Junkyard Find: 2005 Scion TC, Not So Fast Yet Somewhat Furious Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
Toyota made the Scion brand available in North America for the 2004 through 2016 model years, hoping to lure some younger buyers to the products of a company best known for sturdy machinery that renders its drivers invisible for 400,000 miles. Well, that didn’t work out so well, but plenty of Scions found homes with their intended demographic once they reached their third or fifth owners.I’ve been seeing Scions in wrecking yards for a few years now, mostly wrecked xAs and xBs, but the only one (prior to today) that I felt worthy of Junkyard Find status has been the amazing Devil Vampiress 2005 xB. Now I’ve found this lovingly customized 2005 Scion tC in a Denver U-Pull yard, and I thought it was worth sharing.
You can tell from all the stickers that this car’s final owner wasn’t some sort of AARP-joinin’ Lexus ES buyer. Ever since the State of Colorado legalized recreational cannabis, an ever-higher (get it?) percentage of junkyard cars sport cannabis-related stickers, in addition to the brewery and snowboard-shop stickers they already had. If you’re young and you drive a modified early-20th 21st-century sport-compact car, you need to show your devotion to Mary Jane.
If Toyota had just thought to pre-load these cars with the dash covered with multi-layered stickers, maybe some young people would have bought them new.
The bumper covers have been swapped with those from a (presumably junked) light-blue tC, which ended up looking pretty good for a far smaller investment than one of those furious fiberglass body kits. I see a lot of these “R.I.P. Paul Walker” vinyl stickers in Denver junkyards, so I’m guessing they’re available at all the finer vape and glass shops in the city.
This is the cheap “monospec” version of the first-year tC, which was a great deal for what you got: 161 horsepower, five-speed manual transmission, thumping audio system, and those cool side mirrors with the Mars Base lights.
Speaking of which, the rainbow spray-paint job gave this car a unique personal touch.
The body damage doesn’t seem particularly severe (and may have taken place after the car entered the wrecking-yard ecosystem), so I’m guessing that powertrain problems doomed this car. With the digital odometer, we have no way of knowing how many miles it traveled during its 14 years on the road.
Only the first three Fast and Furious films had come out when this commercial aired, but their influence on what Scion’s marketers hoped for the brand’s image was unmistakable.
Meanwhile, the marketing for tC’s European sibling (or maybe first cousin), the Toyota Avensis, aimed at young wannabe executives instead of young wannabe street racers.
Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Sep 16, 2019

    On that Toyota Avensis commercial Europeans look like jerks. Why? There is nothing more boring on European market than Toyota Avensis.

  • THX1136 THX1136 on Sep 17, 2019

    Hey Murilee: if you had a 9 volt battery could you connect that into the proper wiring to light the digital odo? My guess it's too much work for the result desired, but wanted to ask.

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    • JimC2 JimC2 on Sep 25, 2019

      If I remember right, you can plug in a "hot" lead in the cigarette lighter of a Toyota of this vintage and it will make the instrument panel go live- as opposed to the way a lot of makes are wired with the cigarette lighter on the battery bus (in other words, the works when the key is turned off or removed, but thus isolated from the instrument panel, radio, etc.).

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X '19 Nissan Frontier @78000 miles has been oil changes ( eng/ diffs/ tranny/ transfer). Still on original brakes and second set of tires.
  • ChristianWimmer I have a 2018 Mercedes A250 with almost 80,000 km on the clock and a vintage ‘89 Mercedes 500SL R129 with almost 300,000 km.The A250 has had zero issues but the yearly servicing costs are typically expensive from this brand - as expected. Basic yearly service costs around 400 Euros whereas a more comprehensive servicing with new brake pads, spark plugs plus TÜV etc. is in the 1000+ Euro region.The 500SL servicing costs were expensive when it was serviced at a Benz dealer, but they won’t touch this classic anymore. I have it serviced by a mechanic from another Benz dealership who also owns an R129 300SL-24 and he’ll do basic maintenance on it for a mere 150 Euros. I only drive the 500SL about 2000 km a year so running costs are low although the fuel costs are insane here. The 500SL has had two previous owners with full service history. It’s been a reliable car according to the records. The roof folding mechanism needs so adjusting and oiling from time to time but that’s normal.
  • Theflyersfan I wonder how many people recalled these after watching EuroCrash. There's someone one street over that has a similar yellow one of these, and you can tell he loves that car. It was just a tough sell - too expensive, way too heavy, zero passenger space, limited cargo bed, but for a chunk of the population, looked awesome. This was always meant to be a one and done car. Hopefully some are still running 20 years from now so we have a "remember when?" moment with them.
  • Lorenzo A friend bought one of these new. Six months later he traded it in for a Chrysler PT Cruiser. He already had a 1998 Corvette, so I thought he just wanted more passenger space. It turned out someone broke into the SSR and stole $1500 of tools, without even breaking the lock. He figured nobody breaks into a PT Cruiser, but he had a custom trunk lock installed.
  • Jeff Not bad just oil changes and tire rotations. Most of the recalls on my Maverick have been fixed with programming. Did have to buy 1 new tire for my Maverick got a nail in the sidewall.