Having witnessed the sun drop past the horizon a few long hours ago, I swing the nose end of my ride under a slowly rising garage door. Slamming shut the car door and stepping through the entrance of my sad cardboard living arrangement, the only thoughts going through my head are mostly thanks that this is the end of another long day. As we grow closer and closer to deadlines, and even pass them, without having our work turned in or ready, my stress level builds proportional to my last minute workload. I switch on my TV and fiddle with the rabbit ears in order to grab one fleeting glimpse of my boob tube before having to settle back into writing mode.
Soon, a slick computer enhanced advertisement blasts across my screen. Leaning forward to catch every glimpse of this ad, I can't help but notice the amount of urban, youthful, hip-ness oozing out of every frame. On screen a boxy, stock Scion xB sits on top of a piece of wet-down, darkened pavement that could pass for any street on the eastside of Los Angeles. The xB proceeds to morph in every single way, from the shift knob changing through various models, to the paint color and wheels blending through umpteen different designs. As the ad draws to a close, the xB transforms into a very familiar orange beast before returning to its original state. Complete with a custom wide body and a DJ table that is motorized to extend out of the rear, that orange xB is known to many of our readers as one of Scion's crown jewels. Since the xB is one of the most extensively modified Scions ever, it takes a whole lot to match it, and there was only one other Scion capable of inspiring so much drooling, the tC. The infamous lime green wide-bodied turbocharged tC with a 43-inch motorized rear Pioneer plasma TV was built by the same madmen behind the DJ spinnin' xB. Those craftsmen go by the name of Five Axis.
The Huntington Beach, Calif. based company, which is a little more than a decade old, specializes in producing concept cars and other extremely one-off pieces. To our industry, they are the premier showstoppers, having built wildly imaginative versions of every car in Scion's lineup. After tackling the xB and tC, the only car left for Five Axis to touch was the diminutive xA. Having access to numerous resources such as: 3D computer and clay modeling, artist renderings, glassmaking, rapid prototyping, metal and composite fabrication, as well as 3-axis and their namesake five-axis milling, Five Axis could make anything their imaginations desired.
According to Troy Sumitomo, president of Five Axis, "a wide-body conversion was a given." Of course, many of us come up with ideas like this, but it is Five Axis that follows all of them through to fruition. The concept for the Five Axis xA Speedster was to incorporate both the public display element of the Wide-body DJ xB and the aggressive aerodynamic styling of the Wide-body tC. Paying close attention to Scion's MTV-generation targeted audience, Five Axis focused on one of the most prevalent hobbies nowadays-playing video games. Flash forward from the days of the Commodore and the original Nintendo, and modern video games are massively complex, graphics-driven magic boxes that continue to amaze both children and adults. With Playstations and Xbox's flying off the shelves, it was only a matter of time before people began incorporating TV's and games into their cars, unable to sever their umbilical cord-like attachment to video games.
Refusing to play their fiddle to everyone else's tune, Five Axis went beyond the path of just installing some LCD screens and a console into their xA. "Anyone can hook a game console up to a TV in a car so we had to go one step further... okay, maybe two," Sumitomo said. Instead of building a car where you just sit and pick up a controller to play games inside, Five Axis created an xA that would let you enter the game. With the underside of the motorized front-flipping hood acting as a screen for a high-lumen Casio video projector, the driver would be able to stop driving for real and use the MadCatz steering wheel and pedals to play Microsoft's latest driving game, Forza Motorsport, on the in-car Xbox 360. Plus, with the rear-motorized deck flipped straight up, two more Xbox 360 hub-linked gaming centers appear. Complete with LCD monitors and MadCatz wireless controllers, the two extra gaming stations allow three players total to race against each other at the same time.