I Sold a Scion Once

Bozi Tatarevic
by Bozi Tatarevic
i sold a scion once

Being a car flipper, tuner and technician that falls within the millennial age group should make me an ideal candidate for various Scions. Yet, when I attempted to jog my memory yesterday, I could think of only a a few I’ve touched with my own two hands.

In fact, I’ve only flipped a single vehicle from Toyota’s youth brand: a repossessed xB festooned with the standard roll call of aftermarket vendor decals. It would be my only foray into a tuner culture the brand attempted to make accessible to millennials straight from the dealer. It also represented the misfortune of many young owners who lose their vehicles to the bank.

Most xBs at insurance auctions are totaled units due to a rear collisions that destory the hatch and tweak the chassis. However, this one was a repossession and listed on the runsheet as a running and driving lot. It had just over a 100,000 miles on the odometer and featured a Chinese sourced aftermarket steering wheel in addition to the numerous decals. The previous owner even took to customizing trim bits by painting some of the dash plastics. Other than that, the car looked clean overall.

The xB was likely purchased by someone in my age group who had the tuner aspirations that Scion advertised but lacked the cash to bring those aspirations to reality. The owner may have bought the car at a Buy-Here-Pay-Here lot or picked it up with a high interest rate before eventually defaulting on the loan. While the payments were still flowing to the lender, the previous owner did his best Toretto impression by modifying it using an eBay account. Unfortunately, as many would-be tuners find out, modifications are usually hard to resell and actually reduce vehicle value in most cases. The car would go back to the bank sporting all 50 horsepower that the decals had “added.”

We picked up the car for a fair price and brought it in. Floss and a heat a gun made quick work of removing the decals and, once the residue was cleaned up, we gave the paint a polish. Replacement dash trim was sourced from a junkyard and we found an airbag and steering wheel on the same site the vehicle’s former owner likely used to source the horrendous modifications in the first place. The xB’s 1.5-liter engine ran smooth. The transmission shifted properly. The mechanicals were checked off after an oil change and fluid fill up.

As soon as we listed the car on Craigslist, we received a barrage of emails and phone calls with offers to trade for “mad tyte” Civics, lawnmowers, and other motorized machinery. Most serious inquires came from those in their 50s or older who simply wanted something reliable with easy ingress and egress, and they all passed on the car after subliminally detecting its racy history. In the end, the xB was reduced in price to the point it was attractive enough to be used by a younger guy to deliver medical supplies to local stores.

We made a small profit on the xB, but we didn’t bother buying another Scion. The Craigslist inquiries made the car more trouble than it was worth.

[Title Image: Shaun Greiner/ Flickr/ CC BY-SA 2.0]

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  • DavidB DavidB on Feb 04, 2016

    My former service technician loaded an '05 xB that we purchased new with a couple hundred pounds of parts and tools and drove it daily to his service calls. I left in October of 2014 when it had 260K miles on it. It is still their service technician's vehicle and gets driven 25-35K per year. Part of my job was to maintain all the vehicles (2 Isuzu 3500/4500 turbo diesel box trucks as well) and it was the most reliable vehicle I've ever known personally. We took it to the Scion/Toyota dealer every 5K for service and all it ever needed were the usual things: fluids, brake pads, tires, and a battery. It got new spark plugs at 100K. It never needed anything else. With a dedicated set of Blizzaks on their own wheels it was surprisingly good in the KC snow, too.

    • See 1 previous
    • Bozi Tatarevic Bozi Tatarevic on Feb 05, 2016

      The xB works pretty well as a parts hauler and I am sure fleet sales helped it. My parts hauler of choice for a long time was a $900 Ford Focus wagon that worked quite well. It transported engines and transmissions on a regular basis and still drove well when it was replaced by a Sierra.

  • Tonycd Tonycd on Feb 05, 2016

    Always wondered: I recall Toyota farmed out the manufacturing of the xB to Daihatsu, in which they have a controlling interest. Daihatsu has its own history of designing and building small cars, notably the wonderfully named Daihatsu Charade. I wonder, were the mechanicals of this car Toyota's (which thousands of US buyers assumed on blind faith) or Daihatsu's?

    • Tonycd Tonycd on Feb 09, 2016

      In the unlikely event anybody ever researches this thread later, Wikipedia gave me the answer to my own question: The first-gen xB was a Toyota through and through, built on Toyota Echo bones. The second-gen Japanese-market successor was built by Daihatsu, but the second-gen xB sold in America was, as reported above, built off the larger Toyota Corolla. It seems like the second-gen car was also based on Toyota engineering, although badge-engineered versions were also sold by Daihatsu and Subaru.

  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
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