Jonn, along with Derrick Leaf and Dave Elza tore the truck apart and got the frame ready to be powdercoated. They reconfigured most of the front suspension setup and most of the rear. They got it back from powder and quickly transformed it into a roller. The chassis was carted around along with 6-Pack to a few more shows before they turned up the heat underneath the build. The 4Runner was then blown to pieces, which were stored in boxes, stacked on shelves, and thrown into piles in the garage. Jonn still didn’t have a real plan for the truck yet even though he had owned it for almost two years at this point. He knew he was going to have to go big, so he researched a bit and decided to punch out the Chevy block he had and bolted a supercharger on it. Jonn’s interest in his new project reached an all-time high, and his new goal was getting it to show at SEMA 2010. A real blueprint was finally devised after scheduling a few brainstorming sessions with Derrick Leaf, Eric Ward, Brad and Brian Nordmeyer, Rob Roberston, and Donnie Babb from Gauge magazine. Jonn and Derrick were to finish the fab work and tie up the loose ends, Brad and Brian would handle the color at Indy Body Werks, Eric would design the graphics, Donnie would round up the sponsors and parts, and Rob, well, he was qualified to help in every department. The idea of pirate-themed airbrushed artwork was suggested since Jonn is a fan of the plundering, rum-pounding type. Eric then shortly responded with a rendering that blew everyone’s mind. The detail was amazing, and the content was on point with Jonn’s vision. They decided to roll with it, and the Rum Runner was officially born.
Jonn made a call to his retired hot-rod buddy, Bobby Leak, who works out of his home garage and talked to him about the project and off they went. Bobby had the old block bored, decked, and honed in no time flat, and the engine received all new internals that could stand 650 hp.
Derrick finished up the tailgate skin and rear bumper shavers all special ordered from Grant Kustoms. He also flush-mounted three AVS LED brakelights in the rear of the truck. They moved to the front end and had a couple of problems—first, the truck was rocking 17s, which are decent enough but not exactly ideal for this application. The guys tried to stuff 20s, but whoever tubbed the firewall a long time ago wasn’t so good at math since the wheels weren’t even coming close to fitting. 18s fit but rubbed the hood, so Jonn decided to bubble the fenders and hood to clear just enough breathing room. Jonn then realized the hood was going to need cutting to make way for the supercharger, but they didn’t have the motor in the frame or the supercharger let alone the body on the frame. He took measurements from a few diagrams and crossed his fingers before the cutting began. Nobody knew if the engine would fit until the body was back on the frame after it was painted.