This weekend has been filled with all things automotive. Friday night was a car gathering. Saturday morning was another, in the afternoon there was a track event. Sunday morning was a historic car show. It has been a busy weekend running around to all the cool places with cool cars and cool people. Being that I don’t usually drive my dog around on weekends, I drove everywhere in my new Scion FR-S. I should have planned better though as I was in over my head.
Friday night theres a car get-together at a local Chick-fil-a restaurant. It starts off mostly with domestic makes and progresses into imported cars. I usually don’t go to these type of things because I’m near-dead tired on weeknights and I’m not looking to show off. A friend encouraged me to go though, so I caved in headed over after having a Red Bull.
When I arrived it was constant stares. People were breaking their necks looking at the FR-S. Things got even worse when I parked. Throngs of people approached my car. I’m surprised the pavement didn’t have circles worn in it from people walking around it. I was asked many, many questions and tried to answer every one. One man in particular was absolutely fascinated by it. He was cool and because he had been in the service I gave him a more detailed tour and let him sit in it. “Mind the seat bolsters though, please.” It was a similar story the next morning at Cars and Coffee. I particularly like this as its filled with old and new exotics. Tons of eye candy. I pulled into this meet and I could over hear people (mostly old men) talking about the car. “That’s one of those new Toyota-Subaru sports cars.” I made my way over to the opposite side and was approached by a few people. One guy told me “Gee, I wish I had your problems.” Really?.. I have a $25k car among cars of which many are worth more than $250k, and you want my problems? I don’t want anyone’s problems but you’re entitled to mine. Later that afternoon, I had a lot of people looking at my car while it was parked in the grass at Hyperfest. It was out of my sight most of the time so I didn’t get asked as many questions but a child left evidence of looking inside my car (see hand prints in photo). A girl quizzed me about it a little when I got back to it as well. I even think I sold her one. I also think I sold one to a Scion tC owner this morning at the Father’s Day Sully Plantation Car Show. He was taking photos as people came in to park and was obsessed with it. I happily answered any question he had
After this weekend, I’m blue in the face from answering questions about the car. I want to give people little cards that say “No, its not all wheel drive. No, its not turbo. Yes, it is very, very fun to drive.” It is like driving around in a super model. It breaks people’s necks. People want it or at least want to know EVERYTHING about it. They want to be around it. Josh Taylor of this website will tell you the same thing about when he owned his Acura NSX. The car was a bit of a celebrity. It even got him VIP treatment at a club. I don’t know that I’ll get that in my FR-S, but it sure is a celebrity in its own sense.
The thing is this though. It deserves the attention. Toyota has not offered a front engined, rear drive sports car in the United States since the Supra was sold here. That is a long time if you think about it. Its been even longer since Toyota has offered such a car that was actually affordable. It actually was the Corolla GT-S (AE86). We had the mid-engined, rear drive MR2 a little more lately. That car didn’t really fill the void though (thanks mostly to the measly engine). The late model Celica could have been decent with RWD, but it was FWD and overpriced from dealer mark-ups. The Scion tC could have been as well, but (also like the Celica) was based on a FWD platform. Subaru has gone even longer without a rear drive anything, but at least had fun cars like Imprezas with big turbos. Toyota needed this car really. I’ve never seen one car capture this kind of attention. It gets more of it than most Lamborghinis and some Ferraris. This car shows that car companies shouldn’t deprive the enthusiasts of sports cars. Beige 4-doors and V6 cross-overs are good for selling in mass, but you need something that draws people’s attention and makes them swoon. “This is the beige 4 door car from the same company that makes this wonderful sports car.” It might make them proud of the brand. Looking back, that’s kind of how it was with Toyota’s old sports cars.
Why then couldn’t it have been a Toyota instead of a Scion?