1997 Chevy S-10 - Custom Mini Trucks
When Speed Hits The Pavement
When George Monroe decided to revamp his S-10, he decided the third time would be the charm for him. He has a built-in soft spot for S-series mini-trucks, so it's no wonder that he didn't exactly know what he wanted to do to the truck in detail before he finished it the first time. He has always been influenced by hot rods and wanted his mini-truck to contain the most important aspects of what he felt a true hot rod has. His goals were to build and drive a truck that could show with the best trucks, but be able to have an adjustable suspension and roast its rear hides with the hopped-up rides that were invading his hometown. George wanted the best of both worlds and didn't stop tuning the appearance and performance of his truck until he was satisfied. As it turned out, he got his wishes fulfilled on all fronts and today rolls one of the cleanest and quickest show rides you will find anywhere. This year, if you're rollin' to a Midwest show, you might want to double-check that rearview mirror before you change lanes. This quick S-10 can run your ass down in no time.
MT: Good morning, George. I bet you wish you could see how your photos turned out already, eh? Too bad this issue won't actually hit the newsstands for another two months.George: Man, but it's well worth waiting for. This is what most mini-truckers dream of.
MT: Despite what anyone says, I enjoy seeing people writhe in agony while they wait to see what we did to their trucks. Well, since you have to wait a while to see the feature, how do you think you'll feel when you get crowned as King Boofoo of the month?George: I'm going to stay real modest about this. I'm excited about it, but the mini is still a daily driven truck. I drive it to work and still take my wife out in it on the weekends.
MT: You told me before the way the truck looks now isn't the way it has always been, right? Can you tell us about it?George: The way it was before...this is the third paintjob. It was a different blue before with silver flames. As far as changes, the way it is now is really what I wanted to do from the beginning. I finally reached my main goal that I had with the truck all along. It just took me a while to get here.
MT: Why did you decide to rebuild your truck in the first place?George: I wanted to get it to the level I had always expected it to be. This time, I managed to get a lot of help from companies that wanted to sponsor the truck. That helped me out a lot, financially, and since it was featured in Truckin' before, companies wanted to get involved with me and with the truck.
MT: What did you do this time to make the truck totally different?George: The paint and the wheels were the first changes, and then we reworked the truck's engine compartment and installed the Vortec supercharger. Next, the stereo system was completely redone for a bolder show appearance. We increased the show-worthiness of the stereo to be able to serve up more competition shows and mobile sound events.
MT: What would you say is the most important thing you've learned from building and subsequently rebuilding your S-10?George: Building it the first time, I wish I had used better materials. The thickness of the steel we used could have been better. It made for more work when we had to go back in and reinforce and redo some of the suspension and other things later on. I also wish I would have installed the Envoy headlights a long time ago.
MT: If you could go back and do it again with this buildup, what would you change?George: I would swap the motor. It would get a blown small-block, and I would want to chop the top. I'm not really into body-dropping this truck. I wanted a more traditional hot rod look, but I also wanted one with a mini-truck aspect.
MT: Your truck sports a supercharger. How much difference did that make for the fun of driving your truck?George: It made a huge difference. Now, at a stoplight, instead of just sitting there and hitting switches, I can go sideways through the intersection.
MT: Hopefully after the light goes green, right?George: Exactly.
MT: Who would you say has been the most instrumental in helping you build your truck?George: That would probably be Moonie from Third World Customs. He and I have a lot of the same ideas about how hot rods and mini-trucks should look. He had an S-10 before, and he's real familiar with what I agree to be the best look for an S-10.
MT: Have you known Moonie for a long time?George: I've known him for about four years. I met him at one of the old Spring Splash shows. Some friends and I were talking about some paintwork we were checking out, and while we were praising the truck, we didn't realize that he (Moonie) was standing right next to us. The truck was beautiful, with crazy graphics. He painted that truck with a friend of his who passed away about a year later; the friend's was named Chris Keeling. From what I've heard, Chris was the person who showed Moonie the ropes about painting before he had ever even picked up a spray gun or a roll of masking tape.
MT: So what's next for you, other than showing your truck off like a madman in 2002?George: I'm going to build an '02 Chevy for show. I'm also planning to work on an old three-door Suburban. I've had the Sub for about four years, and it's time to do something with it.
MT: How's the custom mini-truck scene in Albuquerque?George: It's actually a lot larger than the import scene that used to dominate this area. It's all about riding low in Albuquerque. To be honest, I don't do a lot of cruising, since I'd rather hit as many shows as I can. I'm glad to say that Pharcyde Customs is known as the big dog in Albuquerque.
MT: What are the major clubs rollin' in the area you live?George: There are a bunch, Severed Ties, Individuals (a lowrider club), and Bedrock, just to name a few.
MT: That's awesome. I never would have thought that mini-truckin' was kickin' that much ass in New Mexico. Is there anything you want to say about the buildup of your truck or your commitment to mini-truckin' that we haven't talked about?George: That's a good question. (Laughs) As far as commitment goes, I'm always going to be a diehard S-10 fan. Down the road, I plan to build another one. I just need a short break from this one and want to stretch out a little more with another project.
MT: Thanks for building a fine-lookin' S-10. I'm sure our readers will enjoy groping it with their eyes when they get the Aug. '02 issue.George: Thanks! I would like to give my wife Diana a huge thank you. To everyone else, this one is for you and all of the Pharcyders.
The LowdownWheels/Tires Consists of 18x7-inch (with 5-inch backspacing up front) and 20x9-1/2-inch (with 5-1/2-inch backspacing in the rear) Center Line Model 754 Lexi II wheels with P225/40ZR18 and P275/35ZR20 radial tires.
Suspension Before the upper and lower control arms were rid of pesky coil springs forever, the truck was initially treated to a pair of 2-inch Belltech drop spindles to get the ride height a couple of inches lower without alignment issues. In their place, a pair of Firestone model 2600 air springs was installed. In the rear, a three-link Motorhead Incorporated suspension setup was installed at the same time the front suspension modifications were completed at Motorhead, Inc. in Albuquerque using tapered Firestone air springs. Actuation of the S-10's air-adjustable suspension system is made possible via 10mm SMC valves using 3/8- and 1/2-inch air line. Plenty of air for clowning and daily driving is made possible by an A/C compressor adapted to supply air as well as a CO2 tank and a Viair 450-C, 100 percent duty-cycle compressor that serves as a backup.
Chassis Includes extended-length upper control arms, a bridge-notched rear frame section, and a -inch steel-plate frame reinforcement in the rear frame clip.
Engine Under the hood of the '97, the original 4.3L Vortec V-6 engine has been refreshed with machine work performed by Motorhead in Albuquerque. Additionally, a Vortech supercharger that pumps out 12 pounds of boost puts plenty of added horsepower to the ground. If that's not enough, then George's secret weapon always helps his need for speed: a 75hp shot of nitrous. Other performance upgrades to the truck include a pair of Jet-Hot-coated JBA headers, a Flowmaster exhaust, a B&M Shift Improver Kit, and a PowerTrax locking rear differential with 4.56:1 gears. Today, the truck is capable of putting out 325 hp when it's not bottle-fed. Once it starts chugging on the bottle, however, that number jumps to more than 400 ponies.
Body Modifications Third World Customs performed plenty of body surgery on the S-10 before it repainted the truck. George's laundry list of custom body modifications include: shaved door handles; a shaved third brake light, which was replaced with a '96 Ford Mustang third brake light; shaved rear Sportside steps; a Street Beat sliding ragtop; a 2000 GMC Envoy front fascia and headlights with polish billet inserts; a Street Scene three-piece roll pan; one-off billet forward side steps; a Goodmark cowl-induction hood; and an Urban Industries SlimTop tonneau cover. Paint/Graphics First, a basecoat of PPG Viper Blue was sprayed over the entire truck. Next, Brian Moon at Third World Customs sprayed the nose and the sides of the Chevy with House of Kolors Flame Yellow and Candy Orange flames.
Interior The interior of the S-10 was vastly improved by wrapping the dash using gray tweed. Further, what wasn't wrapped in tweed was painted using the same PPG Viper Blue as the exterior basecoat. This, and the strategic installation of one-off billet kick panels and a polished billet aluminum Budnik Bladerunner steering wheel, makes the interior of this S-10 one hard act to follow. If you look closely, you'll notice that George can keep track of what's going on under the hood even more diligently with the installation of an Auto Meter gauge pod housing an oil-pressure gauge and a boost gauge to closely monitor his supercharger's performance.
Stereo System The center of the truck's stereo system is a Clarion 95752 head unit that instructs the speakers enclosed in a handbuilt fiberglass enclosure to mercilessly pound at the senses of the truck's occupants with high-volume tunes. High audio volume isn't even a concern, since George has plenty of Orion HCCA power to back up the array of Orion speakers he has installed. What appears to be a killer-looking bed treatment also serves as the subwoofer enclosure for the S-10.
Special Thanks "Thanks to my sponsors for their help, to my wife for her commitment and love, to my family for their support, and to Moonie at Third World Customs."