The Final Cut: Installation of the Rocket Bunny Scion tC kit
If you frequent Driving Line, you probably know about Editor Justin Pagtalunan and his rare Rocket Bunny Scion tC. When it came to the installation of this wide body kit, Justin knew of only one man he could trust to lead this build – his good friend, Young Tea – one of the masterminds behind 2013 Scion Tuner Challenge winner “Simpli-tC.” I regularly checked in at Auto Tuned to bring you the behind the scenes of the build.
Let’s dive into the dirty work that went into building such a wide and white Scion:
One of the first things to consider when thinking about any overfender or wide body setup is the permanence of the modifications. When Justin handed over the keys to his tC to Young, he knew exactly what was in store. After laying out the kit to make sure all parts were accounted for and in good condition, Young snapped a couple photos to commemorate the beginning of a huge project for the shop and started lining up body panels and kit pieces.
Here’s the catch: because the kit was made for the redesigned 2014 tC (Justin’s tC is a 2011), the kit had to be modified slightly to fit seamlessly to the body of the car.
After jacking the car up, out came the markers to line up where the cuts were to be made. The lighting, marked body panels and protective gear worn all lent itself to a very surgical feeling in the shop. As the day wore on, the front of the tC was measured, marked, cut and checked for fitment and refinement.
In order to fit the kit to the body of the car, multiple corresponding holes needed to be drilled both through the fenders and the body of the car itself. This would allow for Downstar Inc. hardware bolts to secure the Rocket Bunny fenders to the Scion body. While drilling the driver’s side front panel, the team found their first issue with the mismatched model years. The body line along the front bumper and around the headlights varied, and thus, the kit had a few gaps that needed to be filled – something the team would circle back to later. The drilling and bolting continued around to the passenger side of the car, and soon the front fenders were both set, for now.
Next, the team moved to the side skirts and rear of the car – cutting, fitting and refining throughout the afternoon. Soon all of the fitting was approved and then removed until the project was ready for its final installation.
Wraps and Reinforcement
The next step came in the form of fiberglass and vinyl wrap. Because the lip around the wheel wells was removed, the fenders were reduced to pieces of sheet metal with no real bottom edge to prevent crumpling or bending. The answer to this problem was applying fiberglass along the edge to reinforce the surface and prevent damage from any extra stress. Once the fiberglass dried, it was wrapped in matte black vinyl film to blend into the shadows of the wheel well.
The doors and hood both received decals installed prior to being wrapped in satin white vinyl. Justin started his build with a Speed Racer theme and wanted to make sure it carried over to the tC’s next phase. The Mach 5 “M” adorned the carbon fiber hood, while number 5s were hidden in the doors. These decals, when wrapped over, cause perfect relief outlines in the shape of the decal to show through the wrap.
Once the entire car was wrapped in satin white, the pieces of the Rocket Bunny kit were next. Patience and years of experience showed their value as the car was quickly and cleanly wrapped without much issue or visible seams.
Measure Twice, Test Fit Three Times
The fenders and side skirts were all wrapped and ready to go, but the front fender cap issue hadn’t been resolved yet. To fix the gap between the bumper and cap, a Bondo mold was slowly filled between the two surfaces. This extra material helped the cap to align with the bumper perfectly and would go undetected once wrapped up in vinyl...and if I hadn’t taken a picture of it.
Front, Back and All Four Corners
The front lip that came with the kit had been judged much too aggressive to run on a daily driver, and would prevent the car from sitting as low as desired. Through Young’s recommendation, he and Justin decided to reach out to another friend, Troy Sumitomo of Five Axis Design, to source a tC FiveAD lip kit that has since been discontinued. Sure enough, the lip melded with the rest of the kit perfectly. The original Rocket Bunny wing was already spoken for (ahem...Fredric Aasbo) when Justin got the kit from GReddy, so a Racing Solution carbon fiber duckbill stood in and mounted up perfectly across the rear of the hatch. Justin’s original look for the tC was sleek, slim and with stretched tires; that was no longer going to work with this big, aggressive change. New, meatier Nitto Tire INVOs and spacers were used to push the wheels out to the curbsides and beef up its look whether the car was aired up to drive or aired out to break necks.
Now the car was really coming together. The vast majority of the work was done, but there was still a fair amount left after the kit was fully installed and approved by Young, Robin and various visitors to the shop. Decals of sponsors adorned the side windows, windshield banner, rear window, and a few were inlaid under the vinyl of the side skirts just like the door cards and the hood’s ‘M’. With the fresh new tires mounted, we took a few minutes to shoot a how-to on installing the Nitto Tire Stickers that wrapped around the sidewalls. Once they dried and the car was given a couple once-overs by multiple sets of eyes, the team called it a success and the car was handed back over to Justin just in time for AutoCon LA 2016.
Overall I had an absolute blast spending so much time with the great guys and gals of Auto Tuned and following my first complete installation of something so major on a single car. Throughout the process, many friends and family members stopped by to check out the undertaking – a unique touch that makes Auto Tuned feel more like a family than most shops I’ve been to in the past. The results spoke for themselves as the car was appreciated by multiple media publications at AutoCon and undoubtedly is still turning heads on the highway as Justin’s daily driver.
In case you haven't see it, check out our feature on the full build.
For more detailed, behind the scenes photos from the install, swipe through the photo gallery below.