Behind The Scenes>> The Scion Fr-s Launch Event

I am, by no means, new to press events. But to this day, I still find them to be a strange affair with an almost fantasy-like quality. Back in August, I had the opportunity to attend the North American debut of Pagani's newest car, the Huayra. It was rather posh event filled with free flowing champagne, fruit infused sparkling water and exquisite hors d'oeuvres whose names I'll never be able to pronounce. And in those few hours, I was in the fantasy land created by Mr. Pagani himself –and it was magnificent. 

Last night, I was once again whisked away to a land that was, in no way, a representation of real life. Because if real life consists of drool-worthy Toyotas bathed in blue, violet and red lights, then I'm definitely missing out on something here. One thing is for sure, Scion knows how to put on a show.

Fellow Speedhunters Charles, Larry and I were in attendance to cover the debut of the highly anticipated production FR-S. 

As the event was invite-only, the first thing to do was check-in. Slight nervousness always wafts over me as I wait for the man behind the desks to find my name on the list. Did I apply for my name on the list correctly? What if my name isn't on the list?

After the usual questions of "How do you spell your last name again?"  and "How many Hs are in your first name?", my name was found and I was admitted in. Inside I was joined by a who's who of the So-Cal car scene. 

The venue was split into two rooms, with the first filled with a drift RC track put on by HPI Racing, video game consoles and two cars on display. I even spotted Fredric Aasbo's Team Need for Speed Scion tC in RC form. Cool!

I also found this wide bodied, mega slammed Mark IV Supra.

One of the two cars on display in this first room was this white Trueno. It's owned by ex-JTuned Editor, Brandon Leung, who now heads up BOWLS LA.

Next to the Trueno was this covered car, which turned out to be the GReddy tweaked FR-S. Charles has taken the liberty to look at the car closer, which you can check out here.

Larry and I arrived together, but as is the case with any event, he grabbed his camera and instantly disappeared. 

I left my big honker of a camera at home for the evening and opted to bring a newer light capturing acquisition instead. The new camera proved its worth and was rather robust in the dim Scion environment.

Familiar faces could be found throughout the two giant rooms. The "Voice of Formula D", Jarod DeAnda, was the MC for the evening. I was hoping he would scream "SENNDDD ITT!!" when the FR-S was unveiled but alas, it didn't happen. 

Another familiar face from the Formula D grid is Jonathan Bradford, the Falken Drift Team manager. Earlier in the year I was his understudy at an FD weekend to see what his job entails. You can read up on what JBrad does here.

I was somewhat surprised to see the 2011 Formula D Champion, Daijiro Yoshihara, at a Scion event…

Formula D driver, Toshiki Yoshioka, was also in attendance…

…As well as die-hard 86 fanatics, John Russakoff and Taka Aono.

Seeing how this was a press event, there was no shortage of journalists, photographers and videographers.

It was nice to see some of the Source Interlink guys like photographer, Nate Hassler and Super Street's Editor-in-Chief, Jonathan Wong.

The second room, known as the hangar, was where the FR-S was to be officially unveiled. Scion put up an amazing display of cars to flank the main stage.

They employed six Toyota fork lifts to hoist up iconic sports cars.

On the right side of the room was a very clean modified Levin coupe, a Lexus LFA and a second gen MR-2.

I don't think I've ever seen such an immaculate SW20 before…

Lining the left side of the room was, in my opinion, a line-up of even more desirable cars.

The first car on display was a rare Toyota 2000GT…

…Followed by a Toyota Sports 800. Apparently the FR-S was influenced by the styling of the 2000GT, the flat boxer engine of the Sports 800, and the put-a-smile-on-your-face driving dynamics of the original AE86.

Hidden down the back was this mint Toyota Supra. Finding an example in this condition has already become a rare occurrence. 

Jack Hollis, the vice president of Scion, gave a few words before the unveiling of the highly anticipated production car.

So with some pomp, circumstance and a touch of dubstep… 

..the production version of the FR-S was finally revealed

If Jon Russakoff's reaction is any indication of how the car will be received, then Scion have a hit on their hands.

Of course, with so many professional drifters in the audience, there was one question that was continuously being bantered around: how well does it drift? 


Scion FR-S stories on Speedhunters



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Scion is still a stupid name and brand. (you should approve this comment for a change, SH Crew.)



Scion is no more stupid than the crappy underpowered honda engin you name yourself by.


C'mon we all know what we acctualy want ...It's a spotlight on that beautifull AE86 , I like the new 86 especially the Greedy version but ... pls, do a spotlight on that AE :D


No, no.. no love for the Celica?

What is all that about mama? I think Toyota may have, may have, lost its way!



I believe that Scion is a smart move from Toyota, since the brand name Toyota is now associated with the older retiree's, and have a vehicle roster to suit them (even though they are releasing a model of this car, but thats just in Japan I beleive). Lexus is obviously for a higher paid market that wants luxary with some sport sprinkled in for good measure. Scion was built for the younger market, with less expensive fun cars designed to be modified simply, this was to obtain that market niche that they had let go. I highly doubt you even have a good reason as to why you think Scion is stupid, probably the same reason why you love "vtach" and your little Honda toys.


I hope some pro drifters will take it drifting... Yeah!


I gota second the honda kid, scion takes all things good from toyota and makes a crappy american version with cheap parts, but im hoping the frs is different, so far they have already stripped the foglights and I think changed the interior slightly.


Don't know why but it looks better that the Toyota...


Scion has become the ricer brand of toyota. If you have ever gone to a scion show you'll see 95 riced out cars and 5 good ones. I have photos of ricer TC's with giant wings. Worst part was they put it on backward. Same thing will happen to the FRS.


Well I think every brand has there share of ricers in it, there is a video of a riced out r35 on youtube, and riced out TCs but there are also ams r35s and worldracing/ptuning TCs...but I think credit is due here, they made a great platform for people to start building off of, yes of course there are a few differences from the jdm model but isnt that always the case? and im sure if your a diehard you will get it the headlights, badges, fogs for your car and it will be more personal then the others, hondas scions all that stuff you guys talk about on here is silly, facts are they came out with a new platform that will be taking to the extremes but the likes of private parties and global tuners.


No AW11? shame. Can't wait to see how this car goes IRL, toyota is WAY overdue for an affordable everymans sports car



have you seen Honda's? there is tons of rice, same with nissan, chevy, subaru, Mitsu, everybrand has rice, but its those that make them nice that define the brand,


I can't help but laugh at how people are ragging on the FR-S before we've even gotten a chance to see what it can do just because it's a Scion. You are aware that Toyota owns Scion right? And that the FR-S is the 86 with a Scion badge? Still the same car, so why is every one complaining?

More importantly, your low opinions of Scion is exactly why Toyota is badging it this way. The FR-S is an opportunity for Scion to improve its image.

One last thing I'll add, don't go accusing Scion of being a bad brand overall just because of what some Scion owners do to their cars. Did the thought ever cross your minds that Scion is not responsible for that?



In regards to D15B2 his honda motor doesnt even have vtec...... yet he thinks scion is useless, go figure.


this is what i like to see i miss the good ol days when bad ass compact jdm rwd and awd cars were at their prime oh this is good good indeed


"Jezza said: @D15B2,

Scion is no more stupid than the crappy underpowered honda engin you name yourself by."



Talk about the car, not how awesome you all are - we are reminded of this enough and it is both tedious and banal


Honestly, why do you guys think we're interested in you feeling nervous about your name being on the list? We just want to hear about the car!


Yeah where were the Celicas? That 2000GT is just stunning, probably worth nearly as much as the LFA!


LOL @ Jezza! When the front side of the Scion version is viewed from certain angles, one could mistake it for a Genesis Coupe... Anyone else seeing that? I really wish Toyota would've released this under their branding (even though Scion is technically theirs), but Scion has the tC that just came out. I miss the days of seeing badazz cars with a Toyota badge on them. The cars I am mainly talking about are actually hoisted up on those platforms... Maybe it's just me... That MR2 takes me back to my '92 I used to own... Sad Face.


Does anybody know what camera Linhbergh was using? That thing looked good and took some great pictures.


@ Jezza : Disagree.


Ill take that SW20 over that FRS. Not because the FRS isnt cool, but because the MR-2 is just spectacular and Id love to be able to buy a "brand new' or close to it one.



Of course it will get riced out. It's a Japanese sports car that's relatively inexpensive. You should care less about the image the car will give you and more about the fun you could have driving it. The fact that it's a good base for customizing it to your OWN tastes is a plus.


That Supra is the one out of the Californian Museum I believe. Hotter than hell! <3


scion is dumb because they made this already shit car affordable in the american market?

ha buy the subaru then man, it has fog lights and a 30k pricetag.

go to england and import one then that'll be better, itll have foglights and red stitching in the interior, wow thats right red stitching and foglights with toyota badges!! OMG you jdm fan bois are whats stupid, You trip over whats missing in the jdm version and bitch and complain when all toyota has done is made it more affordable for you then anywhere else in the world. Taxes on vehicles are higher in every other part of the world and then toyota makes an affordable version in the one place in the world where its cheap as hell to own a car compared to and you complain over such non-sense like badges, interior, and f**ing foglightsss??? Go back to your honda forum now n00b....


Ive been excited for this release for some time, but at 34 I just cant relate to the Scion branding. The car is great, but a perfect example of the party demographic that scion relates to was recently displayed at the L.A. car show. I don’t want my car to go along with the "meet me at the club" vibe that the brand conveys (and i like to party). I have nothing against the automobile or the quality of the brands products, but as a consumer (all things being equal) i personally relate more the Subaru BRZ. That being said, we now have two new rear wheel drive cars on the market. Whether it be Scion or Subaru all enthusiasts will benefit


I really like this car. I think it looks better than its toyota or subaru counterpart. I just hope that trd parts will make their return. I have a 9thgen corolla and a 1stgen Mr2, and I would happily add this car to my driveway. I've actually been considering selling off the mr. duece to buy one.


all you scion haters can get it!

i have had an xb for awhile now and it is a rad, reliable car.

talk shit all you want but i guarentee 99% of you drive an undesirable p.o.s. and couldnt get a loan with your mommy's co sign to get one of these come next summer.

fkn d- bags


i didnt know they made a LHD Levin. LOL


@I don't think the celica played a very big part in this car, the performance one was an awd turbo powered beast... not a NA rwd car. I do love that MR2 that was there :)


I wish Toyota wasn't so ashamed of their past. I'd like to buy one of these cars and place Toyota badges on it just like it should have already. Scion is an embarrassment.


The definition of rice is trying hard to look cool in a slow car. If you hate that its sion baged then you are just sad you wont look as cool driving around in it and you are a ricer. Get over it, its an awesome car. This is a cool car being released under a not so cool brand name, its tequnically (sp) the opposite of rice.


God that sw20 is so clean


I don't see why the Formula D drivers are so excited by this, it'd be a damn tight squeeze to put an LSx in one of these!


I wonder who will be the first to do a v8 swap on one of these? haha


@Nick Watkins: It's a Fujifilm FinePix X100.


I find it interesting that they talk about the history of Toyota sports cars and have a Lexus on display while promoting a Scion, If they are promoting the cars as products of the same maker, why not have them under the same brand then? I feel like each brand loses significance if they make no effort to differentiate them at a show like this. I don't really care what brand they sell this as, but I don't get why they are using Toyota's image and history to support a Scion.


Although the AE86 looks really clean, it did not match the rest of the cars. What I mean by not "matching" is that it was the only one modified, the Levin front end was never available in the US, and the paint scheme was also never offered here in the US. Lastly, I think a hatchback/liftback would have looked more appropriate as the sporty AE86. Displaying a US version would fit the branding of Scion since Scion is also a US marketing brand.


Nice line up but SHAME ON TOYOTA!!!!!! for not having the MK3 supra! maybe they couldnt find a nice clean mk3 >_<


5x100 bolt


Can't wait to get my hands on one of these (:


To those asking about the would be an odd number of cars if you had one more. Could be due to space limitations. I don't know, just guessing. Wish I could have been there though. And I would like to see which teams take the FR-S under it's drift wing.


It's official, the Scion FR-S can drift . Formula Drift driver, Ken Gushi, made a short trip to Japan