Top 10 Custom Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ Cars: 2012 SEMA Show

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

In a sea of custom Scion FR-S’ and Subaru BRZs at the 2012 SEMA Show, it’s surprisingly hard to compile a list of the top 10 without some criteria. So to compile our list of favorites, we decided to look at all the 86s and judge based on cleanliness, originality, and functionality – and of course, how it looked on the show floor.

Kicking off our top 10 list is a Subaru BRZ we spotted outside the convention center which to us, defines what a custom daily-driver BRZ should be. Nothing over-the-top, nothing too flashy – just simple and clean, with functional modifications. The Chargespeed carbon fiber lip kit complements the stock bodylines of the BRZ perfectly, while the custom blue Volk Racing TE37SLs pay tribute to a classic wheel that has truly lasted the test of time.

Next on our list is the Vortech Superchargers‘ Scion FR-S sporting 19-inch Rotiform wheels with Baer brakes peeking from behind. Lowered with KW Suspension, the FR-S expels its force induced fumes through a Borla exhaust system while looking fantastic thanks to a Five Axis body kit.

Located in the Toyo Tires booth was the Wald Scion FR-S, showing Americans what the Japanese can do. Adding onto the JDM body kit is a set of Volk Racing TE37SL wheels from Japan, a clear favorite among 86 tuners no matter what country you’re in. Stopping performance has also been upgraded thanks to a set of AP Racing brakes.

It would be entirely wrong of us to not include this year’s Scion Tuner Challenge winner in our top 10 list, but believe it or not, it wasn’t our favorite of the three cars. Nonetheless, the Minty FReSh FR-S was tastefully done, and there’s no denying how attention grabbing the paint color is. The molded body also gives the FR-S cleaner lines than its competitors, while the extensive interior upgrades clearly won the judges over.

A favorite among the crowd at the SEMA Show, the Evasive Motorsports Scion FR-S is clearly track-inspired with some aggressive styling. Again, we see a set of Volk Racing’s TE37SL wheels on the car while the matte paint finish gives it an extremely clean look. It may be too over the top for some, which is why it landed towards the bottom half of our list.

Our actual vote (if we had one and it counted) for the best of the Tuner Challenge competitors would have gone to the Scion FR-S GT. Even though it’s just a carbon fiber wrap instead of actual carbon fiber panels, the GT-inspired FR-S was nicely executed with its custom widebody kit and the wide SSR Professor SP-1 wheels. Unfortunately for Daniel Song and his team, they stuck with a true track-inspired build, gutting the interior and replacing it with a full roll cage. That didn’t win any points from the judges, who were looking for a more complete build.

We’ve been a huge fan of the Meguiar’s Scion FR-S ever since RJ De Vera sent us the render of it. Focusing on the details, the center-locking wheels along with the Chargespeed carbon fiber kit is just the beginning for this Fly Yellow FR-S. Under the hood is a Vortech supercharger kit, which expels its fumes through a bespoke exhaust system from Motiv Concepts. The attention to detail in this car is clear inside and out, with an exotic Ferrari-esque feel to the entire build.

There was actually a surprising amount of custom Scion FR-S cars sporting a Rocket Bunny widebody kit at the 2012 SEMA Show. So instead of stacking our list and trying to compare apples to apples, we decided to just pick out a couple of our favorites. Our favorite Rocket Bunny-equipped FR-S was the one in the Mackin Industries booth sporting bright orange Gram Lights wheels. The baby blue exterior shade is exactly what a car needs to stand out at SEMA, without being too extreme. The matte black accents are a great contrast to the bright two-tone color scheme. Call us crazy, but the FR-S doesn’t look too bad in baby blue!

Located in the Airlift booth, the Rotiform Scion FR-S had a lot of show goers buzzing. Not only was it dropped to the ground on 18-inch Rotiform multipiece wheels, the metallic matte blue wrap was stunning in person. A carbon fiber lip kit was the perfect accessory to the exterior, while the Vortech supercharger under the hood will certainly pack a punch once the FR-S gets properly tuned.

It’s a rather tough decision to really say one of the custom FR-Ses or BRZs at the show is better than all the rest, but if we had to pick one, we would go with this Subaru BRZ in the Whiteline booth. Why? After seeing dozens and dozens of modified 86s sporting carbon fiber lip kits or Rocket Bunny widebody kits, it was entirely refreshing to see a body kit that no one else had within the convention center’s walls. Sporting an INGS+1 body kit, it may be too aggressive for some, but at least it’s not a widebody like the Rocket Bunny kit. The SSR wheels fit the BRZ just right, while the huge collection of Whiteline suspension products means the BRZ may even handle better than stock. The Seibon carbon fiber pieces was a nice contrast to the bright, reddish-pink exterior.

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • Reemo Reemo on Mar 05, 2013

    Vortech Superchargers Scion FR-S without a doubt should have been number one instead of ninth!

  • Mitch c Mitch c on Nov 20, 2013

    Drop the FORD 3.5L Eco-Boost engine tuned to about 400BHP in this thing and you would have one Bad Ass corner carving and straight line speed demon on your hands!!! Want to go drag racing? How about the Cobra Jet Engine Under the hood?!?!!!