The brand from the Land of the Rising Sun didn’t gain the title by accident, and its acerb fight for dominance wasn’t without hinders and mishaps. One of Toyota’s fails was the Scion, a brand invented to attract young buyers toward the GT 86 model (developed In cooperation with Subaru, who sold the badge-engineered GT 86 as the BRZ model).
In 1999, Toyota initiated Project Genesis, a marketing campaign that targeted a revival of the brand’s sales among young Americans. As fate had it, the initiative failed spectacularly. Still, the Japanese auto giant learned its lesson and gave it one more go, launching the Scion sub-brand.
The two-liter boxer gasoline engine developed by Subaru, with an injection system built by Toyota’s Lexus marque, was the only option for the appealing multi-brand automobile. The architecture stayed true to the wise principle ‘If it works, don’t change it’ that sportscars have been born from since the beginning of internal combustion.
The small engine in the front offered the advantage of a low center of gravity; thanks to its horizontally opposed design, the power (197 hp/200 PS) went to the rear wheels. The six-speed gearbox sat in between (it came in either automatic or fun-and-games-manual shapes), and this arrangement allowed a 53/47 weight distribution over the axles.
In 2017, the FR-S and the entire Scion Brand stepped into history. During its four-year existence, the sportscar sold just under 62,000 units. Toyota didn’t like that figure – it wasn’t a good display of performance from the conglomerate bragging about being the world’s leading carmaker. The Scion name was sacked and thrown in a symbolic barn to collect dust for all eternity. In all fairness, the cars would be continued as regular Toyota models and not simply scrapped altogether.
It’s not usual for barn finds hunters to come across fewer than a decade-old cars. Purists of the crankshaft creed would discard them as ‘nonsense.’ They wouldn’t even fathom putting something like a dusty abandoned Scion FR-S in the same conversation with the expression "1971 ‘Vette."
They also gave it an accidental face-peeling during the removal of the paint-protective film that skinned the paint off the front bumper. However, unlike other genuine barn finds from the car-revitalizing duo, this Scion became their possession.
Naturally(-aspirated), the two-liter double-injected motor runs – little surprise there, although chances were that the reason for the car to be ditched would be an engine breakdown – and the FR-S is in decent shape overall. From a fifty-fifty standpoint, the Scion doesn’t even hint at its episodic retirement after the methodical cleansing from the vloggers.
The engine in this Scion FR-S is a small but feisty boxer fitted with double injection – port and direct – for optimal power delivery. Dubbed the D-4S, the dual system relied on the chamber injectors as the main workhorse in the 100-hp-per-liter effort. When the torque band demanded extra fuel, the port injector came to life to deliver the claimed 151 lb-ft (205 Nm).
Not the most impressive of features, but what do you want from a four-pot square-bore high-revving two-liter without forced induction? The 3.385-inch (86 mm) piston diameter was the same as its stroke, and the peak power came at 7,000 RPM. The crank-twisting maximum was achieved at 6,500 RPM, and the 12.5:1 compression was a good incentive for the performance.
Backed by dual variable valve timing that regulated intake and exhaust valve activity, the Subaru H4 engine (that’s horizontal-four) combined the best of both worlds: performance at any engine speed and great mileage (a claimed 34 mpg, or 8.3 liters/100 km) when the gas pedal was feathered.