One offroad fan sent us an extraordinary story: Volker Ehrenstein completely covered his Toyota FJ Cruiser in LIQUI MOLY Stoneguard.
How did you arrive at this rather unusual idea?
Anyone who makes "proper use" of their SUV, knows this problem: lots of journeys, even in European mountains and forests, lead through narrow passages. You have to drive around rocks and boulders or move them out of the way. However, branches, thorny bushes and similar cannot always be removed in advance. Or you simply don't want to, after all, we are conservationists, not destroyers of nature. With inevitable, often intense contact the paintwork is scratched again and again, often even fixtures are damaged. Therefore, sooner or later, alongside the proper mounting of luggage and fixtures, every serious offroader looks for decent paintwork protection or, better yet, robust paintwork. The well-known solutions such as spray film or complete film-covering are not really enough to protect against damage by thick branches, thorns and stone chipping. I have tried both and found them to be unsuitable.
Were there other options?
In principle, the only option left was special paintwork, for example a bedliner coating (editor's note: thick coat, protecting paintwork very well particularly for the cargo area of pick-ups), as available for the cargo area of pick-ups. For me, there were two reasons not to do this:
1. The costs - there is nothing available under €5,000,
2. The look is often really very rustic. If anyone is looking for a good visual theft protection, then maybe.
Why did you use the LIQUI MOLY Stoneguard for this?
More or less by coincidence. As I live in the forest and drive along gravel roads every day, I sprayed the rear wheelhouses with the stoneguard spray in order to get a better "rough" protection. This worked, the surface permanently looks a bit like an orange skin and is even solvent resistant after curing. This lead me to some experimentation. Next I tentatively, rather uncertainly and with great, hopeful excitement, completely stripped my rear doors, slightly roughed them and then coated them "wet in wet" with three to four coats. The result completely convinced me; it was much better than I expected.
Sounds ingenious, but hard work.
Not at all. The material is very easy to use, mistakes can be invisibly corrected where required and a real protective film is created, more like a real protective layer, which is resilient and relatively impervious. Little by little, I individually covered every part with spray cans. Scratches no longer penetrate, the sound insulation of the car has improved, the appearance is just as it should be. A perfect solution for me, which has previously found a lot of interest, be it at the "Abenteuer Allrad (all-wheel drive adventure)" exhibition in Bad Kissingen or at the "Buschtaxitreffen (bush taxi meet)" in Storndorf. Plus, I'm always being approached on the street, not just because of the unusual appearance of the vehicle by German standards, but again and again particularly about the paintwork.
Where do you get your enthusiasm for offroad driving?
As a child I already went over rough and smooth with a tractor, during my military service I learned how to really do it with "Kübel", "Iltis" and "Unimog". From 1989 to 1992 I lived in South America, there my first "real" off-roader was a Jeep CJ 7 Renegade. By then I had really got the bug. I was often stuck in rivers because the Jeep wouldn't start. The first, major conversion to Toyota technology followed, after which I had a properly functioning car. Later on, in Germany, there was also a heavily modified Lada Niva. As that became too small for me, I switched over to an Indian Trax Tempo Ghurka. That, too, had two doors too few, which is why a Land Rover Discovery was next, which was succeeded by three Jeep Grand Cherokees. Today I drive a Toyota FJ Cruiser, which I'm generally happy with. My offroad enthusiasm is actually more an enthusiasm for nature, which I prefer to enjoy in the mountains. Here there are difficult passages and breathtaking adrenaline routes, rivers to cross or ford, glorious possibilities to make your own campsite, just an unbelievably intense experience of nature.
And what else do you plan to do with your FJ Cruiser in future?
My FJ Cruiser is finally the car that no other is to follow. The quality has convinced me over 265,000 km so far. I reeled off 175,000 of those myself. Also, the vehicle is pretty much perfect for my needs. The equipment features of my personal specifications, such as the permanent all-wheel drive, a better offroad and more stable chassis, the gas system, the very important LIQUI MOLY Stoneguard: all this is fulfilled. I was able to make every conversion important to me with a TÜV approval. After every longer journey, at least once per year, there is always one or the other conversion needed, a change or another, which is then done in winter and spring. This vehicle is my material companion through life and changes with my living conditions. For example, I have been severely handicapped due to an accident for almost three years and the car was modified accordingly so that I can operate almost exclusively with one hand, even offroad. The car is yet to receive permanently fitted compressor, an expanded battery system with solar panels and whatever else I think of.
Your offroader seems to be your partner, like KITT for Knight Rider or Colt Seavers and his GMC Sierra pick-up:
Almost. It is my family and is really close to my heart. We have been to the French and Italian Maritime Alps with this car on many occasions. We have crossed the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Romania and other eastern European countries have all been covered. In the coming year there'll be a more relaxed tour to Scotland and the Orkneys. I have not yet made any further plans, but the northern Pyrenees are still a goal. Both sides of the border are unbelievably bleak, craggy and an intense experience of nature. In terms of trips spanning several months, we still have Iceland and a trip to Nordland in Norway to do in the coming years. But hopefully that will be it. And because we still have a lot planned, we have also sustainably planned ahead with the LIQUI MOLY Stoneguard.
And because we still have a lot planned, we have also sustainably planned ahead with the LIQUI MOLY Stoneguard.