We sat in the lobby of The W Hotel in Hollywood rather unsure of our company and why we were called here. I was flying the Joe’s Daily colors in the name of tech, gadgets and men’s lifestyle. The first person I encountered said he was from DSport Magazine, an automotive import performance mag, the next from CoolHunting. Was this an auto industry test drive or lifestyle blog showcase? We weren’t sure at the time, but we came to find out that it was, in fact, both. Invitations arrived from Scion for something different. We knew we were there to help celebrate Scion’s 10 year anniversary, but that was it.
When the whole group arrived, we took a stroll around the block to Hollywood’s famed Lexington Social House. We had drinks followed by dinner and dessert. The conversation was all across the board. We talked playoff hockey, MotoGP, jet lag and our favorite local neighborhoods. I met Doug, whose name tag told me he worked for Scion. I asked what he did there and he casually responded, “Oh, I’m the head of Scion.” Oh. Okay. We chatted about driving experiences, motorcycles and my broken leg. It was an excellent evening on Hollywood Boulevard.
Doug then stood and welcomed the group to ScionExperience. This was the first event of its kind, geared to mix up the typical car event platform. In attendance were lifestyle bloggers, photographers, auto magazines and the like. We were here to be immersed into the brand of Scion. We were going to drive their newest cars, experience their outreach into the arts, and learn about what makes Scion what it is. The agenda for the next day sounded full.
The next morning, we got our first glimpse at the 2014 Scion tC and its cohorts. My partner and I selected a 2013 Scion FR-S and sped off through the hills to the Griffith Observatory. At the top, we made a driver change and I got behind the wheel. I was a little rough on the clutch with my freshly surgically-repaired left leg but it was a blast. The rear end was grippy and I felt like I was going way faster than I should by the time I hit third gear.
We rendezvoused with the rest of the crew at the Scion AV Installation for lunch. Seoul Sausage cooked us lunch out of the back of their Scion xB turned mobile grilling station and we met Levi Maestro, a local artist who has worked with Scion and recently had a gallery opening in the space. Scion works in the arts and music to connect with fans and support the scene. You wouldn’t know it had anything to do with Scion when you walked in, but the space is filled with work from all sorts of artists that have worked with the carmaker in the past. Levi talked to us about his relationship with the team at Scion. They helped him make his mark and expected very little in return. Scion AV honestly feels like genuine outreach to form a community in arts and music.
We finished our lunch and climbed into new vehicles for another drive. I chose the 2014 Scion tC and Marissa from Scion climbed in as my copilot. We sped off around the corners of Laurel Canyon and then hung a right on to Mulholland. I put the new tC through its paces and it kept me satisfied. It isn’t the top end sports car that the FR-S is, but it did everything I expected it to. I connected my phone to the touch-screen stereo through bluetooth, put into Sport Mode and we assaulted Mulholland with the windows down and new Daft Punk blasting. I slid the back end through some corners and felt alive. Back at the hotel, I traded out the tC for the tiny iQ. I’d never driven something as small as it before, but it was awesome on our route through Silver Lake and around the reservoir then back to the hotel. I headed up to the room to check out photos form the day and rest up for dinner.
We gathered at Station Hollywood just outside the lobby for a closing dinner. I traded stories with new friends about our driving experiences of the day. We had two special guests in the form of two very cool cars. First was a Scion tC from the Scion 10 series, celebrating 10 years of scion. It’s going to be released in limited numbers with some pretty cool features so be on the lookout for that. The other was a Scion and Steve Aoki FR-S art car. It was outfitted with a full mixing station, fog machine and custom Aoki graphics. We ate some awesome food (truffle mac, duh.) and sipped signature drinks while we sat under the lights in the outdoor lounge.
My experience with Scion was extremely limited before attending the ScionExperience. I had never driven one of their cars or experienced their brand. They always seemed like a bit of a pet project from Toyota. When the FR-S burst onto the scene, serious car guys had to give them a look. The new 2014 Scion tC only reinforces that. I left the W Hollywood the next morning with a whole new impression. Scion pushes art and culture along with some serious cars. They brought together car guys and lifestyle bloggers to show us that the Scion community transcends MPG or horsepower or cup holders.