16 Aug Arthur Fong’s Crazy XB in SUPER STREET
Crazy is probably the most-used adjective to describe Arthur Fong’s ’05 Scion xB. With the custom fiberglass body components, the all-wood teahouse interior and those wings(!), Arthur’s xB is a show car like no other. Arthur will be the first to tell you that his design is polarizing, for as many people who hate it, there are equal amounts of those who love it. But to us at Super Street, it is something different while also being very well executed. To build the xB, the Art Center College of Design student spent two years painstakingly doing things by trial and error until meeting Ben Abutin of High End Performance and Freddy Fernandez of Auto Fashion, who helped put the pieces of the xB’s unique puzzle together into the package you see now.
In the first phase of Arthur’s xB build, he went the route most people go by getting random parts here and there, slapping them on and hoping for the best. A carbon hood, lip kit, mesh wheels and headlights from eBay are what Arthur tells us he started with. In a word, he describes the car as “sloppy.” With that realization, he went down the Japanese VIP route, buying up all the JDM parts he could with his student budget. Around the time he was putting the finishing touches on his VIP style xB, he got an invite from Ben of High End Performance to show his car among the HEP team at Hot Import Nights. Through his exposure with HEP, Arthur met Freddy Fernandez, who helped with supplying the VIP goodies such as curtains, fusas and shift knobs. While the updated look was shaping up for Arthur, he began to notice how many other xBs were coming to shows with similar VIP-styled cars. For most people, they’ll simply try to find more rare things to buy off-the-shelf in hopes of out-spending the competition. With a car as new as the xB and the magic of the Internet, rare is only a temporary designation. So what does a student from the prestigious Art Center do? Design.
Inspired by the bosozoku style, Arthur decided to go all out in the design of his xB. Within the next month and a half, which was the amount of time between the idea and the next Hot Import Nights show, Arthur and Ben went to work on creating the wings, the custom body and paint color for the xB. While most of the Japanese vanning style vans have wings made of sheet metal that get welded to the body, using fiberglass was more desirable for this build but became a possible liability with the fear of cracking, especially the heavy front lip, while driving. In order to maintain strength, Arthur and Ben made sure to add just the right amount fiberglass on the surface of the car while using metal brackets to support the lip. Of the other eye-catching enhancements of the xB’s exterior, the six three-foot exhaust pipes that ascend from the bottom of the rear bumper create a lot of fodder for discussion. When we first saw them, we wondered how difficult it was to parallel park, especially in LA. Then again, with wings jutting out from all angles, Arthur probably doesn’t worry too much about having to park this thing in front of the post office.
On the inside, he customized the entire paneling to be long-grained wood. Tossing out the rear seats provided a reasonable amount of space for a Japanese looking teahouse, with mat by Tatami Floor, and furniture by Marukai Furniture. The roof and other seating accents were lined with red Chinese Peony dress fabric that adds to the cozy feeling of the teahouse. In case the quiet comforts of tea sipping get a little boring, Arthur has a pair of 10-inch Memphis Audio Power Reference subwoofers in the rear and components in the front powered by two Power Reference amps. For those who think 10-inch subs are not big enough for an install like this, keep in mind they are powered by a mono-block amp pushing 1000 watts into a single channel; an Alpine IVA-D300 navigation unit controls the system.
Most of the modifications to the engine were cosmetic, so Arthur estimates his horsepower increased by at least one through “love power,” which is symbolized in the heart-shaped header by Aerodyne Industries. Had Arthur chosen to hire someone to do most of the custom fabricating work that he did himself, he estimates that he would have spent almost $45,000, which he admits is way too much to spend on a Scion. Luckily, he was handy with the fiberglass and spray cans while also getting a little help from Uncle Sam. Let’s hope he finishes his education. For all those who are looking to build something similar, Arthur’s advice is to be patient, expect people to hate the work you do, but find those who will love it and most of all, be creative in building the car you want. Sounds good to us.