• Scion Announces the Winner of its FR-S Tuner Challenge

It seems as if SEMA just kicked off with Scion announcing its $15,000 FR-S build-off challenge and we are already set to announce its winner. The three entrants in this contest were the FR-S GT by David Song, the FR-S “Carbon Stealth” by John Toca, and the FR-S “minty FReSh” by Chris Basselgia. All three competitors came to the table with stout rides and did a fair amount with the $10K that Scion gave each of them, but there could only be one winner.

Daniel Song’s FR-S GT was pretty sweet, but we think it ultimately failed due to the fact that it was a little to, shall we say, “Ricey” for the true enthusiast. We’re sure it performs admirably, but the massive wing on the back and matte black paint just screams “circa 1996 Civic DX ‘racecar.’” John Toca’s project was definitely up there, but he ultimately skimped out a little bit on the engine, resorting to an air-to-air intercooler and a cat-back exhaust system. On the inside and outside, however, Toca’s creation was gorgeous.

This leaves just one car left as the winner and that is good old “minty FReSh” by Chris Basselgia. Chris installed a smooth exterior package and covered it in an awesome paint color, then tinkered just a little bit with the audio system. Inside, Chris made some mild styling changes to set off the FR-S, like distressed leather, leather-trimmed floor mats, and a wood-grain steering wheel. Where we think Chris really made his victory a sure thing is under the skin of the FR-S.

As with all of the other competitors, Chris installed a supercharger, but he took great care in making sure that forced air remained cool, by installing a water-to-air intercooler and a heat exchanger. On top of that, he also fitted it with a CNC-milled intake manifold upgraded the cooling system, installed a full exhaust system, added in an air-ride system and upgraded the brakes. He really stretched that $10K a long way and came out with an extra $15K in prize money in his pocket.

Congrats, Chris. Hopefully Scion lets you keep the FR-S you built, but we doubt it.

Click past the jump to read Scion’s presser.


Justin Cupler
Justin Cupler
About the author

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 1, 2012) – With a unique color and a supercharger under the hood, custom-car builder Chris Basselgia of Lebanon, Pa., won Scion’s FR-S Tuner Challenge, announced yesterday at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas.

In its eighth year, the Scion Tuner Challenge is a custom car competition in which three builders received a stock 2013 FR-S, a $15,000 budget and three months to build and accessorize. Independent car show judging company Global Judging evaluated the three entries, and the winner earned a $10,000 grand prize.

On Wednesday, the FR-S was named Hottest Sport Compact at the 2012 SEMA Show, granted to the year’s best vehicle for specialty equipment add-ons and industry inspiration.

Basselgia’s entry was named “Minty FReSh” for its green hue and effort to enhance the clean lines of the FR-S with luxury and supercharged driving functionality. Enhancements included a lip kit, spoiler, custom leather interior and audio system.

“The Minty FReSh entry builds fantastically on the core appeal and sports car intention of the FR-S with each impressive custom piece,” said Steve Hatanaka, Scion auto shows and events manager. “All three Scion Tuner Challenge participants added an extra level of originality and class to the first-time SEMA appearance for the FR-S. Every Scion owner imagining the possibilities should look to these entries for inspiration.”

Second place went to the entry “Carbon Stealth FR-S” by John Toca of Chicago, and third place went to the entry “FR-S GT” by Daniel Song of Orange County, Calif.

After long hours in the garage, the first place finish was welcome news to Basselgia.

“I approached this challenge with the goal to build something unique, functional and what I would want to drive,” Basselgia said. “The FR-S was an excellent canvas to showcase quality and workmanship, and I’m thrilled to have won the competition.”

For detailed specifications on each of the FR-S Tuner Challenge cars including the winner, please visit www.ScionNewsroom.com.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: