As simple as it may be, driving a FR-S with only a handful of mods is extremely satisfying. It’s a testament to both Toyota/Scion and Subaru that their little sports coupe is about as good as a car can get straight out the box. But around here, we never leave things “good enough”—which brings us here, our latest project car in its first phase, built together with our friends at Import Tuner and Modified magazines. It isn’t slammed, not really loud—but people are noticing this everywhere it goes. Maybe people aren’t sure what to think. I’ve had plenty of seat time in a FR-S, more than most here, and it doesn’t fall short of keeping me a happy driver.
Being the obvious focal point of our widely successful Garage FR-S program, we had lots of ideas from the start of which direction we should take with the car—but as you can probably guess, with so many varying tastes across the board, we decided to let the people vote. We had master digital artist, Jon Sibal create three renderings for us that were purposely designed on exterior looks alone; any parts unseen weren’t to influence any decisions, and so we picked wheels and aero enhancements as the main parts. Version 1’s main upgrades included a Five Axis front bumper and a set of RAYS Gram Lights; Version 2 had more of a JDM flair, a modest drop and SSR MS3s; and Version 3 was just super dumped on Rotiform wheels. The masses selected Version 2 and we went straight to work recreating it as best we could.
Our first order of business was lowering the car using premium KW Variant 3 coilovers—having used KW before on other projects, we know they come preset from their factory for a pretty good drop, however, we went a little bit lower to help close the gap to the 18-inch SSR MS3s and the fairly beefy Nitto NT05 tires; no absurd tire stretch for us. With a lot of parts still in development, our only other suspension upgrades are the Cusco front and rear strut bars; the front bar actually houses the Cusco oil catch tank as well, making good use of available engine bay space, not to mention it looks crazy cool mounted to the strut bar. Working with a tight time frame, and again, with limited parts available to us, our engine upgrades aren’t big, yet the additions of HKS’ Premium Suction intake (an aluminum pipe that replaces the factory intake tube but retains the sound generator; it uses the stock air box but replaces the factory filter with a HKS Super Hybrid upgrade) and Hi Power exhaust helped net a few extra horses (you can see dyno results on garagefrs.com).
Being huge fans of the Japanese 86 meant we had to do a few JDM upgrades to our FR-S as well—but these parts don’t come easily…or cheap. Your local Scion dealers probably won’t be stocking these any time soon (bug them if that’s the case!), but places like Carson Toyota can special order them.
The JDM 86 headlights have a built-in LED strip and HIDs that do not come on the Scion. A
The side emblems, shark fin antenna and clear side markers can be installed within minutes but the JDM headlights require some extra finesse to get them working properly (we highly recommend picking up our December issue for tips on re-wiring the JDM headlights to work on the FR-S). But once we added these parts…they completely changed the look. Again, not for everyone and you must pay in order to play.
Within a couple days from the time we completed these mods, we shipped the car off to the body shop so Phase 2 could get under way. That meant nobody would even get to enjoy the car in its truest, most streetable way. So I took the keys and gave it a good run around the neighborhood. The suspension was fresh and tight, the FR-S bounced ever so slightly and I felt more connected to the road. Even with a brand-new set of Recaro SPG seats, the FR-S couldn’t have been more comfortable to cruise, and just gave off that gangster vibe. Parked, it looked perfect, as if maybe we should leave it alone. But this story doesn’t end here, though—not by a long shot. By the time you read this, the FR-S will have gone through a severe makeover, and if things go according to plan, will be making its rounds around the world for all eyes to see.
Engine 2.0L FA20 Boxer motor; HKS intake, Hi Power exhaust; Cusco oil catch tank
Footwork & Chassis KW Variant 3 coilovers; Cusco front and rear strut bars
Wheels & Tires 18x8"/18x9" +37 SSR MS3; 225/40R18 and 235/40R18 Nitto NT05 tires
Exterior JDM Toyota 86 HID headlights, side emblems, shark fin antenna, clear side markers
Interior JDM TRD Toyota 86 shift knob; Recaro Profi SPG seats; Nagisa Auto seat rails
Thank Yous HKS Japan; Cusco USA; KW; SSR Wheels; Nitto; Carson Toyota; Recaro North America; Griffin Motorwerke; More Japan