When the guys at PTAP/Autowerks wanted to build a rolling business card to promote two shops that operate out of one building in Columbus, Georgia, they decided to build something extreme that had never been seen before. Since Toyota released the Scion xB in limited numbers on the West Coast as a test market, they had to order one from Southern California dealer, Long Beach Toyota.
Once the crew took delivery of the brand-new black Toyota Scion, the custom wing of the shop, Autowerks, took control of the diminutive minivan and began tearing it apart. The xB had traveled almost all the way across the continent by this point, but had a mere 18 miles on it when it was stripped down and work began to turn it into a full custom machine.
To begin the process, Jimmy Boykin and the crew at Autowerks took the whole vehicle apart. With multiple stages of work being done at any given time, keeping everything moving ahead was important. The first actual custom work the xB received was the custom suspension setup. Up front, the suspension was modified by building new strut towers and incorporating a new strut tower brace to hold an airbag/strut assembly at each side. Since the xB is a unibody, putting the front of the vehicle on an air-ride suspension was an interesting task.
The rear suspension was a little trickier, but the work wasn't all that difficult. Cantilevers were made for each side, which run through the stock rear openings, through the top of the original rear suspension strut. Another pair of airbags was mounted to a dual crossmember that spans the gap between the strut towers. Suspension lift and lowering at will is attained by inflating or deflating the air spring, which pushes the cantilever up or down, reacting against the strut rod that goes through the interior to the Scion's lower control arm.
Since the interior of the xB was completely blown apart for work, the interior panels were smoothed out and readied for paint at the same time that the body was being shaved. Just about everything the crew could think of was shaved to fully smooth the body of the tiny van, and the fuel filler was relocated to a point inside the rear jamb, under the rear hatch. When the body was smoothed and blocked to perfection, the xB was rolled into the paint booth at Autowerks and sprayed anew using House of Kolor's Limetime Green.
While the clear on the body was drying and nearing the point of being color-sanded, all the interior plastic for the vehicle was prepped and sprayed using the same House of Kolor hue. Although a lot had been done at this point, the Scion was nowhere near being complete. They sure had a lot of nifty-looking parts for it, though.
When the Scion was almost ready to be reassembled, work began on the stereo system. An above-head subwoofer enclosure was suspended from the ceiling behind the rear passenger seats, and another pair of subwoofers installed in separate enclosures in each passenger footwell. A 15-inch Tecvox monitor was installed in the ceiling just behind the front seats, as well as 5.6-inch versions in each headrest.
More than 120 square feet of Stinger Roadkill was used to dampen the interior before the stereo equipment, custom Katzkin leather seats, and aluminum-fiber-embossed leather door panels and headliner were installed.
The final reassembly was probably the only thing that was slow during the five weeks PTAP/Autowerks spent working on the xB. The wait on parts was more than enough stress to keep Jimmy Boykin and Jason Gamache wondering if they'd actually make the cover shoot deadline we set to follow Resolutions 2004 in California. We're extremely happy that the dynamic duo and their combined shop was able to produce such an incredible machine in short order; the first-ever full custom Scion xB the planet has ever seen.