Scion IM Stars in 2015 Scion Tuner Challenge

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

The Scion iM five-door hatchback is the star of the 2015 Scion Tuner Challenge.

Previewed at a special event in Los Angeles ahead of being displayed at the 2015 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the 11th Annual Scion Tuner Challenge will forgo the past three-car format for a pair of custom iM hatchbacks. Doing battle this year will be two prominent streetwear brands, illest and Crooks & Castles, both of which have put their unique spin on one of Scion’s latest models. Both teams received a brand new Scion iM and a $15,000 build budget.

Starting off with illest’s creation, creative director Mark Arcenal drew inspiration for their iM concept from the Japanese VIP world. It’s a bit of a departure from the race-inspired Scion tC that Arcenal created for the 2008 Scion Tuner Challenge. Featuring Rotiform wheels on all four corners, the illest Scion iM goes with a clean and conservative approach with subtle accents, Brembo brakes and Air Lift suspension.

“With a background in motorsports, I went with familiarity for my previous Scion Tuner Challenge experience. I wanted to push the boundaries even further this time,” Arcenal said. “The iM has a sporty look I thought would mesh well with the aggressive VIP style, making for the perfect combo to win the competition.”

SEE ALSO: 2015 SEMA Show Preview

Competing against illest’s Scion iM is a creation by Rob Panlilio, co-founder of Crooks & Castles. Sticking to his Japanese car roots, Panlilio went with a widebody design and AccuAir suspension to bring the Scion iM to the ground. Featuring a black and white color scheme in true Crooks & Castles fashion, the interior of the iM has received an all-white leather-wrapped rollcage and black rewrapped race seats. Panlilio finished off his Scion iM with his signature trademark custom white mesh wheels.

Another significant change from past Scion Tuner Challenges, this year’s competition will be judged by last year’s participants, Super Street magazine, GT Channel and Speedhunters. Also, the winner of the competition won’t be revealed until the 2015 LA Auto Show on November 28, where either Mark Arcenal or Rob Panlilio will receive a $10,000 grand prize check.

Discuss this story on our Scion iM Forum

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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