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Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S Project 2014 - Part 1

Chronicling our FR-S SEMA show car, built to battle Speedhunters & GT Channel

Feb 11, 2015

Our magazine production schedule is a li'l weird. I'm writing in September while you're probably reading this issue in December. This Scion build we're working on would have already debuted at SEMA-most likely you've already seen photos. But in case you're living under a rock, here's the lowdown: For 2014, we were selected to build an FR-S for the Scion Tuner Challenge at SEMA. Our competitors, Speedhunters and GT Channel, wouldn't be easy to beat, but we had a master plan to create an FR-S that wouldn't just oust our competition but make a statement for the entire FR-S/BRZ/86 community!

We knew we had to kill the exterior first, so we partnered up with LTMW in El Monte, California, for the body and paint work. Our goal was to use the Release Series 1.0 as a foundation for the build, then add our own flavor using Rocket Bunny flares and some custom aero pieces. We'd also paint the car a shade of yellow, similar to the RS1 color. Stay tuned next month for an update on the body.

With so many great FR-S builds popping up for the last two years, we knew we had to wow the crowd at SEMA, so we couldn't just have a rockin' exterior, but also do something under the hood that would receive global attention. Since this FR-S was ultimately owned by Scion and would never see the track-our goal wasn't necessarily to make the most power. If we built it to 600hp, we wouldn't even be able to enjoy it! So instead, we looked at making the engine bay just as showstopping as the exterior would be.

First, we collaborated with Gearheinz to shave the bay. They stripped out everything and made a plan to ditch anything unnecessary such as the A/C. Gearheinz then created a custom tub so you wouldn't see any holes or edges. The idea was to have the engine basically floating in the bay by itself. We also received help from Rywire to build a custom engine harness. We'll have more updates in the next issue as well.

Now we couldn't leave the engine stock, of course, and installing a supercharger or turbo wasn't anything new. We also looked at swaps, but it was too expensive and with a 90-day time frame, would have been near impossible to finish. Instead, we decided to stick with the FA20 and opt to go with individual throttle bodies. Since the FR-S is inspired by the Toyota AE86 Hachiroku, we thought, "Why not make the engine reminiscent of the treasured 4A-GE 20-valve?"

We'll go more in depth with the build in the coming months, but hopefully you dig what we've started so far. And if you haven't already, check our SEMA coverage online to see the finished car!

Scion tuner challenge FRS project car stripped engine bay 02 Photo 2/5   |   Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S Project 2014 - Part 1

Days after LTMW picked up the car from our office, Gearheinz didn’t waste any time stripping the entire engine bay until it was buck-naked.

Scion tuner challenge FRS project car gearheinz custom plates 03 Photo 3/5   |   Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S Project 2014 - Part 1

From there, Gearheinz began creating custom plates to cover the firewall and both wheel wells, plus adding bars for structural integrity.

Scion tuner challenge FRS project car ryan basseri 04 Photo 4/5   |   Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S Project 2014 - Part 1

Ryan Basseri of Rywire along with Mr. Gearheinz go over the factory harnesses. Stay tuned next month for a look behind the scenes of our custom engine harness.

Scion tuner challenge FRS project car long tran 05 Photo 5/5   |   Scion Tuner Challenge FR-S Project 2014 - Part 1

Long Tran of LTMW and Gearheinz taking some measurements in preparation for the individual throttle bodies from Borla.

Special thanks to Gearheinz


Garden Grove, CA 92843
El Monte, CA 91732
Borla Induction
Johnson City, TN 37604
Sam Du
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