A Rocker-Grinding S-Series from the Sunshine State
Looking back to their younger years, most truck enthusiasts remember the ultra-cool trucks and cars they rode shotgun in with their parents behind the wheel. For the hard-core automotive nut, the family ride is remembered having some sort of customization. For some, memories of dad's old four-speed Camaro are prominent, while others remember getting dropped off at school in mom's bright-red '57 Chevy convertible.
For Dennis and Lauri Laffrey, of Casselberry, Florida, their children Payton and Parker will most likely look back on their childhood with fond memories of their dad's airbagged, body-dropped, and fully customized '95 Chevy S-10 pickup. Dennis' low-down and shaved S-series is no ordinary grocery-getter. With a fully customized '92 Honda Civic hatchback and a '90 Honda Accord under his belt, Dennis turned his custom attention to a truck in the latter part of 1994.
For those enthusiasts who are married, you will understand the importance of getting your spouse's approval on a project before any purchases are made. Excited to get started on the custom truck of his dreams, Dennis convinced Lauri that a new Chevy S-10 was the perfect starting point for his project. An agreement was made, and after a quick trip to the Chevy dealership, the Laffreys had a brand-new standard cab S-series sitting in their driveway -- but it didn't stay stock for long.
The truck was immediately delivered to The Shop in Longwood, Florida, where suspension surgery was performed to bring the frame and rocker panels down to a more suitable cruising level. Under the nose, the air suspension experts at The Shop installed Belltech drop spindles and Firestone 2500 airbags for smooth ride quality and quick height adjustment.
Out back, the original leaf springs were retained, while a massive step notch was performed on the rear 'rails to allow for back axle clearance when the rear Firestone 2500 airbags are deflated. The air suspension system shuffles the air using Parker air valves and 3/8-inch air lines. After the suspension and chassis modifications were complete, a set of 17x7-inch Budnik Trilogy III billet wheels were mounted on BFGoodrich P205/40ZR17 rubberbands, and were tucked neatly under the front fenders and rear bed sides.
Although pleased with the drastic change in the truck's altitude, Dennis was not completely satisfied, so he asked the professionals at The Shop to body drop his ride to the tune of 3 inches, to achieve the ultimate rocker-grinding stance. Once the body successfully hit the Florida tarmac, the truck was given to Hanson's Auto Body in Sanford, Florida, where the body received a healthy shave and was fitted with a host of custom tricks.
Cleaning up the exterior envelope, the metal masters at Hanson's Auto Body shaved the door handles, the windshield squirters, the gas door, the third brake light, and the factory taillights. A set of key locks was relocated to the bottom of the doors, in case Dennis' solenoids ever fail. Out back, the tail end scenery was smoothed by molding the tailgate shut and molding a Sir Michaels roll pan to the bottom of the tailgate and to the bed sides. A pair of street rod-style taillights with billet bezels were mounted in the roll pan, and along with a custom Bow Tie-shaped light in the tailgate, perform stop and running light duties.
Custom suicide doors now allow easy access to the truck's interior, while a molded hoodscoop from a late-model Dodge passenger car allows plenty of clearance between the top of the engine and the bottom of the hood. Up front, the original bumper holes were shaved, and a billet grille was added along with a '96 Blazer grille shell and composite headlights. A Gaylord's tonneau cover was used to top the bed. The distance between the cab and the bed was shortened by moving the cab 1 inch back on the frame, allowing the preservation of the coveted air conditioning.
Once Hanson finished welding, grinding, and sanding the modified areas of the body, Draggin' Daddy was delivered to Harpers Paint & Body in Orlando, Florida, where the metal was coated from front to back and top to bottom in '98 Volvo Saffron. The new hue was color-sanded and buffed to a deep and bright shine, and Dennis brought Draggin' Daddy home to install a mild stereo system, and prepare the cab for interior upgrades.
Inside the cockpit, a Blaupunkt Heidelberg CD 50 head unit was installed and sends audio signals to Boston Acoustic Rally 5-1/4-inch separates and tweeters. The wiring was performed by Dennis at home in his garage, before the truck was delivered to First Class Designers in Longwood, Florida, for the stitchwork.
A peek inside the cab of Draggin' Daddy reveals gray tweed covering the factory bench seat and dash. The door panels, headliner, and assorted interior plastics were also covered in gray tweed, to flow with the seat and dash material. Miscellaneous dash and door panel plastics were pulled off and painted in the truck's exterior color, to contrast the sea of gray tweed. A Budnik Trilogy billet steering wheel, with the outer ring color-coded to the truck's body color, tops the column, while a billet shifter, billet pedals, billet dash pieces, a billet Bow Tie mirror, and flamed billet interior door handles round out the inside looks. Helping Dennis monitor air suspension pressure are APC Air Wave gauges mounted in a custom A-pillar pod.
Dennis Laffrey has created a cutting-edge S-10 with detail and style, which is apparent between the doors, on the exterior, and under the hood. The craftsmanship on this sensational S-series is impressive, to say the least. We bet Dennis and Lauri Laffrey's kids will be talking about this truck for years to come, with memories of their dad hitting the switches, cranking the stereo, and just plain showing off.