Joshua Safran - 2015 Scion TC
Several of my modifications are actually custom or no longer produced. I've been lucky enough to make some amazing connections in the car industry, who have helped me land success in both modification and competition
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2015 Scion TC
I'm from Long Island, NY, but I've lived in North Carolina since 2014. I currently work in the hospitality industry as a server/bartender, but I'm currently studying to become a social worker within the field of domestic violence and victims' counseling/advocacy. As far as hobbies go, I really enjoy detailing my car in my free time, researching new ways to modify my TC, even though I can't afford half of the parts I want right now (soon to change), helping my team members with their build and modifications, and solving my Rubik's cube!
What or who got you into cars?
Ironically, I ended up having my 2013 Kia Soul wrapped around a tree, because I didn't realize you needed to "break-in" a new set of rotors. (I knew nothing about the process at this time, and they were drilled, as this was my first attempt in car modification). Following the purchase of my TC, I did some research to find out the reason behind Scion’s downfall and wanted to celebrate its legacy, because I thought it may establish a good community for tC enthusiasts. Thus, I decided to create a group on Facebook called “Scion TC: Under the Hood”, which provided an online forum for tC owners to discuss their modifications and help each other out with common issues and/or installation tips.
It now has over 2.1K members and is run by myself, as well as Derrick Aquino, who runs his own Youtube Channel, (and does my decals), as well as Adam Yohn, a now-former tC owner. From this point forward, my interest in the entire JDM scene began to develop, and my future with the car scene had begun. I was invited to join my car team, Team Dragon, by the team president, and what ensued is what writes my story.
Why this car?
Honestly, my mom (who doesn’t know anything about car modification) recommended I look into a Scion TC. I had also seen my Romanian neighbors driving an older TC as well, and thought it looked pretty cool, so I decided to purchase it. Regardless, my mom's advice is essentially the reason I decided to go with the TC.
Why did you build this car?
The National President of Team Dragon Car Club contacted me back in 2018, wanting to invite me to join the team. After discussing the details, I accept the invitation and took it upon myself to build North Carolina’s chapter, which I’ve rebuilt twice as the years have gone by. Truthfully, if it wasn’t for the invite, I wouldn’t have gotten into the car scene. As far as modification, I chose to modify it according to my own tastes, rather than what everybody else does, as I wanted to build rarity, as I state in my Instagram bio. I bought the best cat-back exhaust system I could find, completely renovated my engine bay, which I decided not to the turbo, due to North Carolina’s emissions test.
I was mentored by Patrick Coughlin, the National President of my car team, who trained me on how to lead my chapter, as well as build for success, and help others accomplish the same feats. Since 2018, I have scheduled and attended over 30 car shows (and still counting), as well as transformed a stock TC into an award-winning build (twice), obtaining more than 10 personal sponsors, which have accounted for more than 50% of my 30+ modifications (and growing), and have a full sponsorship with Bearded Panda Fabrications, who are currently working on my entire aero kit! I now serve as an influencer for not only the 2,000+ people in my Facebook group, but members of my own chapter who discuss their builds with me and upcoming plans, as well as the National Chapter Director of my car team, where I train new chapter presidents across the nation, and assist other TC owners on my team with their own modifications.
What does it feel like owning and driving this car?
It feels like a couple of things. Firstly, it fees like *vroom* every time I drive through a tunnel or underpass. Secondly, I love the looks I get from people walking around my car at shows and even parking lots. Thirdly, it's funny when I have stock cars with just a loud exhaust try to race me, and they soon find out I'm fully built and tuned... I say, "Bye, bye."
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What makes your car unique?
Several of my modifications are actually custom or no longer produced. I've been lucky enough to make some amazing connections in the car industry, who have helped me land success in both modification and competition. While there aren't a ton of aftermarket parts readily available for my car due to the end of Scion, I've decided to partner with various companies, including Bearded Panda Fabrications, who also sponsor my car team, to create custom carbon fibre pieces to make my build as unique as possible, and set myself apart from the crowd.
I enjoy having limited edition pieces, because not only does it draw attention to my build, but it gives me the ability to tell my story in the car scene, and develop amazing friendships with fellow car enthusiasts, and other TC owners who want to collaborate with me for future photoshoots and/or custom modifications. I choose not to go with what the crowd wants, or expects, but with what makes me happy to both admire and drive, as both a daily and show car.
Wheels and Suspension
- @aodhanwheels: DS07 wheels
- @racelandsuspension: Classic Coilovers
- @r1concepts: drilled rotors
- @hawkperformance: HPS ceramic brake pads
- @mishimoto: open-ended lug nuts
- @greddyperformance: RS 2.5” catback exhaust
- @injentechnology: cold air intake
- @dezodmotorsports: Dezod Green header
- @hpsperformance: 5-pc silicone hose hit
- @passwordjdm: carbon fibre engine cover
- @ctrends2: carbon fibre fuse box cover
- @bearded_panda_fab: Vader 2.5 Lip/Splitter
- @sciongrillelife: upper/lower mesh grilles
- @ctrends2: carbon fibre eyelids
- @diodedynamics: HID headlights conversion
- @ijdmtoy: 3rd brake light LED conversion
- @spyderauto: halo fog lights
- @morimotoled: tail light LEDs
- @ctrends2: carbon fibre paddle shifter extensions
- @mokuzaivip: tsurikawa
- @streetaero: carbon fibre shift knob
- @diodedynamics: LED swap
- “Carbonized” - The Cockpit Collection
- Radio Trim
- Glovebox Trim
- Door Panel Grip Handles
- Mirror Switch Assembly
- Master Switch/Passenger Switch
- Interior Door Handle Inner Trim Bezels
Have you done the work yourself?
I actually don't perform any of the weeks myself, unless it involves interior modification. I don't know much about engine bay modification, so I have my garage, Phantasm Motorsports, work on 95% of my modifications. It also allows me the chance to check out the imports in their parking lot, and get some ideas with my own future modifications, and form new connections in the area.
My future plans are heavily dependent on my sponsor, Bearded Panda Fabrications, in regard to my future body kit, and carbon modifications, including side skirts, a new spoiler, canards, and more. I am also planning to upgrade my radio, as well as seats, and install a custom subwoofer in the trunk with a minimal appearance to allow room for me to pack up our team equipment and gear when we have upcoming shows.
Honestly, just have fun with it. You can always get an aftermarket steering wheel, or upgraded interior trim. You can grab some aftermarket wheels, lower your car, replace the seats, and modify the engine bay with fully functioning parts that won't break immediately after purchase. Get creative, and build a custom showpiece. There aren't too many TC's in the JDM scene that is fully modified, so do your research, spend some time constructing a blueprint of your goal, and begin your journey to building a show car. Almost every piece of your TC is easily removable, so learn your car and proceed with innovation.
Looking for a new club? Have a look at the ones featured on our site HERE
A huge shoutout to my team, @teamdragon_carclub, @dragon_sti (Brian Raymond, he is the 1st VP that I promoted, after having him by my side for the last 3 years), @rocketbunnycivic (Patrick Coughlin, my team's president, and wouldn't be where I am today, without his guidance), and @tigereye.v6coupe (Matt Griffin, my team's vice president, who has never once failed to offer me solid advice with difficult team decisions, brands for custom work, and honest input with my own modifications as I continue to build). I'd like to thank @vampyrex13 (Derrick Aquino, who has not only provided me with sponsored decals but also helped me to build our Facebook group, Scion TC: Under the Hood, and offer advice, video tutorials, and tuning solutions to our community of over 2K members). I'd also like to thank @bearded_panda_fab (Orlando Rivera) and @bearded_panda_fab_jason (Jason Rivera), owners of Bearded Panda Fabrications, for allowing me the amazing opportunity to join their team with full sponsorship, as we continuously come up with new designs for custom pieces, and revamp the aftermarket industry for tC2.0/2.5 body kits and carbon fibre parts. Finally, a big shoutout to @hung_phantasm for sponsoring myself, as well as my chapter, and helping me with the installation of new engine parts, as well as taking care of the maintenance required for driving a modified car.
What has the car scene brought you?
The car scene has brought me a new meaning to a good life; new friends, connections, amazing opportunities for my own build, as well as future business opportunities. Without my team, and the people I collaborate with, my life would be a tad boring with college and bartending 5-6 days a week. It's also very enjoyable being able to own and modify what began as a daily driver, into a show car with unlimited potential, watching it slowly progress into a masterpiece.
A 1999 Mustang Convertible. I would leave it completely stock, except perhaps drop it and run some decent aftermarket wheels. My only reason is that it was the first car that my late father gave me the keys to when I first moved in with him in 2012.
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