Is this a photo of the ultra-rare Scion xB Superleggera? An obscure and elusive one-off custom built by Toyota in the mid-2000s to demonstrate their ability to make a lightweight yet stylish commuter car?
It could be that. It’s also possible I just ripped a bunch of crap off my old 2005 Scion box on wheels. I might have just started restoring it!
This first gen xB is only one of two cars I purchased new. Having owned this econobox for over 15 years, it has witnessed my life change drastically. It’s seen countless highways. It’s seen family dogs come and go. It’s been with us through thick and thin. Accompanying us for nearly 225k miles, it has been our chariot for many road trips, traversing the continental United States several times. Throughout its life, this xB served its role as family commuter car with great honor—easily becoming the most reliable vehicle I’ve ever owned.
Even though we love this little toaster, traveling 225k mostly commuter miles means things were bound to happen to it. Both the front and rear bumper covers have been crunched. Fifteen years baking in the hot Southern California sun has left the paint badly faded. The black steelies looked cool when the car was new, but over the years the color of rust took over.
A quick search on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace shows values of the first gen Scion xB have hit rock bottom. Putting any money into this car doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint—it’s unlikely I’ll ever get any of that money back. But this car has been so good to us that I can’t let it languish any longer. It’s time to restore this thing!
The revival process has started by removing broken bits, and prepping the car for paint. It’s unclear where this xB project is going—I just know that the car needs to look nice again. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, check out my video below and feel free to offer suggestions for what you think this xB should look like when I’m done!
When you’ve owned a car for as long as I’ve owned this xB, it can transform into a moving storybook of remembrances. While this hunk of metal is simply a machine, it has provided me with vivid reminders of moments in my life. Every car has a story to tell, and I hope this restoration can continue that story well into the future.