Scion at SEMA
Showstoppers on tap for auto maker’s fifth year at iconic trade event
Las Vegas, NV, 11/01/2008 – Scion returned to Las Vegas this November to again take part in the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show, the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. In the tradition of its four past appearances at the affair, Scion unveiled a number of creative project vehicles, including new offerings for its Art Car campaign and tC Tuner Challenge.
Since its launch, Scion has commissioned street legends and the art community's finest to take an imaginative spin on Scion vehicles with its Art Cars. For SEMA 2008, a trio of xB is the medium, with artists Blaine Fontana, Kenton Parker, and Jeff Soto roughing it, serving up greasy grub, and going flat-out on the salt flats in their respective builds.
Washington fine artist and designer Fontana was inspired to turn his Scion urban utility vehicle into something suited for less urban trappings, characterizing it as a multi-purpose road trip/camping utility vehicle. Fontana's Art Car xB has a tailgate-mounted shower that's usable when the hatch is open, and an Overcamp tenting system - a collapsible tent setup anchored to the Scion's roof.
The amenities don't end there; the xB also boasts a sink, refrigerator, dog bed, dog door and propane range and chopping block unit on the side of the vehicle that folds up and away. Outdoor types and other wilderness travelers will also appreciate the Scion's bigger off-road tires, search light, roof bike rack, and reinforced bumper with fog lights and a welded pole system to string a hammock to a tree.
Parker, an artist/designer based in Los Angeles, went less utilitarian and more whimsical in his xB interpretation. Dubbed the Roach Coach xB, the motif is based entirely on the ubiquitous catering/food trucks that are common sights at construction sites and industrial parks.
The Scion mobile kitchen Art Car will rock a fridge, stove, sink, countertop area, and oven, in addition to a large service window on the side of the urban utility vehicle. Furthermore, the windshield and side mirrors will be adapted to reflect the no-frills counterparts found on actual roach coaches. String lights that extend outward from the roof of the xB will keep the party festive.
Fellow Southern California artist Soto opted to pursue a classic racing theme with his Art Car, conjuring up the Bonneville Salt Flats Scion xB. At first glance, the vehicle bears all the correspondent go-fast modifications found on classic land-speed racers, such as a lowered ride height, custom aluminum wing, brushed aluminum racing hubcaps, and a TRD supercharger under the hood.
Aesthetically, Soto's lakebed hot rod xB sports a six-inch chop top, shaved doors, a custom wrap, and a deep blue shiny window tint. The cerulean shading accentuates a deep teal and sheet metal cabin that flosses a race-inspired roll cage, racing seats and harnesses, short shifter and knob, and aluminum steering wheel.
For the 2008 Scion Tuner Challenge, builders were invited to trick out the tC, with the winner to be announced at SEMA. Scion picked three builders and gave them each a 2009 tC and limited budget to modify the car however they pleased. The challenge will be judged by the National Custom Car Association (NCCA).
Looking to shatter all previous stereotypes of what a "tuner" car can be, Eddie Hahm of world famous speed shop Fast Eddie's Garage in Los Angeles came up with what he calls the "Neu-Vintage" Scion tC for the challenge. The project employs design cues from a variety of sources to create a crossover vehicle of sorts that culls from generations of modifiers. For the endeavor, Hahm admits to being influenced by salt flat race cars of early Bonneville, World War II aircraft, and the coach-built automobiles of the 1930's.
The tC's exterior gives off a decidedly retro look, with the copious use of rivets in the body panels and a "bare-metal" appearance akin to 1940s-era bombers. The old-school touches also include punched louvers on the hood and rear deck lid and vintage wire wheels shod in Firestone rubber, nods to the hot rod ethic of customization. The Scion's body isn't a complete throwback, however; Hahm did adorn the sport compact in a Five Axis lip kit.
Inside, the military aircraft motif is sustained by way of more rivets, bomber seats, and a shifter that utilizes a pistol steering grip from a P-51 Mustang fighter. Under the hood, Fast Eddie's has prepped a naturally-aspirated race motor for the tC, while the chassis has also been upgraded with a competition coil-over suspension, anti-sway bars, bushings and control arms.
Mark Arcenal, founder and creative director for Fatlace and a member of the Nike Global Digital Design Group, has been building cars for more than a dozen years and always brings his extensive knowledge of subcultures into his creations. Previous Arcenal projects, whether inspired from drag racing, drifting, or street driving, have wowed SEMA crowds in years past, and for the 2008 Tuner Challenge he plans to turn to a DTM theme for his tC.
The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (or DTM) is a touring car racing series based in Europe that has encouraged a global tuning phenomenon similar to the Japanese Domestic Market (or JDM) fad gripping parts of the globe. In pursuit of the DTM aesthetic, the Fatlace tC rocks front and rear fenders that have been modified and widened to echo the touring car look. The faux racer also sports gills in the front fenders and a short rear spoiler with square end plates, plus myriad other modifications and upgrades.
The final entrant in this year's Scion tC Tuner Challenge is the "Revault tC," made by John Pangilinan, customizing consultant, marketing champion, and one of the first Scion xB owners in California (he is member number four on Scionlife.com). Employing elements of modern architecture and design, highlights from the Pangilinan Scion include a custom wide-body kit and an elaborate in-car entertainment system.
Still more custom Scions will dot the auto maker's booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center at SEMA 2008, like the "Ruthless Cartel" xD engineered by sport compact drag racer and vehicle builder Jeremy Lookofsky and his Drag Cartel outfit. Lookofsky's Rockstar Energy Drink Scion xB was one of the show's must-sees in 2007, and this year he was inspired by the leftover ideas from previous projects that he keeps in what he calls his "design bank."
Stylistically, the Ruthless Cartel xD is an homage to the '60s open-air look, sporting a chop top similar to what the Rockstar xB had last year, where the xD's B pillars have been removed and the rear doors welded shut. The exterior will also feature custom body panels, Extreme Dimensions front bumper, and a molded rear wing, made uniform with an orange base color and Jerk Designs graphics.
The xD will ride on 20 x 8-inch Cartel 2 Color 100-spoke wire wheels and a Master Image air ride system. Furthermore, the engine has been souped up with a TRD intake and sport muffler, and Drag Cartel sports header.
The Ruthless Cartel xD has an eye-grabbing cabin as well, marked by white leather and black upholstery accents on the front seats, door panels, trim panels, and around the audio system. Hot Rod Low Rise bucket seats were the call up front, while in back Lookofsky set up a Cartel custom rear loveseat. Finally, an extensive in-car entertainment system keeps the xDs occupants rapt, made up of an Alpine IVA-W505 head unit, 12-inch in-dash monitor, SWR-1042D 10-inch subwoofers, a half dozen PDX amplifiers, and SPX component speakers.
More than 2,000 exhibitors set up displays in over one million square feet of space at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the industry-only SEMA Show, which ran from Tuesday, November 4 to Friday, November 7. Since customization and personalization are Scion cornerstones, SEMA is a natural fit for the automaker, especially as it celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. For more, visit www.scion.com/scionracing/events/ and www.semashow.com.