Custom Scion iM 5-door hatchback, iA sedan are ready for 2015 SEMA Show

Article by Christian A., on November 3, 2015

After having been previewed at the Los Angeles’ Arts District, the modified versions of the Scion iM 5-door hatchback and Scion iA sedan were presented at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

The show runs from Nov. 3 to 6. A new interpretation of the all-new sporty 2016 iM 5-door hatchback was created by illest and Crooks & Castles (two popular streetwear brands) for the 11th Annual Scion Tuner Challenge.

Each got a Scion iM and $15,000 budget to update the car and make it stand out.

The creative director of illest, Mark Arcenal, developed his iM concept based on the automotive needs of VIPs in Japan.

This time, he intentionally made it very different from the tC he made at the 2008 Scion Tuner Challenge which had a racing theme. According to Arcenal, with his motorsports background and prior Scion Tuner Challenge experience, he wanted to do something totally different.

And by combining the iM's sporty look with the VIP style, he thought that he’d have a fighting chance to win the trophy.

Rob Panlilio, who co-founded Crooks & Castles, stayed true to his expertise on Japanese cars and made use of a wide body kit and AccuAir suspension.

Together with his team, Panlilio came up with a black and white scheme and covered the rollcage with all-white leather and for the car's interior, the race seats were rewrapped in black. Finished with custom white mesh wheels (Panlilio's signature trademark), the car is quite similar to several customized cars he created.

On the other hand, Eddie Huang and Skybound, Scion's lifestyle partners, captured the attention of their fans when they revealed two 2016 iA project cars. Famous for his book and TV adaptation “Fresh Off The Boat,” Eddie Huang equipped the Scion iA with a chain-link steering wheel and a set of custom swivel front seats.

Fitted with a dual-stage air bag system with independent wheel control, the car is able to perform 3-wheel motion as well as side to side and front to back. Painted in metallic yellow with root beer accents and a mural of a “human panda” on the hood, the car definitely caught the attention the public.

Wire wheels dipped in gold and a unique gold-plated front grille were also added -- a clear adaptation of the era but with a contemporary twist.

With the growing popularity and expanding fan base of the TV series "The Walking Dead", Skybound Entertainment, in collaboration with Scion, created a car based on Robert Kirkman’s latest comic book, Outcast.

In line with the demonic possession theme, the car can move and function independently through pneumatic movements of numerous components and automated sequence of effects, both light and audio. Painted in orange, black and green with a demonic spirit graphic on the roof, the car will smoke, gyrate, switch colors, and make creepy sounds.

According to Kirkman, Skybound marked its fifth anniversary this year and it has released the first feature film, AIR, produced in collaboration with Scion at the San Diego Comic Con. An agreement was made to continue their partnership with Scion to build the Outcast car.

These four customized vehicles are presented at the SEMA Show, in cooperation with Toyo Tires. A panel composed of last year’s contestants and representatives from Super Street magazine, Speedhunters, and GT Channel will judge both Scion Tuner Challenge vehicle entries.

The grand winner will receive a cash prize of $10,000. The announcement will be made on November 28 at the L.A. Auto Show, which will be hosted by Eddie Huang. For the latest blog entries, photos and videos, please visit, or tune in to Scion Racing Twitter and Instagram for more updates on the builds using the hashtags #ScionTunerChallenge and #Scion.

Press Release


Creative visions of the Scion iM 5-door hatchback and Scion iA sedan are ready for Las Vegas lights. The cars were previewed in the downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District ahead of their debut at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nov. 3-6.

For the 11th Annual Scion Tuner Challenge, remixed versions of the all-new sporty 2016 iM 5-door hatchback were created by prominent streetwear brands illest and Crooks & Castles. Each received a Scion iM and a $15,000 build budget to put a unique spin on the car.

Mark Arcenal, creative director of illest, drew inspiration for his iM concept from the Japanese VIP world, a clear departure from the race-inspired tC he built at the 2008 Scion Tuner Challenge.

“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.”

Rob Panlilio, co-founder of Crooks & Castles, stuck to his Japanese car roots with a wide body kit and AccuAir suspension. In true Crooks & Castles’ fashion, Panlilio and his team featured a black and white scheme, with an all-white leather wrapped rollcage and black rewrapped race seats for the interior. The car was finished off with his signature trademark, custom white mesh wheels, mirroring the theme of his existing fleet of customized cars.

Beyond the Tuner Challenge entries, Scion lifestyle partners Eddie Huang and Skybound unveiled two eye-popping 2016 iA project cars that capture the passion of their fans.

Eddie Huang, well-known for his book and TV adaptation, “Fresh Off The Boat,” is embracing L.A. culture with a modern take on the classic lowrider, outfitting a Scion iA with a chain-link steering wheel and custom swivel front seats and more. A dual-stage air bag system with independent wheel control allows for side to side, front to back and 3-wheel motion. Meanwhile, the exterior features metallic yellow paint with root beer accents. A mural of a “human panda,” which is how Huang refers to himself, is on the hood. Huang has also added wire wheels dipped in gold, along with a one-of-a-kind gold-plated front grille, truly capturing the essence of the era, but with a modern twist.

Fans of The Walking Dead will appreciate Skybound Entertainment’s execution of Robert Kirkman’s latest comic book, Outcast. With the theme of demonic possession, the car will move and operate on its own via pneumatic movements of multiple components and an automated sequence of light and audio effects. The orange, black and green-toned car has a demonic spirit graphic directly inspired from the comic book on the roof and will gyrate, smoke, change colors, and emit eerie sounds that encompass everything fans love about the possession genre.

"This year has been a big one for Skybound,” said Kirkman. “We celebrated our fifth anniversary and the release of our first feature film, AIR, with Scion at San Diego Comic Con, and we're excited to continue the partnership with the creation of the Outcast car.”

In partnership with Toyo Tires, Scion will bring all four customized vehicles to the SEMA Show, where fans can get their first up-close look at each modified edition. Both Scion Tuner Challenge vehicle entries will be judged by a panel consisting of the previous year’s participants, Super Street magazine, GT Channel and Speedhunters. Scion will announce the grand prize winner of $10,000 at the L.A. Auto Show on Nov. 28, hosted by Eddie Huang.

Fans of the Scion Tuner Challenge can follow along by visiting for blog entries, photos and video content. Fans can also tune in to the Scion Racing Twitter and Instagram for an additional looks at the builds by using the hashtags #ScionTunerChallenge and #Scion.

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