It’s that time again. Not Chico time, but SEMA time. Yes, the largest modified car show… in the world kicks off next week in Vegas, and the first cars are starting to appear.
Unlike early 90s tuning - which took place in McDonalds car parks where the greatest accessory was an underdressed girlfriend - manufacturers aren’t the awkward parents of the tuning world anymore. They embrace it, none more so than Toyota’s yoof brand, Scion.
Scion are holding their annual Tuner Challenge for the eighth year at SEMA. And it’s not iQs going under the knife this year, but the hottest thing in car modification since dragon graphics, spinners and neon lights - the FR-S (that’s American for Toyota GT86).
Three tuners from three different parts of the US have been given a box-fresh FR-S, three months and a build budget of $15,000 to do whatever they like in an attempt to impress the judges. The winner gets a $10,000 grand prize and respect, which everyone who’s ever watched The Fast and The Furious knows goes far in tuning circles.
As you can see from the pics, each modding bloke’s gone down a different route. The most extreme is Daniel Song’s FR-S GT, which is inspired by a GT300 race car. There’s a full cage, massive wing and no audio system - a big gamble to take in the tuning world where you’re a no one if you can’t smash your rear ‘screen with a sub.
John Toca’s Carbon Stealth FR-S is more performance orientated. It’s got a Vortech Supercharger up front as well as a posh Cusco half air, half coilover suspension setup as well as plenty of high-end audio equipment.
Meanwhile Chris Basselgia, who’s representing the east coast, has gone with a toothpaste-inspired “minty FReSh” FR-S. It’s running air suspension, a light leather interior, wooden steering wheel, and most importantly… stickers.
We’ll have all the highlights and winners from the show next week on TopGear.com from our crack team in Vegas, but for now, you be the judges and tell us your favourite in the comments below.