To say things have been hectic over here is an understatement. Our GarageFRS project car is a special and unique buildup. Not only is it being built by two other magazines, Super Street and Import Tuner, but phase one has to be done in record time to get phase two on its way and completed before SEMA. If you've ever built a car for SEMA, you know it's always a rush. No matter how much you plan in advance, it's guaranteed to come together at the last minute.
Trying to avoid the inevitable, all three magazines went at the car full steam ahead. Super Street was in charge of the exterior modifications, and with help from all of you on Facebook, a JDM theme was chosen.
Small items such as JDM clear side markers, a shark fin antenna, a TRD shift knob, and GT-86 badging made its way onto our FR-S with ease. The JDM LED headlights, however, took a bit of electrical wiring know-how to get working properly, but after some trial and error, they are fully operational. These lights are an expensive upgrade (approximately $1,500 each), but the difference in look justifies the cost. Once you see the LEDs light up, you'll be glad you ponied up. The FR-S now looks like most of the new cars on the market, with those fancy LEDs as opposed to the cheaper stock projector headlamps.
On the inside, we decided that although the stock seats are supportive and comfortable, a proper set of buckets would be the best solution for the car. Thanks to Recaro, a set of Profi SPG black bucket seats were ready to drop in. To maintain a low seating position, a pair of Nagisa Auto superlow seat rails was used. Not only do these rails fit flawlessly, but they slide back and forth with blissful ease, making them probably the highest quality rails we have used. Add a MOMO Monte Carlo Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with splash hub adapter, and the FR-S' interior has gone from stock to track ready in record time.
On the suspension side of things, Import Tuner equipped the FR-S with a set of KW Variant 3 coilovers that are the perfect blend for street and track use. KWs are quickly becoming our favorite suspension because they are compliant on the street but maintain enough performance characteristics to be useful on the track.
While a stock FR-S doesn't necessarily need a big brake upgrade, once you see what we have in store for ours in phase two, you'll understand why a set of massive AP Racing six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers with equally impressive two-piece rotors found their way onto our car. Our Scion's braking capability just went from zero to hero.
The stock cooling system consists of a paper-thin radiator, and that's not something we're about to leave in. Koyo's racing radiator replacement is designed to cope with the rigors of hard-core track use. That's why it has an added cooling capacity (1/2 gallon), which provides up to 30 percent more cooling than stock. Furthermore, the all-aluminum radiator is thicker, 20 mm more than stock to be exact.
While we were under the hood, we took a moment to add a Cusco Type OS front strut tower bar that will help increase rigidity, and as a bonus, our Type OS bar came with the optional brake cylinder stopper we tested to see if it really works. With the stopper backed off, we could see the brake booster flex. With it in place, the flex was eliminated, so this mod is worthy of any track-duty FR-S. Not to be forgotten, a Cusco Type OS rear strut tower bar also made its way into the back between the strut towers to help tie the back end together.
Getting three magazines to agree on one wheel choice is a daunting task, but after seeing SSR's three-piece MS3 wheels, we didn't need to look any further. You really can't go wrong with a set of multispoke mesh silver-clad faces with polished lips. I know many of you want more lip, but because the Scion's engine is placed so low in the chassis, its suspension geometry doesn't allow for a deep, low-offset wheel. The fronts measure 18x8-inch +37 mm, and the rears are 18x9-inch +37 mm. With some Nitto NT05 tires residing on all four corners, sizes 225/40R18 in front and 235/40R18 in back, the wheel and tire combo is an ideal fitment for the stock FR-S factory fenders and looks superb.
And there you have it. Phase one of our GarageFRS build is complete, and much like everything being jam-packed into this article, wait till you see how much we cram into the next segments as we essentially strip down the entire car and rebuild it for SEMA, all within six weeks time.