Sides’ Scion Community

Three years ago, Jeff Sides made one post on an FR-S forum. Now he’s the leader of a community that lives and breathes Scion.
by Dan Nied
May/June 2015
Sides’ Scion Community
Social Status
For Sides, the FR86 Club is about cars, sure. But it’s also about being with friends and bonding over shared passions.

Leader of the Pack Sides and his Arizona 86 club met online, but came together in the real world to raise a little Arizona hell with their Scions.
Photo by Paul S. Howell

Ask Scion lovers about Scion. They’ll tell you that it’s more than a car. It’s a scene. Scion brings people together socially—in real life and online.

This is one of those stories about a group of people drawn together by a car and brought together by a man.

The man? Jeff Sides.

The car? The FR-S.

In 2012, the year the FR-S was launched, Sides was doing some online research while waiting for his highly anticipated car to arrive. He kept coming back to FT86club.com, a forum dedicated to the FR-S. He decided to make a post about Arizona.

“All Arizona FR-S/BRZ Owners Home Page” was the name of the post. His first message was simple: “Too many threads to keep up with. Just need one main thread to keep up with everyone in the Arizona area. Meet ups, shows, events, etc. By the way, hello peeps!!!”

The first response came a few minutes later: “Hi.” The next response: “Howdy.”

Flash Forward
Here we are three years later and the thread has grown to almost 30,000 replies and 1.4 million views. Sides is the Scion Ambassador at Earnhardt Scion and is the president of the Arizona 86 club, which boasts 250 members.

Clearly, Sides passion is all Scion. He hosts “Tech Days” at his house every three months, where he and his FR-S-loving friends—who range from doctors to auto detailers—work on their cars together.

“If someone has a project they can’t do by themselves, we all come together and do it at my place,” Sides says. “I’ll have about 20 cars at my house and we all dig in and work on each other’s cars.”

He hosts several barbecues a year for his community “just to bring people together and hang out,” Sides says. And last year, his club brought 400 Scions to the dealership for the annual AZ86 Bash—a gathering of FR-S lovers and aftermarket vendors.  It attracts about 500 people (or 400 cars, as Sides measures it).

“The AZ86 Bash takes about four months of organization each year,” Sides says. “From designing shirts to organizing the vendors and the raffles. Luckily, I’m a very organized person.”

Un-curbed Enthusiasm
Not surprisingly, Sides will gush about Scion and Scion owners all day.

“Scion attracts such a wide range of people,” he says. “As far as the cars, obviously I love the FR-S. The xB, I say it day after day, for the money you can’t beat it as far as fuel economy and versatility. It’s just an all-around great vehicle. I love the new body style on the tC. And I’m looking forward to seeing the new stuff from Scion.”

Sides embraces the edge that sets Scion apart from competitors. He’s extremely active on Facebook and Instagram (you can add him @Azfrs86).

“I love when people have questions about their car or how Scion works,” he says. “But the biggest part of it is the community. It’s mostly about bringing owners together and spreading knowledge about accessories or things you can do with the vehicle.”

What draws Sides, and his community, to Scion? It’s not just one thing, really. It’s just that there’s nothing like it.

“Scion isn’t your everyday boring design and style,” he says. “That’s one of the biggest things that draw people to these cars. People love it all, the exterior style, versatility, fuel economy, price point and simple sales process.”
 
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