the name of Five Axis.
The Huntington Beach, Calif. based company, which is a little more than a decade old, specializes in producing concept cars and other extremely one-off pieces. To our industry, they are the premier showstoppers, having built wildly imaginative versions of every car in Scion's lineup. After tackling the xB and tC, the only car left for Five Axis to touch was the diminutive xA. Having access to numerous resources such as: 3D computer and clay modeling, artist renderings, glassmaking, rapid prototyping, metal and composite fabrication, as well as 3-axis and their namesake five-axis milling, Five Axis could make anything their imaginations desired.
According to Troy Sumitomo, president of Five Axis, "a wide-body conversion was a given." Of course, many of us come up with ideas like this, but it is Five Axis that follows all of them through to fruition. The concept for the Five Axis xA Speedster was to incorporate both the public display element of the Wide-body DJ xB and the aggressive aerodynamic styling of the Wide-body tC. Paying close attention to Scion's MTV-generation targeted audience, Five Axis focused on one of the most prevalent hobbies nowadays-playing video games. Flash forward from the days of the Commodore and the original Nintendo, and modern video games are massively complex, graphics-driven magic boxes that continue to amaze both children and adults. With Playstations and Xbox's flying off the shelves, it was only a matter of time before people began incorporating TV's and games into their cars, unable to sever their umbilical cord-like attachment to video games.
Refusing to play their fiddle to everyone else's tune, Five Axis went beyond the path of just installing some LCD screens and a console into their xA. "Anyone can hook a game console up to a TV in a car so we had to go one step further... okay, maybe two," Sumitomo said. Instead of building a car where you just sit and pick up a controller to play games inside, Five Axis created an xA that would let you enter the game. With the underside of the motorized front-flipping hood acting as a screen for a high-lumen Casio video projector, the driver would be able to stop driving for real and use the MadCatz steering wheel and pedals to play Microsoft's latest driving game, Forza Motorsport, on the in-car Xbox 360. Plus, with the rear-motorized deck flipped straight up, two more Xbox 360 hub-linked gaming centers appear. Complete with LCD monitors and MadCatz wireless controllers, the two extra gaming stations allow three players total to race against each other at the same time.
Obviously, it is not a good idea to be playing video games projected on an open hood with the same steering wheel and pedals that are able to control the entire car. I don't know how good you are, but when I play racing games, I always seem to spend half my time hitting walls or catching air. It wouldn't exactly be the greatest thing if the car responded to my controls and ran into walls whenever I hit them in video games. To counter this point, Five Axis allowed the factory pedals to interface with the Xbox and made the stock Scion steering wheel interchangeable with the MadCatz gaming wheel.
The video projector and motorized hood were used instead of the massive Pioneer plasma TV (ala green tC) for one simple reason: In order to play games, the screen would have to be in front of the driver and the tiny xA doesn't have enough room to hold a huge 43-inch flat TV. The solution was to incorporate a video projector into the Scion and modify the hood so that it was hinged on the front end and would be motorized to flip up with the touch of a button. Another added bonus with a video projector versus a plasma TV is that, if the hood is not flipped up, the projector can display an image almost 40 feet wide on a wall 60 feet in front of the xA.
Adding to the drive-in theater experience is the extremely open-air nature of the body modifications to the Scion. Sensing the xA possessed the natural bodylines for a sheet metal reduction, Five Axis chopped the roof off of the Scion and added large openings in each side door. The xA's backseat was removed in favor of a motorized rear deck that hides all the extra electronics, including the new Xbox 360 gaming consoles, Casio projector, two 19-inch Samsung LCD monitors and a Pioneer HTP-2600 5.1 channel surround sound home theater system that uses Monster cables to reach the Pioneer AVIC D1 double-DIN navigation head unit.
Using factory CAD data, Five Axis created a template from which they could cut, mill and mold the new six-inch wider body. Completely constructed in-house in seven months time, the House of Kolor Persimmon Pearl-coated Scion xA boasts backing from some of the best in the industry. Resting on TEIN Super Street coilovers, the xA tucks 19x9.5-inch front and 19x10.5-inch rear Rays Engineering G-Games 99B wheels wrapped in 245/35/19 front and 295/35/19 rear Yokohama AVS Sport tires. 295-width tires on a Scion xA! I love it!
More an awe-inspiring show car than an actual road racer, this xA was fit with an AEM cold-air intake, DC Sports header and a Five Axis custom exhaust nonetheless. The TRD custom four-piston brake kit is also probably not going to see as much use as it was designed for, but the 328mm (12.9-inch) diameter of the rotor ensures that the right look is present for the right car. With room for only two passengers, it made perfect sense to envelop each occupant in Sparco Fighter seats and four-point, cam-lock harnesses, with Sparco pedals and an alcantara steering wheel ready for driving duties.
With their trio of wild Scion wide-body show cars now complete, Five Axis can rest assured that this is perhaps the craziest xA now in existence. With an eye-catching hue, a disgustingly well-constructed wide body, and the most immersive video game experience ever incorporated into a car, this xA is sure to become one of the Scion PR department's golden children. That is, if they ever stop playing video games inside and get out of the damn thing.
Behind The BuildName: troy sumitomoAge: old enough to have kidsHometown: irvine, caOccupation: owner, five axisHobbies: cars, diecasts, motorcyclesBuild Time: 7 monthsFeedback: firstname.lastname@example.orgHead to the message boards at www.importtuner.com to chat about this feature Vehicle.