There is a time honored saying, something along the lines of, “good things come to those who wait.” We at Slam’d we have to respectfully disagree. In our language, the phrase more accurately translates to, “good things come to those who work hard for them.” For those who need to see in order to believe, we offer the 1990 Toyota 4Runner (aka 4Stunner) that belongs to Mark Ratkovic. By Mark’s own hands, dedication, and vision, this build has been in process for more than three harsh winters in Alberta. Though its owner assures us that there is always more to come, what we see before us now is certainly a tangible fulfillment, of the aforementioned proverb.
Photos: Christine Elliot – Tailored Media Productions | Video: Vital Productions | Words: Michael Phillips
Not all 4Runners are created equal. Assuredly, not all are built to crawl. Mark purchased his 1990 Toyota 4Runner for a mere $2,000 dollars, back in 2012. Since then however, he has taken all the necessary steps and has cut no corners, in order to transform a bare bones daily driver, into a show-ready work of art. Mr. Rakovic is by no means a stranger to envisioning and executing, beautiful examples, of properly slammed trucks. A list of his past completed projects includes a 1990 Mazda B2200, an ’89 Ford Ranger, and quite a few Volkswagens in the mix. In accordance with his previous works, the 4Stunner has had excellence locked in its crosshairs since day one. Despite its current state of awesomeness, Mark continually assured us that it is not yet completed, but we just had to take a closer look for ourselves.
This Toyota colors so far outside the lines, it all-together redefines what it means to be a 4Runner. In a different life, it may have been lifted a good six inches or so, force-fed through a snorkel, slapped with a paint job consisting of mud and scratches, and made to crawl over every rock on God’s green earth (not that theres anything wrong with all that). While these kinds of modifications and application may have been more in tune with what her original engineers envisioned as its purpose, 4Stunner’s most recent owner showed it a brave, new world. Its a world filled with glorious custom sheetmetal and smooth roads for low altitude cruising. A world where the cuts come from a sawzall rather than a tree branch. In this land, copper lines stretch as far as the eye can see and compressors sprout up, covering the ground. The air in this world is crisp and clean. One deep breath tells you that the air belongs in ‘bags, suspending custom cars and trucks just centimeters above the asphalt. This is the world of Slam’d.
Don’t think for a second that Mark’s ‘Yota SUV belongs any place other than this. It’s stance is astounding and just the kind of pavement scraping engineering that we can’t get enough of. These features are supported by a 2.5-inch body channel and Air Lift Dominator ‘bags, on all four corners. The 18-inch Dcenti wheels are tucked deeply underneath the fenders, producing an atheistic that would demand heavy fabrication and customization. This look is further intensified by the unique fiberglass hood which rolls inward, continuing the fender lines and providing front inner fenders. The outlandish hood (or lack thereof) exposes the motor fully and displays its mean, seething appearance in all it’s glory.
Other full body modifications include a shaved cowl, rear bumper delete, and massive 3×6-foot sliding ragtop. All of the exterior mods which Mark had envisioned for his build were carried out by Speedy Collision. The work helps define the SUV, giving it character and flare. We can say, without hesitation, that the old-school “SoCal” ragtop look and feel of the 4Stunner paired with the bright red interior are the perfect combo. Upon opening the roof, the completely customized interior absolutely shimmers. Bright crimson race-style buckets provide ample comfort and support. All red everything stretches from the refinished dash to the carpet, and covers nearly every inch of the interior. The ultra grade touch-points are no exception. A unique billet steering wheel is wrapped in matching red and a specially-built center console houses custom window switches, billet lined cupholders and the AccuAir controller. Trust us when we say that 4Stunner’s interior sounds as good as it looks. A full JL Audio system brings the experience to life and is finished off by an onboard DVD multi-media head unit.
Further cementing its claims to originality and exclusivity is the vehicle’s source of power. Originally equipped with a 4pot engine, it now boasts the mighty 4.7L 2UZ-FE V8. The monstrous motivator is backed by an automatic transmission, sending power to a modified 4Runner driveshaft which is supported by a Tundra yolk. Failure of the original transmission was the encouragement Mark needed to pursue the motor swap and powertrain rebuild. The shear amount of work which Mark has invested over the last three years, in his home garage, definitely ranks this build near the top of his accomplishments.
Mark reiterated time and time again that a project of this magnitude required the understanding of his wife Patricia, and the patience of their wonderful children. Because they love what he loves, Mark was able to devote long hours, across the span of three years, into this build. His fellow members of the Forbidden Fantasy car club also supported his efforts, motivating him to finish his 4Runner and get it on the road. Though Mark holds to the fact that no project is ever 100% completed, the 4Stunner will soon be as close to done as she may ever be. Expect to see this carefully built specimen on the podium of a show near you once winter breaks in the great white North, as Ratkovic plans to continue showing his 4Runner across Canada and the US. We are honored to have had the chance to learn more about and showcase this unique build. Through hard work and dedication, Mark has produced a perfect representation of the Slam’d Mag spirit and his own creative vision – we can’t wait to see what’s next!
Owner: Mark Ratkovic
Vehicle: 1990 Toyota 4Runner
Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Club: Forbidden Fantasy
Front suspension: Air Lift Dominator airbags, Monroe shocks, KBS upper and lower tubular control arms
Rear suspension: Home-built triangulated 4-link w/ Air Lift Dominator ‘bags on bars, Monroe shocks
AccuAir management with custom BagBarn manifold cover
Wheels:18×8.5-inch Dcenti hoops
Tires: 215/35/18 Sport One rubber
Channeled 2.5 inches
Shaved rear bumper, cowl, firewall, and wipers
Fiberglassed custom hood/engine bay
3’x6′ sliding ragtop
Bodywork and Black paint done by Wayne Murray of Speedy Collision
Vinyl Red racing seats
Wrapped billet steering wheel
Custom center console w/cup holders, window switches and switchspeed controller
MDF subwoofer enclosed, full JL Audio system with JX 360/4 and two JL JX 1000/1D amps, four JL 10-inch WXV2 subs, and JL 6 ½-inch component speakers in front doors
Special Thanks From Owner:
“Steve Woodward at BagBarn for all the help on getting me the parts needed. Wayne Murray at Speedy Collision for the killer black paint and bodywork done in record time, my wife, family, and car club for the support and push to get it finished.”