Scion Tuner Challenge 2014 Plays with FR-S Fire

Scion Tuner Challenge 2014 SpeedHunters Cover Photo
Image from

Article by Anthony Alaniz. Photography and video by multiple sources.

What would you do with a free Scion FR-S, and $15,000 and three months to modify it? And no, an LS3 engine swap is not a sufficient answer.

Each year three teams go head-to-head in the Scion Tuner Challenge building and modifying a Scion ride during the three months leading up to SEMA in Las Vegas, where they will be judged like Miss America contestants—on aesthetics, audio and visual, and overall execution.

For last year’s Challenge, Scion supplied three builders from around the country, Young Tea, Josh Croll and Walter Franco, with a Scion tC and $15,000, and said, "Have at it.”

Scion Tuner Challenge 2013 Young Tea tC

Last year’s competition was fierce, with all three putting up some impressive cars, and Tea taking home the win. Croll, who nabbed third place, built the world’s only right-hand drive tC, so there is that. But Tea’s Simpli-tC outshined the competitors.

Tea, known for his FRS86 lifestyle brand, took his tC to the next level with a full makeover. He added a custom wide body kit, MV Designs lip kit, Sparco seats and harness, and GReddy gauges with audio and visual antics supplied by Pioneer. Under the hood, Tea added a Garrett T3 turbocharger—you know… for more fun.

Scion Tuner Challenge - The Teaser

This year, the contestants are the media; representing online, video and print—wait, is print still even a thing?

We checked and yes, apparently, it is.

The three publications are GTChannel, Super Street and Speedhunters.

Scion Tuner Challenge 2014 Scion FR-S Series 1.0

Instead of receiving a ho-hum tC, the three competing teams will each receive a 2014 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0—along with the additional $15,000. We feel the FR-S is already quite great, so we’re excited to see what the three teams will do to make it even better and standout from the crowd (from what already hasn’t been done).

The Release Series 1.0 FR-S is a step above a regular model, offering a TRD aero kit, quad-tip exhaust, which adds like 10 horsepower in the cool bucket alone, TRD lowering springs and HID headlamps. The car comes in Yuzu yellow paint. Already, the Release Series 1.0 is limited to just 1,500 units.

Scion Tuner Challenge 2014 Scion FR-S Series 1.0 Build Progress
Image from current build progress.

Currently, the three teams are right in the middle of their builds, working feverishly to out build the competition. With such great underpinnings already, it will be interesting to see what the three do to win the competition. To what crazy lengths will they go to win? We will have to wait until SEMA to find out, but stay dialed in here as we cover the updates as they’re dished out.

Scion Tuner Challenge Update


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Anthony Alaniz (Anthony_Alaniz)

Born and raised in southeast Michigan. Chose to stay out of necessity. Staff writer at a small community newspaper covering city government, the schools and whatever else happens in town. J-school graduate from EMU, weekend mechanic, car enthusiast and open-road connoisseur. Open to all invites of hospitality and adult beverages.
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