We’re so used to having cars around that I think we all too often forget what remarkable machines they are, just in a very general way. We’re so spoiled by modern car conveniences and horsepower and distracted by styling and status that we forget that pretty much any car, and I mean any car, can do some pretty incredible things. A perfect example of this idea is this Scion xA that I happened to see in Pennsylvania.
I was driving back from New York with our very own David Tracy, returning from a trip to send off our no-longer-our-own Patrick George with lots of booze and booze-fueled embarrassments. As we drove through a cold, gray section of Pennsylvania, we each had our eyes grabbed by some cars parked in a large scrapyard/tow lot: for David, it was a bunch of XJ Jeep Cherokees, and for me it was an Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan and the car I want to talk about now, this very, um, modified Scion xA.
This little Scion was being used by the Getz Service Station in Breinigsville, and the former entry-level commuter car/errand-runner had been transformed, with brutal utilitarianism, into something that was basically like a land tugboat.
The Scion is used to haul parts from one end of the scrapyard to the other, along with pushing or towing vehicles, often vehicles much bigger than the Scion itself.
The modifications made to the xA are simple and kind of ingenious, especially how the roof was partially cut off, then folded to form a rear wall for a shortened cab, with a rear window hacked into it. This setup turned the Scion into a sort of high-sided single-cab pickup truck, the rear seat and cargo area now forming a useable little load bed.
Front and rear also have big, beefy bull bars for pushing and shoving vehicles, with the front one having a very tugboat-like tire that can be positioned to cushion the impacts of ramming into trucks or whatever, a bit.
There’s a tow hitch at the rear, a rotating orange light bar up top, and a big-ass truck side mirror. The result is a tough little beast that can drag or shove a dead F-250 wherever it needs to go.
If you were to describe the job this little guy does, most people would tell you that, duh, you need some big, tough truck. But the truth is, you don’t, at least not really.
Sure, that Scion has an engine that only makes about 108 horsepower—but that’s still one hundred and eight horses! That should be plenty to push or drag almost anything around. It must be because it does.
I really like the clever repurposing shown here, and I love how improbable this second life is, given to what was likely some college kid’s get-around car or some basic grocery-grabber. I think it’s safe to say that none of the designers or engineers behind the Scion xA were considering this as a likely use case for the car—yet here we are, and it seems to be managing just fine.
Good work, little shitbox. Keep it up.