Super Street - - Contents - WORDS Aaron Bonk PHO­TOS V

Brian Duong likes be­ing first. He started fid­dling around with friends’ cars be­fore he could drive. He stuck Supra tail­lights onto some­thing that wasn’t a Supra be­fore that sort of silli­ness was out of bounds. And he or­dered him­self up an FR-S as soon as he got word that Scion would be sell­ing the rear-wheeldrive coupe. But liv­ing in Florida meant that be­ing first wasn’t al­ways easy. “The car scene was al­ways be­hind,” Brian says about those early days, usu­ally find­ing out 12 months later than the West Coast that things like rac­ing stripes and mon­ster-tach shift lights were no longer cool. “So when I would get a chance to visit fam­ily in L.A., I would also search for car parts for my­self and my friends.” And, by de­fault, brush up on what he’d oth­er­wise have to wait an­other year or two to find out.

Brian’s since re­lo­cated to the other side of the coun­try and, nowa­days, plays a part in di­rect­ing the move­ment he once trav­eled 2,500 miles back and forth to take cues from. And by di­rect­ing the move­ment, we’re talk­ing about that FR-S of his be­ing the first of its kind in the U.S. to wear Varis’ Kamikaze aero. And if for some rea­son hand-laid fend­ers, dif­fusers, and an as­sort­ment of car­bon pan­els don’t get you all riled up, know that this FR-S’ boxer engine is also the first to puff through both Greddy’s turbo sys­tem and the com­pany’s bolt-on quar­tet of in­di­vid­ual throttle bod­ies.

Ask Brian and he’ll tell you he never planned on do­ing any­thing out of the or­di­nary with the Scion, a car that suc­ceeds mul­ti­ple cars of his that’ve made their way into mag­a­zines and even to the halls of SEMA. He’ll even tell you that, at first, the FR-S was only half his. “[It] started off as a pro­ject be­tween my youngest brother and [me]. I in­tended to have just sim­ple body mods with wheels and good sus­pen­sion set up to be a daily, fun car,” he says. “As the years passed, we started to mod­ify it more and more, the styling of the car be­gan to evolve, and my brother de­cided he no longer wanted to be in­volved in this pro­ject, so I took [it] over and he got a Prius out of it.” Brian: 1, brother: 0.

Brian—sales man­ager for Mackin In­dus­tries, the North Amer­i­can dis­trib­u­tor of brands like RAYS Wheels and Pro­ject Mu—tapped into his net­work of in­dus­try peeps to ar­range things like that whole multi-lay­ered ar­range­ment of throttle bod­ies stashed in be­tween his FA20 and that GTX2871R turbo. Greddy’s tech­ni­cians fas­tened all of the bits into place, mak­ing sure both meth­ods of in­duc­tion got out of each others’ way. They even went on to fab­ri­cate a one-off ex­haust sys­tem just for Brian’s FR-S be­fore wrap­ping the whole thing up.

Like so many of Brian’s pre­vi­ous projects, this FR-S was also Sema-bound. And as is of­ten the case with any­thing Sema-bound, tim­ing was crit­i­cal. And by crit­i­cal, we mean there wasn’t enough of it. “Re­ceiv­ing the kit a few weeks prior to SEMA was very nerve-rack­ing,” he says about the Varis bits, “and hav­ing Eva­sive and Auto Tuned put the car to­gether right be­fore SEMA was stress­ful.”

But no­body’s feel­ing sorry for Brian. He has two-way-ad­justable Mo­ton shocks, Pro­ject Mu brakes, and TE37S all around to make him feel bet­ter. He also has more than 310 whp—not bad for a guy who’s rel­a­tively new to boxer en­gines. “Other than a few of my friends’ STIS,” Brian says, “I’m more fa­mil­iar with Nis­sans,” which is ev­i­dent by the list of S13s, S14s, 350Zs, and G37s the guy’s gone through, one of which made his cross-coun­try move pos­si­ble. “I was able to source the first Esprit kit on the East Coast,” he says about the Z that made it to SEMA some 14 years ago by way of RAYS Wheels. “[That] car was my link to mov­ing from Florida back to Cal­i­for­nia to work for Mackin.”

For Brian, the FR-S was meant to be what he de­scribes as a fun daily driver, but the car’s ex­ten­sive list of up­dates ren­ders it just as much im­prac­ti­cal as it is fun. It’s a trend Brian’s fallen prey to more than once, most re­cently man­i­fested in the form of an Evo X that was meant to fa­cil­i­tate his grow­ing fam­ily but ended with a wide­body kit of its own and, like the rest of his cars, im­prac­ti­ca­bly un­drive­able. “[It] started off with just sim­ple mods as my daily driver,” he says. “Some­how that didn’t last.” It al­most never does.

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