- Award-Winning EV: AJ Velasco’s Tesla Model 3 Performance garnered recognition at Electrify Expo events, winning multiple awards in Washington, DC, and Long Island, NY.
- Metal Widebody Masterpiece: AJ’s standout achievement was the custom metal widebody transformation of his Model 3, completed in under two months with expert craftsmanship.
- Championing EV Customization: AJ’s journey aims to inspire the potential of EVs in the customization scene and reshape perceptions, fostering a community dedicated to pushing the boundaries of EV mods and their place in the automotive world.
In the heart of Clifton, New Jersey, automotive enthusiast AJ Velasco has been silently transforming the car scene with his electrified, award-winning masterpiece, the 2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance. A vehicle that not only defies convention but also redefines the very essence of customization. AJ’s journey from an ordinary Tesla owner to the Vice President of RUINED EV and a pioneer in the world of EV modifications is nothing short of inspirational.
A Surprising Start
AJ’s journey into the EV world began with some unexpected twists and turns. “Originally, I was eyeing a BMW M3, Audi RS3, or a Ford Raptor,” AJ recalls. “I never thought I could afford a Tesla, but curiosity got the better of me. So, I strolled into a Tesla dealership.”
He continues, “The price tag pleasantly surprised me – it was more reasonable than those other cars I had in mind. I couldn’t resist the temptation and asked for a test drive of the Performance trim. The moment I hit the accelerator, I was hooked. The raw power and acceleration threw me back into my seat like never before!”
This love affair with the Tesla Model 3 Performance led AJ to make the leap, and he ordered his very own. “Two months later, I had it in my hands, and I was already planning some minor upgrades like satin PPF, tints, and a chrome delete,” AJ says. However, fate had other plans.
The Path to Customization
“After only 500 miles, I managed to bend a factory wheel, and replacing it would’ve cost a fortune. So, I decided to explore aftermarket wheels,” AJ shares. “I ended up purchasing a set of Vorsteiner wheels, and that’s when I saw an opportunity to bring something fresh to the aftermarket scene.”
Wheels were just the beginning. AJ’s journey into customization was a rollercoaster ride, evolving into a full-blown project encompassing a body kit, air suspension, audio enhancements, and more. He explains, “I wanted to inspire others and be an ambassador for the EV and car culture scene. This is a glimpse into the future of what customization could be.”
The Making of a Masterpiece
AJ’s Tesla has gone through multiple iterations, but the current version, known as the “Metal Widebody,” is a testament to his commitment and passion. Collaborating with Alex from 66 Customs NJ, they transformed the car into a work of art. The Metal Widebody project, which was completed in less than two months for SEMA 2022, pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in EV customization.
The design inspiration for this masterpiece hails from a concept by TLC Auto Truck. After months of planning and relentless effort, the Metal Widebody Tesla was born. Alex’s craftsmanship, combined with AJ’s vision, resulted in a jaw-dropping transformation.
Awards and Acclaim
AJ’s journey wasn’t just remarkable; it was also celebrated. His Tesla Model 3 Performance turned heads at the Electrify Expo/Showoff events. The accolades included:
|Electrify Expo in Washington, DC||Best of Show|
Best E-Bike (Super 73)
|Electrify Expo in Long Island, NY||Best Paint presented by Meguiar’s|
Best Kicks presented by Get Money Kicks (Nike Hawai’i SB Dunks)
The Quest for Perfection
AJ’s pursuit of perfection extended to every aspect of his Model 3. Paint color was a significant challenge. “We painted the car House of Kolors Snow White Pearl just 24 hours before heading to Vegas for SEMA,” AJ reveals. “Post-SEMA, I still couldn’t settle on a paint job. I went through numerous samples until I finally went with my gut – Porsche Mexico Blue.”
Wheels were another puzzle to solve. “We weren’t sure how wide we were going to go initially, and ordering wheels came with a long wait time. So, I went with a set of 3-piece SSR Koenigs and had them rebuilt,” AJ explains.
In addition to the paint, AJ collaborated with Rohana Wheels to perfect the fitment and achieve the desired appearance, opting for the RFG15 wheels with a carbon barrel finish with 20×11.5 -5 and 20×11.5 -15 specs.
A Sonic Journey
AJ’s path to crafting his dream Tesla was not without its share of bumps, especially when it came to upgrading the audio system. At first, he veered down a potentially problematic audio route, entrusting a shop that assured him they could handle his Tesla’s sound system just like any other car. However, the reality of the Tesla’s intricate electrical system soon revealed itself.
In the world of Tesla modifications, it turns out that assumptions can lead you astray. AJ discovered that the Tesla’s electrical setup was far more sensitive than he had imagined. The simple act of adding amplifiers could trigger power spikes, resulting in errors and headaches.
Committed to maintaining the audio excellence of his custom project, AJ set out on a mission to find the right expertise. He dived into extensive research, and in this quest for audio perfection, he uncovered a true gem: Matt Schaeffer of Musaic Design, based in Delaware.
Matt came highly recommended, known for his deep understanding of Tesla audio systems and a track record of crafting audio setups that were nothing short of exceptional. With Matt by his side, AJ’s audio project was poised to reach new heights.
The collaboration between AJ Velasco and Matt Schaeffer would prove to be a pivotal moment in the evolution of his Tesla’s sound system. Under Matt’s guidance, every note, melody, and bass drop would be delivered with unmatched precision and clarity, aligning seamlessly with the high standards set by the rest of AJ’s custom build.
The Power of Metal Widebody Customization
AJ’s favorite aspect of the build? The Metal Widebody, hands down. It’s not just a modification; it’s a statement that EVs can be elevated to the same level of customization as any other car. His mission is to inspire others and change perceptions about electric vehicles.
Speaking of challenges, AJ acknowledges that not all shops were initially equipped to work on a Tesla. But he was determined to prove that a Tesla is just like any other car. And he succeeded.
Nurturing Manufacturer Relationships
When it comes to choosing brands for his build, AJ Velasco emphasizes the importance of a strong relationship with manufacturers. Rohana Wheels and Yokohama Tires became his choices not only for their quality but also for the sense of family and support they offer.
A Vision for the Future
AJ’s journey has been inspired by the RUINED EV community, a group of passionate Tesla builders who constantly push the boundaries of what’s possible. He also draws inspiration from classic car shows, admiring the craftsmanship and techniques of the OG car builders.
His Tesla isn’t just about personal satisfaction; it’s about inspiring others and challenging stereotypes about EVs. “There’s so much negativity towards EVs, but I want to change that perception. I’m a car guy at heart, and I don’t want to see traditional cars go away. Give EVs a chance,” AJ urges.
As for the future, Velasco has big plans. He wants to continue advocating for the EV aftermarket space and hopes to see more innovative developments in this niche. He envisions a world where EVs are embraced alongside their gas-powered counterparts.
He adds, “We need to come together as an EV aftermarket community, push the industry forward, and educate the public. Electrify Expo/Showoff has been instrumental in this, giving us builders a platform to showcase what’s possible with EVs.”
AJ Velasco’s Tesla Model 3 Performance is more than just a car; it’s a testament to innovation, dedication, and the limitless potential of electric vehicles in the automotive world. As Velasco contemplates his next build – an EV-swapped Toyota Century, a Ford F150 Lightning offroad, or a Porsche Taycan – we eagerly await the next chapter in his electrifying journey. Stay tuned, because AJ Velasco is rewriting the rules of automotive customization, one Tesla at a time.
For more information on Electrify Showoff, visit www.electrifyexpo.com/showoff.
2023 Electrify Expo Schedule
|May 19-21||Long Beach, CA|
|June 24-25||San Francisco, CA|
|July 22-23||Washington, DC|
|Aug. 12-13||Long Island, NY|
|Sept. 9-10||Seattle, WA|
|Oct. 14-15||Miami, FL|
|Nov. 10-12||Austin, TX|
|Performance Electronics||Tesla Factory Performance Upgrade|
|Powertrain||Ohmuu 12v Lithium Battery|
|Wheels & Tires||Rohana RFG 15, Carbon Fiber Barrel/Aircraft Grey Face, 20×11.5 -5, 20×11.5 -15|
|Yokohama Advan Neova, 275/35/20|
|Electric Speed Design Titanium Lugs|
|Carbon Fiber Stem Caps|
|Brakes||Mountain Pass Performance Page Mill Rotors|
|Chassis & Suspension||Unplugged Performance Front & Rear Sway Bars|
|Unplugged Performance End Links|
|Unplugged Performance Front Upper Control Arms|
|Mountain Pass Performance Rear Camber Arms|
|Mountain Pass Performance Rear Toe Arms|
|Universal Air Suspension|
|Viaair 444 Gen 2 Dual Compressors|
|Airlift 3h Management System with Level Sensors|
|Exterior||Porsche Mexico Blue Paint|
|66 Customs NJ Hand Shaped Custom Metal Widebody|
|Custom Front Bumper|
|Artisan Spirits Black Label CF Front Lip|
|Artisan Spirits Black Label CF Side Skirts|
|Artisan Spirits Black Label CF Rear Diffuser|
|RevoZport Carbon Fiber Hood|
|Adro Carbon Fiber Swan Neck Spoiler|
|Carbon Fiber Mirror Caps|
|Carbon Fiber Camera Covers|
|Lighting||Teslux Innovations Plaid Series RGBW Headlights|
|Teslux Innovations Plaid Series RGBW Fog Lights|
|Alpharex Tail Lights|
|Interior||Carismo Design “Tai Fighter” Custom Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel|
|Carbon Fiber Seat backs|
|Carbon Fiber Dash, interior trim, panels|
|Leather Reupholstered Arm Rest|
|Alcantara Reupholstered Pillars and Roof Lining|
|Audio & Multimedia||Illusion Audio Carbon C10XL Subwoofer|
|Illusion Audio C3CX Components|
|Illusion Audio Carbon 8” Midbass|
|Focal FPX5.1200 Amp|
|Focal FPX4.400 SQ Amp|
|AMAS 96k High Res Bluetooth|
|Mosconi RCD Controller|
|Mosconi Mos-Bluetooh management|
|Mosconi 8 to 12 Pro Aerospace Digital Signal Processor|
|Soundshield Acoustic Foam|
|Stinger 6000 Series RCA Cables|
|Astell & Kern SE200 High Res Music Player|
|Custom Sub Enclosure|
|Custom Amp Rack|
|Custom A Pillars|
|American Icon Finishes|
|Charged Up Performance|
|Always Clean Detailing|
|MGM Paint & Autobody|
SHOPS & MECHANICS
|Matt Schaeffer of Musaic Design|
|Alex of 66CustomsNJ|
|Benny of Always Clean Detailing|
IMAGES: ELECTRIFY EXPO
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