If there is one blue-sky thinker among the major automakers it is Scion. Toyota's quirky subsidiary is always looking for wacky ways to push its edgy brand message, and at this year's SEMA show it unveiled one of the wackiest yet. Scion has teamed up with Ridemakerz, a manufacturer of build-it-yourself scale-model toy cars, enabling Ridemakerz customers to build their own version of the new Scion xB called the Ride. Customers get to choose every aspect of the car's appearance from its paint job to its rims and tires to its exhaust pipes. In the interests of thorough automotive journalism, we gave it whirl.
This is how our tricked-out xB Ride ended up, but it took some serious work to get to this point.
The first step in the Ridemakerz process involves choosing a body for your car. In addition to Scion, the retailer has partnerships with Ford and Daimler to offer build-it-yourself scale models of the Ford Mustang, Dodge Ram, and Dodge Challenger Concept. But as this was a Scion press event, we had only the xB to choose from.
Turning over our xB's Comet Blue body, we discovered that the car comes prewired for lighting and sound. Customers can choose from one of five sound effects for their car, with options including sirens, squealing tires, and revving engines.
Next comes the choice of chassis (or, in Ridemakerz speak, "chassiz"). Customers get the choice between "street" and "monster" chassis, and between a freewheel or radio-controlled motor (the latter is an extra $25). We opted for a freewheeling monster.
The car is now ready for the its customization. Accessories include grille guards, spoilers, hood scoops, side pipes, and a lot more. According to Ridemakerz, there are more than half a billion possible combinations for the xB Ride.
And voila! With the addition of some quad side pipes, our very own personalized Scion xB Ride was ready for prime time. Customers can also create their own personalized license plate and receive a unique certificate of title.