Last night, most of the who’s who in automotive media were invited to a special party at Milk Studios in Hollywood, hosted by our friends at Scion. This party was a celebration, an introduction, and a firsthand look at their new baby… the front engine, rear wheel drive Scion FR-S.
Since everyone who has been on ANY form of automotive website in the past 6 months has undoubtedly already heard of the FR-S, I won’t spend too much time talking about the specs at this moment – we’ll wait for a test drive. However, let’s take a closer look at what everyone is hyping up as the new coming of the AE86!
I don’t think I’ve personally been to a “new car reveal” that had so much anticipation surrounding it… there were a TON of excited enthusiasts crowding all around the Milk Studios hall. I saw all types of people at the event: automotive aftermarket industry leaders, automotive writers and photographers, youth automotive tastemakers, Scion car crews, and my favorite, the die hard old school Toyota guys – the AE86ers. The presence of all these people made the event extremely memorable.
Anyone who knows me in real life might tell you that I fit into more than one of the aforementioned niche groups, but perhaps the thing that defines me most is my long relationship with Toyotas. I’m not talking about a business relationship with the people at Toyota Motor Sales on 190th Street in Torrance here – I’m talking about my longstanding relationship with almost all the vehicles that Toyota has ever produced.
See, the very first car I ever owned was a Toyota Celica. The very first car I ever drove was my mom’s Toyota Camry. Even back when I was four years old, I remember playing in the back of my grandfather’s Toyota Corona and Cressida wagon. Today, I own about six to ten (I lose count sometimes) Toyota vehicles in different states and countries, many of which are restored, modified, or awaiting modification. I have owned over 50 Toyota vehicles in my lifetime, and I’m not even close to 50 years old! My blood bleeds Toyota 3E6 red (that’s the OEM Toyota paint code for my 1986 AE86 GT-S, for those who don’t know), so being present at the public debut of what is being hailed as the new coming of the AE86 was certainly a big deal to me.
This is Jack Hollis, VP of Scion. You could tell he was excited to introduce his brand’s new baby to the public – he was beaming with excitement, from the ear to ear grin on his face, to the sparkle in his eyes and the loud echo of his golf clap! Mr. Hollis gave a great presentation explaining the thinking behind the new Scion FR-S, which you can find on YouTube.
There were sooooo many people crowding around the FR-S on the platform, it was really difficult to get many clean shots of the car. People were hovering all over the car, sticking their cameras inside the wheels and under the bumpers, taking as many detailed photos as they could… everyone was excited about the new FR-S, from the automotive aftermarket companies in attendance to the enthusiast members in the crowd.
While everyone else was crowded around the FR-S, battling each other to take bad photos with people’s shadows all over the hood of the car, I decided to walk around to check out the other cars on display. Of course, my eyes were drawn to this kouki AE86 Levin coupe with SSR/Modex Dori Dori wheels, owned by Oliver from Infinit Wheels. Story has it that the people at Scion asked him to take off all his stickers to be part of this spectacular unveiling. It was worth it, I’m sure… since having your own AE86 at the official FR-S unveiling was definitely a special honor that any AE86 owner would have wanted their car to be a part of. I have to admit, I was more than a little jealous, as my AE86 hatchbacks are all red, and match the red Lexus LF-A and Toyota MR2 Turbo in the background. However, I gotta give props and congratulations to Oliver – lucky guy!
Oh, I was also oddly drawn to the red Toyota forklifts holding up the cars. Rumor has it that these forklifts are powered Toyota 5K engines, which are actually perfect for swapping into a KP61 Toyota Starlet, which come from the factory with a 4KC engine.
Back to the FR-S, it was interesting to see the final taillight design and the rear bumper, which is equipped with an under-bumper splitter and a low-mounted rear brake light and reverse lights. Also, I noticed that the car comes stock with 225-width tires. Perfect. All we need to do is lower the car and mount wider wheels now.
Here’s a look at the cockpit of the car. The dual-din stereo allows for easy head unit upgrades, and the shifter and e-brake are both mounted high, and close to the driver. The tachometer is prevalent in the gauge cluster, with its white color separating it from the rest of the black gauges. The placement of round air vents next to the cluster looks like a subtle nod to the original styling of the AE86, which also had round (albeit, smaller) air vents next to the gauge cluster.
Oh yeah… notice the car has paddle-shift behind the steering wheel?
Leather wrapped door panel-tops were a GREAT idea for the FR-S. This is the area that wears down easiest on most door panels, since the driver’s elbow is usually sitting up there when driving with the windows down. Having different inset material and red contrast stitching, the OEM doorpanels look good, while providing easy customization options for future FR-S owners seeking to change up their interior colors. Single touch auto-up-or-down window switches also fit well into the doorpanel. At least these are Toyota switches, so I know they won’t break after 5 years, like the switches in my @#%@#$&!@ BMW wagon.
This is the shifter/center console view. Yes, I know… this particular car was automatic. I can’t wait to test drive a manual version! Oh, and see that VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) button? Let’s just keep that turned off. 😉
The Scion FR-S has sporty OEM bucket seats with side bolsters that remind me of a Recaro SRD adjustable seat. I love it! It would be pretty cool if it also had air-filled lumbar support, with a “blood pressure pump” style air pump, like the original AE86 did. I’m not sure what the lumbar support options on these seats will be; I’ll need to wait for that test drive.
One thing that concerns me, however, is the red inset on the seat. I hope that Scion gives owners an option of having straight-up BLACK seats, as I’m thinking that red inset fabric will fade and turn pink over time. While it might not bother most people, it might turn into an issue for an enthusiast who wants to keep their Scion FR-S for 30+ years. I only say this because I own a 38-year-old 1973 Toyota Corolla 1600SR with original orange paint and interior, and I also look at cars from the standpoint of a car collector/restorer. While most people probably aren’t thinking of this yet, these first production models of Scion’s FR-S will be collector’s items in the future.
The top of the FR-S sport seats also feature little fabric tabs that look like epaulets on the shoulder of a military jacket. Presumably, these fabric tabs are to keep the OEM seatbelt in place. I’d like to test out those tabs in person; I wonder how strong they actually are!
The Scion FR-S rear interior view shows the car’s 2+2 interior design. The fold-down rear seats don’t look like they would be comfortable, but who cares? You want to DRIVE an FR-S, not sit in the back.
Also, the rear seats look like they were shaped so that they could fold down FLAT, because according to Jack Hollis, “there’s just enough space in the trunk to transport 4 wheels/tires, a jack, and a toolbox to a track day.” Perfect, Jack. That’s exactly what we wanted!
Here’s an under-hood shot of the FR-S engine bay, revealing a powerplant with both Subaru and Toyota logos on them. More on this later.
The trunk opening of the FR-S doesn’t look very big, to be honest. For track day usage, it looks as if someone would have to carefully load their big wheels and tires into the trunk and slide them up front to the passenger compartment. Hopefully Scion’s product planning team will produce some accessories to ease with using this small trunk – maybe some carpet-mounted rails that would allow for easier sliding of heavy items to the front? Maybe some removable rubber trunk liners that allow one to transport wheels and tires and fluids while keeping their trunk carpet clean? I wonder what other great ideas people will come up with… the Scion FR-S will definitely be a customizer’s car. I wonder what the most popular aftermarket parts will be for this car…
:: Antonio Alvendia
More Scion FRS on MotorMavens
Scion FRS Driving Impression (Review) by an AE86 Owner: Antonio Alvendia of Cipher Garage
ahhhhhhhhhh! Sorry to be a no-show. The 30 day old experienced some issues and by the time I could leave, I knew I wouldn’t make it before the doors were closed.
Wow does the FRS look great in red! Did you sit inside it and get a feel for the seats or headroom for the tall enthusiasts?
Had I been invited formally by Scion then maybe I would have made an effort to attend. I had previous dinner plans which was a make-up of my birthday so I wasn’t going to pass that up. I had seen the 5 Axis version at SEMA so I got my FR-S fill in vegas. Although I would’ve liked to have seen a more up close and front row seat of the interior and engine bay at SEMA. Did they show the interior and engine bay or were those file/stock photos? What if any are the engine options? NA SC Turbo?
So from these pics of the event, I’ve seen most of these cars at the museum and at cars shows I even have a the same forklift. I thought that was Shannon’s coupe and Oliver had a red one? Well I guess I’ll have to wait when we get these in the office, which I don’t mind at all. Finally a sports car, a real sports car and a real wheel drive one. Thanks Toyota, Thanks Scion and Thanks Antonio for posting.
@HERBROCKONE: Dude, you WERE formally invited by Toyota! I put you on my list of 10 people that I could invite! I even asked them to send invites to Ricky Delacuesta and Ray from Racetoys. We were all surprised when YOU of all people weren’t there. Everyone was looking for you. Even Jay & Joyce were there! and Brian! And Yoshioka… and Jay Yoshida… and even JANSEN! LMAO I was hella surprised to see him there!
It was sent to your AOL email I think. (BTW, I think you’re the only person who still uses an aol email address)
Anyway… once I finally get the chance to test drive one, I’ll make sure you can peep it out in person, okay?
@FRSworld.Com : Sucks that you couldn’t make it, but we got plenty of of photos! It would have been nice for you to meet some of the people there, but it’s not a problem, there will be plenty of other opportunities. Right now taking care of your brand new baby takes a little priority over meeting Scion’s new baby.
I wasn’t able to sit in the car. There were SO many people trying to take photos and get access to the car, it was like a paparazzi-fest, where the FR-S was Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. Seriously, it was nuts. Really tough to take photos there! Everyone was getting mad at each other for “getting in the shot” and whatnot. It’s cool – you’ll have a chance to see it up close soon enough, I’m sure.
don’t kill me. in the first photo, the overall car’s shape makes me think of a mitsubishi eclipse, and the side/roofline/rear hips make me think of a hyundai genesis. the taillights remind me of a BMW z4, but bigger. no offense is meant, but i’m jsut sayin. i do like the car!
Wow….so much for not wanting a new car.
I think I might trade my Yaris in on this thing…..are there gonna be any other 17-inch wheel options offered though?
Also, I think somebody will have made a set of ITB’s for this thing by the end of next year.
@Anthony, I’ve been thinking about this for the boxer 4 for a bit. Originally I was thinking it’d be cool to do a boxer suby 4 cyl for a hot rod project and thought a boxer 4 would look way cool with 2 ITB’s on each side, facing up like the venturi’s on an old hot rod’s carbs. The engine is low enough to pull off 4-5 inch tall ITB venturi’s.
Man, this car has me so psyched. I was “jonesin'” on an AE86, but they’re non existent in Utah and my wife requires my car to have safety airbags. But, maybe I can get an FR-S/BRZ. Everything about this car, especially its design concept from Toyota (haven’t heard much about it from Subaru). They wanted “fun to drive” more than all out lap times and customizability. That’s what enthusiasts want. I think the aftermarket world has spent the last 10 years trying to go fast or go low and there really hasn’t been a lot of cars come out that were built to be fun to cruise and corner.
I did some searching last night and found some cars that enthusiasts love. The GT86/FR-S/BRZ has similar dimensions and power:weight ratio as cars like the FC RX7, E30 bimmers, the RSX Type S. What’s crazy is its 100lbs lighter, same power and rwd compared to an RSX Type S. I think cars like the RSX Type S would be amazing if built as FR. Come on Honda!!!
I find it so interesting that companies like Toyota and Subaru collaborated on this project. I mean, obviously, its a WIN WIN, but only the Japanese have the humility and presence of mind and attitude to work with a direct competitor. I mean, could you ever see Ford and Chevy work together to build a muscle car? That’s the equivalent to what Toyota and Subaru have done here. It’s truly a game changer.
Anyway, this car has me brainstorming how I can get into the aftermarket industry and build a company that provides parts for this car. That’s how inspirational this car is to me right now. Can’t wait to drive it. Instead of buying some Tein coilovers for the WRX, I’ll be “saving my pennies and saving my dimes, gitty up, gitty up, hachiroku2”. haha
Wonder if “86 LIFE” license plate is taken in Utah. hmmm LOL Ya, I’m hooked!!!
Very nice! I didn’t see you there, but seems like you had a great time!
Most popular mod for the FR-S? Badge swaps.
@jmac, or debadge the thing and have people guessing which of the 3 it is. It’s an 86!!! Just leave the piston86 fender badge on it. Although, I don’t think the BRZ has that. lame!!!
Im sure people are going to do the “jdm look” and re-barde it to Toyota. Imo they should have dropped in a 20v 4ag or a new high reving 2.0 motor but whats done is done. Dont know why they went with a Subaru boxer, not that its a bad thing but just saying. As long as its a RWD layout I cant wait to see what peeps do with the 86/FRS.
@super g: They went with a boxer engine as an ode to the Toyota Sports 800, the company’s first sports car. Originally came with a two cylinder boxer engine cranking out 45hp and capable of getting the tiny car up to 100mph.
what is that car?
I’m sure they went with the boxer because it made the most business sense. The Sports 800 tie-in is just a nice side bar.
So a boxer engine from Subaru , matted with what looks like a is300 transmission. Honestly does look kool as shit. I’ll trade my two cars for one FR-S.
I was there at the unveiling and it was packed. After 10 minutes of the unveil I told my buddy let’s head out and we will just check it out more thoroughly when it reaches the dealerships. I should have stayed a little longer because I didn’t get a goody bag. aaargh!!!
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.
One main reason behind the boxer engine in the FRS/86/BRZ was because of the profile of the engine. Where it can be placed and the deck height of a boxer engine is extremely low compared to your traditional 4 cyl engine. They were able to get the lowest center of gravity with a boxer engine due to the engine placement and how low it can be. The 86/FRS/BRZ has a lower center of gravity than a Ferrari 458 Italia and a Porsche Cayman.
@AE86 Racer They really didn’t care of the branding because toyota/scion/lexus is all here in the US. Plus the AE86 was brought to the US as a Toyota regardless of configuration. They asked my friend Oliver to bring his AE86 because it was one of the cleanest and most OEM looking setups for any modded AE86 on the road. Levin or not it’s still an AE86 which is the basis of bringing out that car. Brandon’s car was in that area next to the black FR-S due to the two cars being modified. There are a few others out there just as clean as Oliver’s 86, but most of which are more heavily modified aesthetically. Oliver’s happened to fit the traditional OEM look well, outside of the fact that it was a USDM model converted to a Levin Front, it was all OEM minus the ride height and wheels. It is one of the cleanest examples out there.
@Hechtspeed: Since Toyota took over all of General Motors ownership in Fuji Heavy Industries (aka. Subaru), Toyota and Subaru working together isn’t strange at all. It makes perfect sense, and the 86/BRZ/FR-S would probably never be without this collab. Not in todays market.
Anyway, hope the 86 hits Europe soon. Thing looks fun! And lets be honest, Toyota has made themself one of the most boring marques in europe. Even Hyuandai is more exciting theese days with the Veloster and the new (face lifted?) Gen Coupe now coming to europe 😛
@Mike Kim I agree it’s probably one of the cleanest AE86 in the area, but I think it just didn’t match the other cars displayed around it because all of them were factory stock cars. I think even an original, non-restored AE86 would have captured the true essence of nostalgia. However, like you said, it’s probably close to impossible to find one. I’m just being a purist.
I think the modified white 86 was appropriate to be displayed next to the modified FRS.
@AE86 Racer I do have to agree with you, they should have put Antonio’s red hatch up there lol, the red woulda fit in perfectly with the LFA and mr2
I’m so excited to see this thing, but at the same time disappointed. Gaaaaahhh, Toyota and Subaru had ALL of their concepts looking different and unique in their own way! The GT86 was a little flashy, so I’m glad they took all the extra chrome off, but I was REALLY looking forward to the FR-S being the most different since it’s concept was the best looking IMO. The BRZ was looking nice too, but since 2 of the 3 cars have been released for production and I’ve seen the GT300 BRZ all 3 of the new cars are gonna have the same, ugly taillights. Toyota and Subaru should have left each car with it’s respective taillights. It would have been so nice to see the FR-S with the same tails the concept had, with the “SCION” lettering as a 3rd brake light. I can understand moving the door handles from the bottom middle to the regular side though. And I also figured they wouldn’t keep those SWEET wheels that were on the concept; no car company ever does. But dang, those taillights are killing me. The reason why is because all the concepts looked so much like the same exact car, the only thing differentiated them WAS the unique tails they had. But now since they’re all the same the only thing making them different is a badge, literally. It’s like Toyota and Subaru made 3 GT86s with different badges. At least switch it up a bit, shoot Chevy and Pontiac built the same car when they made the Camaro/Trans Am but at least they had notable visual differences. Aside from all of that though, the FR-S is my favorite of the bunch and I will be saving up for one! And I thought it was very clever how Toyota made the shift boot, I totally thought it was a stickshift WITH paddle shifters! Crazy!
In such hard economic times, manufacturers either partner up, or keep on beating each other up. Ultimately one is going to go down. So Toyota and Subaru partnering up I think is just the beginning of things to come. I wouldn’t be surprised a decade or 2 from now they merge in to one company. Fuji industries has come a long way from building Military planes. And Toyota’s legacy is not going anywhere but up. Here’s to another 5 to 10 years of cheaper sportscars thrills! Toyota is taking back what they lost all these years to other makes.
KEEP IT TOYOTA 100% CHEVY, GEO, NOW SUBARU? WELL AT LEAST THEY KEPT IT JAPANESE STILL TIME !!
Just wanted to know whats the hp on Fr-s. Is the manual trany a 5spd or 6. Whats the price going to be in the dealer.
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