Gold Rush: Alex Swenson's 2006 Scion tC

Gold Rush: Alex Swenson's 2006 Scion tC

Photography by Russell Aban


Value pricing, bountiful accessories and wide availability have helped Toyotas Scion brand become a powerhouse of the North American sport tuning scene in just five short years. And, while many young enthusiastic customers happily lap up the factory and TRD accessory offerings for their xB, xD or tC, many more will seek out unique parts to set themselves further apart from the rest.

This golden 2006 Scion tC is another great example of the lengths Scion owners will go to. “This tC was built to challenge the conventional design choices that have been associated with the Scion brand since its introduction,” says it original owner Alex Swenson.

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A native of New Haven, CT, the 20-year-old college student turned to Brian Rabes' Solo Customs in New Philadelphia, Ohio back in early 2007 to initiate this project. It is here where the tC was first torn down to a rolling chassis and prepped for paint. A modified and molded JP USA lip kit, consisting of front and rear bumper extensions and new side skirts, was installed and the vehicle reassembled after everything (engine bay included) got sprayed in House of Kolor Zenith Gold. Besides all of the initial body and paint work, Rabes put in an intercooled Turbonetics forced induction kit that made roughly 260 hp at 9.5 pounds of boost on the 2.4-litre 2AZ-FE inline-four.

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The original forced induction setup was revamped in early 2008 with a new Garrett turbo system that boasts a Why Industries (a.k.a. Turbo Toyotas) Extreme series T3/44 divided twin-scroll dual-wastegate turbo manifold. This equal-length piece of ceramic-coated technology is now home to a polished Garrett GT3076R divided ball bearing turbo and twin external 44mm Tial wastegates that help to considerably raise power output.

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On the cold side, air enters through an AEM intake with charge cooling coming from a front-mounted Garrett intercooler and polished piping. A HKS SSQV blow-off sits between the throttle body and turbo to protect it from surging under excess pressure while Motron 630cc injectors supply the fuel for Iridium-tipped NGK spark plugs to ignite inside the cylinders. On the hot side, the fumes exit via a Turbo Toyotas three-inch down-pipe and S-pipe combo before rejoining the atmosphere through a P-Tuning exhaust system. An Apexi turbo timer ensures the turbo cools down properly after each driving session.

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Swift Motorsports in Norwich, CT gets credit for the most recent slate of upgrades. This includes mapping out a “piggyback” Unichip EMS, which tells the factory ECU what to do and when. With tuning done on the in-house dyno, the 24-karat tC now makes an impressive 308 hp and 325 lb.-ft. of torque at the wheels with 11 pounds of boost.

That power heads to the pavement through an ACT high performance clutch and forged Competition Clutch flywheel setup with forged gunmetal 18-inch Volk Racing GT-Vs (+43 offset) and with 225/40-series BFGoodrich KDW T/A tires supplying a grippy contact patch. A stage two TWM Performance short shifter with new bushings improves gear shifts while Tein SS-P coil-overs on all four corners provide a lower, sportier stance that ensures solid compliance with the road.

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Naturally, all that extra power meant that stopping had to be addressed. As such, the emerald green Project Mu brake work is clearly visible behind the front wheel spokes where four-piston calipers now grab onto large 355mm slotted rotors. The rear setup is a bit older and consists of Rotora drilled and slotted rotors with the factory calipers.

From the beginning of this project, the focus has been on using only the top quality and performance parts to create the show-stopping tC you see here. Some of that flash is found under the Carbon EFX carbon fiber hood. The Racing Solution carbon fiber engine cover and Doctor Isotope’s air diversion panel, for instance, are nice dressings. So too is the variety of polished caps and tie-downs from TRD and AEM. Notice also, the glossy Weapon-R engine coolant and power steering reservoir tanks.

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Outwardly, this tC has a few more tricks that help it stand out. The carbon fiber fuel door and Racing Solutions rear lip spoiler are obvious ones. So too are the Vertex Racing Development fog lights and wrinkle black RaceMesh grilles that have been integrated into the front fascia. More subtle changes, however, include a Honda S2000 antenna mast and custom badgeless hatch garnish with LED third brake light. Topping things off are LED taillights and a CustomLightz.com quad-Xenon projector headlight retrofit that's made up of Infiniti FX35 low-beams, Honda S2000 high-beams and Acura MDX shrouds.

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Inside, more carbon fiber parts appear in the form of a new bezel surrounding the instrument cluster and custom molded dual gauge pod that houses AEM Uego and Tru Boost gauges. Exterior-matching paint has been applied to parts of the dash, but perhaps the most interesting interior upgrade is the full carbon fiber headliner conversion from Top Shop. Recaro Sportline seats with Takata racing harnesses replace the factory buckets with OBX Sport pedal and shift knob for the driver. Black suede has been used on the shift and e-brake boots as well as the centre armrest.

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In the mobile entertainment department, a two-DIN Valor NVG-650WT DVD multimedia head unit with built-in 6.5-inch video and navigation control both the audio and video. There are two sets of JL Audio component speakers in the factory locations to play the mids and highs while a trio of Infinity Kappa series 10-inch subs are responsible for belting out the bass. These are found in a cool carbon fiber-wrapped sealed sub enclosure that sits next to a recessed amplifier bin that takes up the balance of space in the cargo area. Power for the speakers comes from two JL Audio Slash series amps, including a 1,000W mono amplifier and a 300W 4-ch. full range amplifier, that are painted to match the car. Finally, there's a seven-inch Clarion LCD sitting atop the sub enclosure to help pass time at car shows.

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ESSENTIALS

Owner: Alex Swenson
Location: New Haven, CT
Vehicle: 2006 Scion tC

ENGINE / PERFORMANCE

  • Polished Garrett GT3076R ball bearing turbo
  • Why Industries Extreme T3/44 divided twin-scroll turbo manifold
  • Why Industries 3-in. ceramic-coated down-pipe
  • Why Industries 3-in. ceramic-coated S-pipe
  • TiAL 44mm wastegates (x2)
  • HKS SSQV blow-off valve
  • AEM intake
  • Garret front-mount intercooler
  • Why Industries intercoooler piping, custom end tanks
  • P-Tuning S-pipe-back exhaust system
  • Motron 630cc fuel injectors
  • NGK Iridium spark plugs
  • Samco radiator hoses
  • Doctor Isotope’s air diversion panel
  • Racing Solution carbon fiber engine cover
  • TRD Performance radiator cap
  • AEM polished oil cap
  • AEM chrome battery tie down

PERFORMANCE ELECTRONICS

  • Swift Motorsports Unichip piggyback EMS
  • Apexi turbo timer
  • AEM UEGO gauge
  • AEM TRU Boost gauge
  • GReddy Infometer

DRIVETRAIN

  • ACT high performance clutch
  • Competition Clutch forged flywheel
  • TWM Performance short shifter
  • TWM Performance shifter bushings

EXTERIOR

  • House of Kolor Zenith Gold paint job by Solo Customs
  • JP USA Co. lip kit
  • Custom RaceMesh grilles
  • Carbon EFX carbon fiber hood
  • Sparco hood pins
  • Scion carbon fiber B-pillar appliqué
  • Carbon fiber fuel door
  • Custom badgeless hatch garnish with LED third brake light
  • Racing Solution carbon fiber rear lip spoiler
  • Honda S2000 antenna mast
  • Quad-Xenon projector retrofit by CustomLightz.com
  • Infiniti FX35 low-beam projectors
  • Honda S2000 high-beam projectors
  • Acura MDX shrouds
  • Flow Lighting blue underbody lighting
  • Vertex Racing Development fog lights
  • LED taillights

WHEELS / TIRES / BRAKES

  • Volk Racing GT-V forged wheels - 18x8
  • BFGoodrich KDW T/A tires - 225/40-18
  • Rotora drilled and slotted rear brake rotors

SUSPENSION

  • Tein SS-P coil-overs (fr/rr)
  • Project Mu 355mm 4-piston slotted front big brake kit

INTERIOR

  • Top Shop carbon fiber headliner
  • Recaro Sportline black suede/black jersey racing seats
  • Takata racing harnesses
  • Carbon fiber (door panels, gauge cluster bezel, custom molded dual gauge pod)
  • OBX Sport pedal covers
  • OBX Speedstar shift knob
  • Black suede (shift boot, e-brake boot, armrest)

AUDIO / MULTIMEDIA

  • Valor NVG-650WT multimedia head unit
  • Custom carbon fiber subwoofer enclosure and recessed dual-amp drawer
  • 10-in. Infinity Kappa 102.7W subwoofers (x3)
  • JL Audio Evolution XR525-CSi coaxial front speakers (1 set)
  • JL Audio Evolution XR650-CXi coaxial rear speakers (1 set)
  • JL Audio Slash 1000/1v2 1,000W mono amplifier
  • JL Audio Slash 300/4v2 300W 4-ch. full range amplifier
  • MonsterCap 1-farad capacitor
  • Clarion 7-in. LCD video monitor
  • Monster Cable wiring, interconnects

SPONSORS

  • BFGoodrich
  • CustomLightz.com
  • Excelerate Performance
  • Infinity Systems
  • JP USA
  • RaceMesh Grilles
  • Recaro
  • Solo Customs
  • Tein

PHOTO GALLERY

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