Every year, SEMA picks four vehicles that they feel are the best platform to modify and design parts for. The four categories are Hottest Sport Compact, Hottest Car, Hottest Truck, and Hottest 4x4/SUV. Each is typically awarded to new vehicles or vehicles that have received a significant update. 2 years ago, SEMA created the award for Hottest Sport Compact and as most of you know, import cars fall into this category.
Text by Matt Haugness. Photos by Kyle Gunst and Matt Haugness.
Judging from the number of Scion FR-S’s at the SEMA show this year, it was no surprise that it was selected as the Hottest Sport Compact. Nearly every import car part manufacturer had an FR-S or a BRZ in their booth.
Here's a quick video that Kyle recorded while walking around the Scion booth. Some of the best FR-S's in the show were located in this section of the show.
All three of the Scion Tuner Challenge cars were roped off in the Scion booth for all of Tuesday and most of Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon, Scion announced the winners. Here’s a breakdown of how they placed and along with a short video interview of each builder prior to the show.
Third Place – Daniel Song
Daniel's carbon fiber wrapped GT-inspired FR-S was my favorite of the three. While there were some slight imperfections in some parts of the build, it fit the look it was going for. The judges may have looked down upon the lack of a more elaborate interior which could have been why he placed third.
Second Place - John Toca
John Toca built what he called a “Carbon Stealth FR-S”. It had unique design elements and plenty of one-off parts that helped it place second. The light up Scion logo on the back of the trunk was a nice touch. Unlike Daniel, John’s car had a complete audio system along with an upgraded interior.
First Place - Chris Basselgia
Chris Basselgia took his FR-S to another level. Of all of the FR-S’s at the SEMA show, his was the lowest that I saw. He used quality parts throughout his build and instead of wrapping the car, he decided to go with mint green paint. The interior in the car was beautiful and in my opinion was the highlight of his build.
Scion kept one car under wraps for most of the show. After announcing the winner of the Scion Tuner Challenge, they took the car cover off of this TRD Supercharged FR-S built by Ken Stout Racing to compete in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge. Does this mean a TRD Supercharger is coming soon to the FR-S?
While it would have been great to see more variety of import cars at the SEMA show this year, the quality of the FR-S's throughout the show were top notch. I hope that other Japanese manufacturers notice how well-received this car has been in the industry and follow suit.
Did you miss our Best of SEMA post a few days ago. Click here to check it out.
[Sources: Scion, YouTube]