Pop-culture raconteur Eddie Huang has designed a one-off Scion iA, and it’s pretty much the exact opposite of what you might expect it to be. Designed for display at the 2015 SEMA show, Huang’s iA sidesteps the tired tuner theme, instead going for a classic, gold-hued, West Coast lowrider vibe, albeit rendered in 7/10ths scale. Huang, a self-described “human panda” who dabbles as an attorney, author (Fresh Off The Boat), comic, chef, and restauranteur, among other things, clearly wishes to make the underachievers of the world feel even more despondent.
The recipe for Huang’s iA is straight out of lowrider 101: Address the factory finish with a liberal application of custom yellow and gold pearl paint with candy “root beer” lower accents, airbrush on some lace pattern work, apply gold leaf and hand-painted pinstripes, shave the door handles, add a gold-plated grille, color-key the lamps all around, and side-hinge the automated trunk.
Bounce, elevation, drop, and three-wheel motion are provided by a two-stage airbag system with a custom primary controller and valves. To withstand repeated hard landings, chrome-plated billet A-arms are fitted in front and the chrome-plated rear axle gets reinforced, as do several unspecified chassis and mounting points. Although the car in these photos wears 15 x 7.5-inch G Boy wheels each with 100 gold-plated spokes, Scion tells us the car on the floor at SEMA will get 18 x 8 wheels of the same design. The engine is the stock 1.5-liter Scion Mazda unit, but it does run a glasspack with a chrome exhaust tip.
Inside, Huang’s whip gets plenty of microsuede, as the material covers the dash, door panels, headliner, and trunk—even the floor mats are made of the stuff. Seating is custom all around, with Corbeau GTS II units on swivel bases up front and tailor-made units in the back. There’s also a bamboo shifter and a “Human Panda” plaque in the back window, while a classic chain-link steering wheel puts a cap on the look.
Rollin’ on Slauson without an audio system capable of backing up your outward braggadocio would be foolish, so Huang’s iA features plenty of Pioneer audio gear, including two GM-D9601 and one TS-D1004 amplifiers for a claimed total of 5200 watts of output. Reproduction duties are handled by a component speaker system in the front doors, as well as a custom-built rear enclosure fitted with four subwoofers.
Although there’s no question that Huang is a talented and creative guy, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that the actual work on this car was performed by Scott Kanemura and the gang at KMA Industries. But Huang needn’t worry: With a schedule like his, it would be near impossible to turn his own wrenches on a project of this scope.
2015 SEMA Show Full Coverage