The Faces of Jeep interview with Jon Maib Founder of C4x4.com


FOJ-[Natasha]: “Why did you choose Jeep?”

Jon: “When I was in high school, I had a youth pastor that I looked up to and he was always talking about getting a Jeep so he could take the top off and cruise around with a dog. Eventually, I became interested in Jeeps too. After graduating from high school, I began my first job working for an insurance company. Eventually I had saved up some money and began looking for my first Jeep. Each week I would pick up the local truck trader and would look through the adds trying to find a Jeep I could afford. I had noticed a 1971 CJ-5 that had been in the ads for several weeks and I tried calling the number listed. No one answered and so I moved on. A month later, I noticed this same Jeep, still in the truck trader. I decided to call one more time and finally spoke with the owner, who had been away on business, so the Jeep was still available. I scheduled a time to meet and when I got there, I saw this beautiful CJ5 that was in amazing condition. We worked out the numbers and I drove my first Jeep home. Immediately, not knowing exactly what I was doing, I took the soft-top and doors off so I could cruise around with the top off! I was amazed at the freedom it allowed and it put a huge smile on my face. It was Jeep from then on.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How long have you been wheeling?”

Jon: “After purchasing my CJ5 in 1996, I took it to a local off-road spot to see what it was capable of doing. I went alone the first time out (rookie no-no), but I wanted to play around. I put the Jeep in 4wd (high at the time, no clue what low was) and went playing around. I was amazed at what it could do! I was climbing a hill and as I was about to peak the top, I hit a bump, my foot pushed down on the gas pedal and I launched the Jeep off the ground. It landed with no issue and as I slammed the brakes on, I thought that off-roading was the coolest thing ever.
Shortly after that experience, I had a co-worker introduce me to a friend of his that had a local club called 4 Wheelers 4 Christ. I met up with them and they took me on my first ever off-road trip and the rest is history. Been wheeling ever since!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How many Jeeps have you owned?”

Jon: “Over my life time, I have owned 6 Jeeps, with 4 still in my possession. The first Jeep was my 1971 CJ5 which I ended up selling (STUPID) to purchase a 1961 Willys Wagon that I was hoping to turn into the family crawler because the CJ5 was getting cramped. Before the sale of the CJ5, I purchased a 1997 Jeep Wrangler because they had finally gone back to round headlights and I had to have one! I eventually sold the ’61 Willys Wagon due to financial issues, but kept the Wrangler which has been built through out the years. Eventually, I found and purchased a 1948 Willys CJ2a that needed to be restored and is celebrating it’s 10th year with me! Once again, with the ’97 Wrangler getting cramped, we decided to purchase a 2010 JKU for the wife to drive kiddos around in and is currently our project vehicle. And finally, as our eldest daughter came to driving age, we purchased her a 1997 Jeep Cherokee.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How has Jeep inspired you?”

Jon: “Jeep is part of our life. We use our Jeeps every day for many different things. From off-road, to family grocery getter, to car shows and even supporting our community in parades and such. The Jeep has even inspired an online magazine, C4x4.com.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Where all have you traveled and wheeled? Where is your favorite place to wheel?”

Jon: “In the beginning years, most of my wheeling was in California. So we would often visit local trails in Gorman, Johnson Valley, Big Bear and even did the Rubicon (rode passenger, so need to go back to actually wheel it myself). Moving to Texas some 15 years ago, we have done some of the local stuff around our area, Barnwell Mountain, Northwest OHV Park, Disney, Clayton to name a few.
In California, one of my favorite trails was called Bandlands Cooridor 109, or BC109, located in Gorman. This trail was situated in a wash and had everything from gulleys to rocks. Now that we are here in Texas, my favorite location to wheel is actually located in Oklahoma. Disney, Oklahoma is situated on the back side of a dam and has some of the coolest rock climbs with rocks that have tremendous grip. It has trails from mild to wild to play on as well, so there is plenty to do.”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “How did C4X4.com come to be?”

Jon: “C4x4 was started by myself and John Buell; who was the guy that took me on my first trail ride. We started it as a way for our 4×4 group to reach out to the off-road community as well as a way to give back. At the time (1999), it was one of the first online publications as not very many off-road sites had begun. Which made it great for us as we began to get sponsorship from some of the top off-road companies like Skyjacker, PRP Seats, Borla, Randy’s Ring and Pinon, Mountain Offroad, and Bestop to name a few. We would publish write-ups of products, events, and trail rides, growing the magazine. I stepped away from the magazine 10 years ago for some personal reasons, but left it in the good hands of David Austin to keep it going, which he did. I joined back about 2 years ago, gave the website a refresh and have been helping to build it bigger and better!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “What are your goals for C4x4?”

Jon: “Our ultimate goal is to be an example. What’s that mean? We want our readers, people we hang out with on the trail or at events to see something different in us. The ‘C’ in our website stands for ‘Christian’ and we are the Christian 4×4 Magazine. We know that there are some that hear the word Christian and are immediately turned away, so we named the magazine C4x4, allowing it to be less obtrusive and to allow people to see what we are truly about; great off-road content that is safe for the whole family!”

FOJ-[Natasha]: “Jeep enthusiast new and experienced go check out this great website at c4x4.com Thank you Jon for sharing your awesome jeep journey with us. It’s been a pleasure to interview you. We wish you and C4x4 all the best in the future.”

Photo from Jon Maib, Questions asked by FOJ-Natasha Kokkinis & Answers by Jon Maib

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