Make Your Own Luck – Mike’s Xb

Thursday 28 June, 2012 | By Ken

Ever met someone that  just can never seem to leave well enough alone? That person that takes something perfectly fine and tinkers to death. The question that pops up is, if you can’t leave well enough alone, are you making a positive move forward, or just screwing things up? They are out there, and Mike Orem, owner of this Xb is a prime example. A hardcore vdub enthusiast for many years, and known for his insane, magazine quality builds, Mike officially got out of the dub scene in 2009 when he sold his last mk1 GTI. Some of you may be thinking, Volkswagen magazine masterpiece to a…..toaster? If you have the opportunity to meet and talk to Mike, you will know, this guy can’t leave well enough alone because his style and experience dictate the next step in the evolution of his projects.

Shortly after he sold his MK1, Mike started doing his thing with a couple of Harley Davidson choppers and then a truck. Those are all discussions in and of themselves, just like his old project dubs, but our spotlight today ladies and gentlemen is Mike’s Box as he likes to refer to his Xb. Not your typical road-reliable, gas-saving commuter, but that’s exactly how it started out for this Scion when he traded in his heavily-modded truck for what you see here. At the time, he was touring with his band, and the commuter status fit in perfectly.  Of course, it looked nothing like this. Basic TRD mods, a head unit, some Konigs and springs are what was already on the vehicle, and he rocked like that for the first 5 months before his band went and purchased a van to haul everything to their shows. That’s when it happened.

Surfing the forums and everything Scion related, opened Mike’s eyes. The builds, the Japanese styling influence, and the fact that even with a vehicle that was 6 years old at the time (2005), proper parts for this platform were super-rare and required patience, persistence and knowledge to obtain. He knew that what he wanted and expected for the Xb build, in the end, had to be clean, with a mature approach at tuning. Not someone to go out and drop a nice chunk of change along with his vehicle to some “tuner”, Mike put his blood, sweat and tears into his Xb. Aside from physically spraying the white paint onto the body mods and welding the strut bar tank mount, all the work seen before you was done right on his concrete driveway.

Would you believe that in one short-year, Mike turned a pretty-much-stock Xb with a few TRD mods to what you see before? Then take into account that the first 5 months of that year was actually devoted to operating as a people-mover, and you have to give much props. Mike went hard last winter, with his goal of having this Xb show-ready and up-to his standard of quality before spring. Considering this was his first time installing and owning a car with an air setup, it was brand new experience for a guy that has been known for incredible builds in the past.

For all the compliments Mike gets about the wheels, the seats or the stereo setup, his favorite as he has mentioned, goes something like this: “I never really liked this boxy thing since it came out, Mike, but you might have changed my thoughts on that.”

The attention to detail throughout the build is what really sets this Xb apart from most other builds. Classy, simple, never overly-done, this Scion screams at you in the best possible way. Just take a look at some of the key details like the turn-signal housings, the exhaust tip, the headliner and the gas cap to name a few.

We had the privilege of shooting Mike’s Xb on a warm spring Sunday afternoon. Here is a guy that truly lives his passion. Most people go out and admire what others have, but Mike goes out and goes after what he knows he wants. You can sense hints of his skate, music and euro background in his Xb, but its a continually evolving project. Mike states that sometimes, he finds it hard to truly pinpoint the direction of his build. Is it VIP? Is it JDM? Is it USDM?

It’s just Mike’s Box. Make your own luck. That’s what Mike does, and this guy is definitely moving forward.

We first caught up with Mike at the FRESH MEET event in Union, New Jersey during the spring. Be sure to say what’s up to Mike and check out his Xb at the upcoming FRESH MEET Event on July 15, 2012 at Kean University.

And yep, that’s Mike’s Xb on the FRESH MEET flyer!

Exterior: VIS racing urethane front lip  |  3 piece JDM Factory Toyota Billet grill set powdered satin black  |  Night Sharde 3 piece bonnet spoiler  |  Orataro side marker eyebrows  |  Color matched Esam style rain guards  |  Keytechniques lock covers and wiper delete plug  |  JDM Toyota Sports smoked gas door with Chrome cap garnish  |  TRD Carbon Pillar Garnish kit

“Scraping The East Coast”

Exterior Lighting:

Custom Retrofitted OE headlights, cleared, and blacked with houndstooth accents  |  8k Hi/Lo Digital HID kit with remote controled led backlit citylights and ccfl halos  |  V-Led Switchback turnsignal bulbs  |  Toyota bB fog light assemblies with 8k DDM Tuning digital HID kit  |  Scionpro 3w LED micro fog kit in yellow  |  Cleared OE tails with Toyota color matched Garnishes, custom reflectors, LED SpyderLite brake bulbs and V-Led 3w projector style reverse bulbs  |  V-Leds Cool white tag lights  |  Oznium LED 3rd brake light assembly

Engine and Bay:

Fujita Short ram CAI tube with K&N Filter  |  Greddy Headers to a Magnaflow high flow cat feeding a TRD stainless axle back with custom Boso inspired tip  |  Agency Power Aluminum underdrive crank pulley  |  bBist Carbon engine cover  |  AEM polished Battery strap and oil cap  |  Greddy Rad cap  |  Password JDM fender bolt kit  |  Scionpro Stainless 3pc rad support garnish  | Tein Bonnet Struts  |  Oznium White LED accent strips


AirLift Easystreet front Sleeve style bag struts w/ Bilstein 9-way inserts  |  UA Airhouse II rear bags on UA’s Scion Bracket kit powdered hot pink  |  Viair 480c into a trap feeding a 4gal UA aluminum tank on a custom built strut tower brace  |  Manual paddle setup monitored by 2 custom console mounted Viair bag pressure gauges and an AirZenith Digital tank press gauge  |  Northern Tool 1to5 aluminum manifold block  |  KYB Echo rear shocks  |  TRD rear sway bar  |  TRD 2pc body brace kit  |  2zero6 Factory 10mm hub shims in rear  |  Randode -3 camber plates in rear


Front- BBS RS180, 1.5 Slant lips and powdered white centers with polished bolts. Specs are 16×7.5 et14 Euro Image Tuning flat caps Wrapped in 195/40-16 Yokohama S-Drives

Rear- BBS RS247, 2.5 Slant lips and powdered white centers with polished bolts.  Specs are 16×8.5 et14 Euro Image Tuning flat caps Wrapped in 195/45-16 Yokohama S-Drives


Clazzio Quilted seat cover kit  |  Lippencott Custom matching tank cover  |  Orataro panssenger VIP table  |  TRD real carbon dash kit  |  Wheelskins leather steering wheel cover  |  2zero6 1off billet HVAC knobs  |  Levoc shift knob  |  2006.5 xB arm rest  |  full houndstooth headliner  |  Broadway wide angle rearview mirror  |  Oznium white LED dash lights  |  V-Led dome light  |  Garson DAD cigarette lighter  |  CS-X3 Xeryus JDM air spencer  |  Custom made carbon gauge panel in center console for air gauges  |  TRD aluminum pedal set  |  TRD carbon Door sill set  |  Unico chrome “Boo Boo” door locks  |  OBX chrome fire extinguisher


Kenwood DNX6190 Reciever  |  Infinity Kappa 3.5 dash speakers  |  Infinity Reference 6.5 door speakers  |  Infinity Reference 10″ sub  |  Infinity Reference 1300a Class D sub amp  |  Lanzar 2farad cap  |  Scosche wiring components  |  19″ Pyle TFT flip down Monitor  |  AudioFormz match painted Sub and amp tub enclosures  |  Viper 5902 Car security with 2way responder and remote start

Photo Credit: Al Norris Photography  |  Edwin Reyes  |  Kenny Bascon

About the author

Co-founder, Managing Director, Photographer, and editor for SNTRL. To many in the Tri-State, Kenny aka "MAD JDM" needs no introduction. Always out there, always ready, always down.



Built Not Bought
Built Not Bought

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