OWNER / WORDS / PHOTOS: JONATHAN ALONSO
Born in Mexico, I grew up enjoying the outdoors, from going mountain biking every weekend to camping trips with my parents. So, I wanted my kids to have the same experiences as me, but in our own way. I own GoGoldDesigns, and we do custom designs, logos, stickers, and have now also started offering vinyl wraps in the Houston area. My plan is to have a full-running shop by the end of the year. I have been fortunate because my friends support me by recommending me to others and also letting me do wraps on their own vehicles. I love camping, so this came naturally for me to be able to share similar experiences with my kids, and hopefully their kids in the future. Being a part of this community and lifestyle has really opened business opportunities like our vehicle wrapping business, which has allowed me to create great friendships with people throughout the US, and has allowed me to create amazing partnerships with other brands as well. In my opinion, kids will not remember what toy you bought them last month, but they will remember the trip that you took four years ago. Being able to unplug and go as a family is what is most important for me. My kids play competitive soccer, so they really don’t have time to be playing video games much, but I still prefer for them to go out and explore life outside of soccer and enjoy time as a family. As far as my automotive background, I have always found myself modifying my vehicles, no matter what they were. From my MK2 GTI to my Chevy Corrado, my Evo 8 to my first-gen 4Runner – all of them have been built to my liking.It all started with an Instagram group called @weekendoffroad that I started following. I joined them on one of their excursions and I was hooked after my first trip. I have a great career in finance. It’s not exciting and I have formed great relationships with my clients, but I needed more in my life. I chose the handle @more.van.ever because it was a point in time that I decided to live a little. I did not want to regret not taking my kids out on adventurous trips and camping. So we needed this, “more than ever.”
4RUNNERS 4LIFE My fifth-gen Toyota 4Runner is the first real off-road build that I’ve done, and I love it. This was the intention when buying the fifth-gen; I knew I wanted to get into off-roading. But I never would have imagined it would have taken me this far in the game. My first Toyota was a third-gen 4Runner that came with a 3” lift and 285s that I loved. Then I got a fourth-gen model that I managed to leave stock somehow. Now, with the fifth-gen that I have, I’ve completely modified it. But I can’t forget about my first-gen that I love…It was one of my favorite cars ever. Now, I just have the first-gen and the fifth-gen versions. The previous ones have been sold since I was upgrading to the next one. If I could go back, I would love to have my third-gen back. It was the perfect mix between the comfort of a more “modern” vehicle with the raw feeling of a 5-speed manual transmission.
Ever since the first 4Runner TRD PRO came out in 2015 in that Inferno Orange color, I fell in love with them. And once I was able to finally afford one, I didn’t hesitate. I was originally trying to find a 2017 Cement Gray TRD PRO 4Runner, but they were selling for more used than new models! So, I ended up with the Cavalry Blue after lots of calling and searching for one available without markup from dealers ( even they were marking them up to $10-15k over MSRP). Even though the fifth-gen is the one I’ve put most of the modifications into, the first-gen is still my favorite edition; just like my license plate says “first-gen is the best gen.” Being able to remove the roof, the 5-speed manual, no electronics… it just gives a much different driving experience that’s so raw. But I do not want to start cutting it all up really, doing too many crazy things with it. I want to leave it as “stock” as possible for as long as possible. Let’s be honest, I know myself, so eventually I’ll go a little bit crazy on it also. But for now, let’s say that (lol).
A LEARNING CURVE I’ve never been one that just throws the checkbook at the vehicle to just build it without really knowing why I’m changing that part. I have always been the one that first learns the vehicle’s capabilities and once I’ve surpassed them, then I upgrade it. It’s better to learn and know why something is needed than to just get it because other people get it. I’ve been lucky to be involved in this community in a way that has allowed me to build relationships with amazing partners along the way like Ironman4x4, Alpharex, Toyo Tires, Dirt King Fabrication, Rigid Armor and a few others that I’ve showcased in my build. I do 99% of the work myself, but there are a few shops that I would trust like TEQ Auto Solutions, owned and operated by Jeboost (as everyone calls him). The only custom parts I have added aren’t really “custom parts,” but cuts to the body for high clearance. I was one of the first to do the high-clearance front bumper cut, or “viper cut” as they now call it. I also trimmed my fenders to be able to fit the 37s without rubbing, and have also cut my rear fender in a way that maximized the departure angle. There weren’t any major challenges except having to buy a product twice sometimes. Even though I went through different setups, they have always been what I needed at the time. However, as my skill and demand on the 4Runner grew, I then had to upgrade that part again as a result.
I’ve added so many things to the 4Runner that I love, but if I have to highlight a few of them, they would be:
a way that is safe not only for you but the environment as well. I believe that anytime you go anywhere always leave it cleaner than how you found it.
TECH SPECS_ 2018 TOYOTA 4RUNNER TRD PRO
TECH SPECS_ 2018 TOYOTA 4RUNNER TRD PRO