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As I was digging through photos for my latest articles, I happened across an older directory that has not seen activity since early 2007. I’m speaking, of course, of an image repository that has remained largely isolated over the last four years. Like most things in life, memories fade all too quickly and in our haste to move into the future, we often forget to appreciate the past. I’ve spent the last four years performing a variety of modifications to my FJ Cruiser. Some were minor projects that I completed in less than an hour. Other upgrades required multiple days, even weeks before they reached a state of completion. And though I have yet to reach the solid axle conversion stage, I’d still rate the extent of my particular modifications somewhere between medium and high. It’s quite amazing how the FJ has transitioned over time.
For those of you who have yet to be bitten by the “mod bug”, these pictures might seem all too familiar. But for me, there are a pleasant reminder of where it all began. If the FJ had a story to tell, mine would have started here. I’d had the FJ less than a week when these photos were taken and it brings back fun memories when I browse through the photos. Quite frankly, I don’t remember another time when the FJ looked this clean. I’ve become quite used to the mud and dirt residue throughout. It’s part of history now and a big part of my daily life. From the day I picked it up at the dealer, my enthusiasm for the FJ Cruiser platform has only grown, and I have Toyota to thank for it. So here’s to Toyota for building not just a vehicle, but a legacy that will hopefully continue for years to follow! Continue Reading →
I call this one a mini-mod. It’s one of the few times I’ve actually done something purely for fun. I’ve never owned a vehicle that inspired this much enthusiasm before, so the thought of a vanity license plate just didn’t make sense before now. But after nearly 3 1/2 years and more than 60k miles in the rear view mirror, I decided it was finally time to give my trail buddy a more glorified title – an identity of sorts. I was looking for something fun that didn’t come across as preachy or too obnoxious.
Using the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) online license request utility I began the process of narrowing down my choices, many of which were already taken. In the end though, I think I came up with a plate that fits my FJ’s personality to a “T” and manages to bring a little more life to an already thriving vehicle. Behold my newly re-branded FJ, casually known to friends and relatives as “Chunk”, now formally and officially known as the “Dirt Hog”. It was an exciting day for both of us as we stood proudly with our new name tags. Continue Reading →
I don’t normally segue too far from expeditionary- or off-road-related topics, but every once in awhile I come across something that either makes me laugh or think harder than usual. I realize that everyone’s sense of humor is different, but I thought the following compilation of advertisements might be worth sharing with others since it made me chuckle. The Trunk Monkey ad campaign was put together by the Suburban Auto Group and due to the overwhelming popularity of the ads, many of them have made their way online to sites like YouTube. Whether these are old or new to you, I bet you still get a good chuckle. Enjoy! Continue Reading →
Most of the folks I know who spend any amount of time modding their vehicles will tell you, once you start, it’s difficult to stop. I don’t think I’d go so far as to draw up a “drug addiction” metaphor, but for many of us, the modifications tend to grow from minor cosmetic upgrades into full-blown mechanical makeovers. Not surprisingly, the extent of funding available for mods can have a major impact on the quantity and quality of the upgrades selected. But in my opinion, a limited budget can actually be beneficial when selecting and prioritizing which mods are completed, and in what order. In order to encourage others that may be interested in modding on a budget, I’ve compiled a quick summary of suggestions and points of view that might help. Continue Reading →
I have to admit, I was a bit surprised when I looked back through our photo collection, only to discover a gap of almost 11 months between FJ Cruiser upgrades. My plan when beginning this blog was to revisit the upgrades as a series of events, chronologically, in a step by step format. Looking back, I now realize that a combination of family, finances, full-time college and work left me little time to fiddle, let alone plan my next vehicle upgrade. So I’m sorry to say you all will have to wait another eight months until I get around to posting more.
That would be cruel.
Luckily, that gap has long since passed so I can dive right back into the magical madness of modding. I’m off to dig through some more photos to see if I can sort out the dates and times of various upgrades. With that large of a gap there’s going to be some guesswork in the time frames but I’ll do my best.
UPDATE: Okay, after doing a bit more research it seems that I simply failed to capture eight months of upgrades on camera. I thought that was a little odd. I found photos taken in February of 2008 that show several major modifications, mods that would have required additional upgrades prior to their installation. But apparently, I have no photos to prove these mods ever took place. Weird. Since most of the products in question are commercially available to anyone, I’ve decided I’ll just end up adding some photos from the vendors’ site to help illustrate when I need to. Stay tuned for another post later this evening…