Scion shows off its SEMA cars

Old 10-27-2011, 04:48 PM
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Default Scion shows off its SEMA cars

At a thumping club-scene reveal in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday night, Scion debuted seven cars that will be on the stand at the SEMA show in Las Vegas next week. We immediately picked a favorite.

To make the iQ MR, fabricator John Kuchta of Specialty Cars in Fullerton, Calif., took an ordinary Scion iQ, removed the stock 1.3-liter four and its accompanying continuously variable transmission, and put in a 1.5-liter four with a manual transmission--both mounted in the back! A rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive screamer with a lively manual transmission instead of the soul-sucking CVT is just what Toyota's youth division needs, so we spent the entire evening cornering Scion executives and trying to convince them to let us drive it.

Of course, there are hurdles still to overcome, such as starting the engine. When Specialty Cars performed this Frankensteinian engine swap, it used an AEM engine-management system, and in the short time Specialty Cars had to try, it couldn't get that to work. Since the car belongs to Scion, it's not clear whether it will ever be sorted out, let alone run in anger around a racetrack as we implored the Scion people to let us do. Even a small autocross course would be fine, preferably one in the snow somewhere.

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