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  • 1985 GMC S-15 - First-Timer's Vision - Mini Truckin' Section

1985 GMC S-15 - First-Timer's Vision - Mini Truckin' Section

An '85 GMC S-15 Layin' Low

Harley Camilleri
Sep 1, 2004
Photographers: Travis Noack
Photo 2/2   |   1985 Gmc S15 right Side View
Most of us can remember our first car, or in most of our readers' cases, truck. It was probably a hand-me-down, gift, or even a purchase made with hard-earned cash from that after-school job so many of us had. Whatever the case, the truck probably wasn't the color we wanted and didn't have the custom tidbits that made us the envy of the other kids on cruise night. A select few were the lucky ones born into a car enthusiast family and always had the best toys on their first vehicle cruising around on Friday night. Justin Heath happens to be one of those lucky guys.
Justin is the proud owner of the brightly hued '85 GMC S-15 you see here. What's interesting is this is Justin's first attempt at custom-building a truck, and as a matter of fact, this is his first truck. To get Justin started on the right track, his parents handed him the keys to freedom when he turned 16. Getting the custom ball rolling, Justin gave the truck to L.A. Kustoms in Bushnell, Florida. The crew at L.A. got down to business by lowering the frame to Mother Earth.
First on the modification list was to toss all the scrap metal (known as the stock suspension) into the corner and lay out a plan of attack. The key part of the plan called for up-and-down air adjustability. Between the front control arms went a pair of DJM 2-inch drop spindles. After the coil cup was enlarged for clearance, Firestone 2,500-pound airbags were slid into place. In the rear of the little hauler, L.A. Kustoms put to work a custom-fabricated two-link system with a rather large step-notch to ensure the factory rearend stayed in place while Justin hit the switches on another pair of Firestone 2,500-pound 'bags. L.A. Kustoms decided that low wasn't low enough, so a 3-1/4-inch body drop was performed to bring the sheetmetal to the road.
Rounding out the rolling ability of this cruiser is a quartet of 18x7-inch chrome Enkei AKAs wrapped by P215/35R18 Nittos. Now that the truck was rolling in style, body modifications had to be handled by the team at L.A.
Justin knew exactly what he wanted to do, and L.A. Kustoms took the reins from Justin's ideas to make them happen. For a sporty look, the factory hood was replaced with a 2-inch cowl-induction hood. Just below, the factory grille shell was swapped in favor of a phantom billet grille with clear side markers tossed in for good measure. Sliding down the body line a ways, the door handles were removed and mirrors replaced with Street Scene units. Up on the roof of the extra cab truck is a 35x35-inch sliding ragtop to let the Florida rays in.
The truck's bed is where the majority of the metalwork happened. The tailgate and roll pan were welded as one unit to enclose the bed from the rear. The taillights were done away with, only to be replaced by hot rod-inspired LED lighting. A frenched, slanted license plate box was welded in to keep the license plate in plain view. Underneath the truck, an S-10 Blazer fuel tank replaced the stocker, which L.A. Kustoms hid by molding the top of the bed closed and installing a billet fuel-filler cap. Covering all that fresh metalwork is House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl. With the outside juicy, the interior was lacking, and that's where Justin got his hands on the action. After L.A. Kustoms finished painting the dash face, it was time to make some magic.
Justin and his father started the interior by tackling the center console and subwoofer box enclosure. To house the MTX amplifiers and Sony PlayStation 2, a floor-mounting system in the extra cab portion was also on the duo's list. Feeding the sound signal to those amps is a JVC head unit in the factory location, while sounds emanating from the cab are the responsibility of MTX 5.25-inch mids and highs in the dash and doors. The bang comes in the form of MTX subs in the father-and-son-built box. Icon TV supplied the 5.6-incher to keep Justin entertained with his favorite DVD or game.
Justin also popped an APC billet steering wheel into place and gripped its leather surface to get the truck down to Linda's Upholstery in Bushnell. Linda and her crew stitched together a complete tan tweed covering on the headliner, dashpad, Recaro seats, door panels, center console, and sub box. To break up the sea of tweed, cheetah print was added to dash speaker locations, door panels, and trim around the TV. Finishing Linda's work is tan carpeting to replace the boring factory-equipped threads. Now that Justin was at the finish line, he and his dad bolted on a billet rearview mirror and chrome turn signal stalk cover. White-face gauges ensure Justin keeps it under the legal speed limit.
With the completion of Justin's ride, we can only hope he decides to build himself another custom truck. For his opening round, it looks as though he will be in the customizing fight for a long time to come. Maybe Justin's children will be so lucky as to have a custom such as this for their sixteenth birthdays. He could not have made it all happen without the help of his father and the guys at L.A. Kustoms, including Howard Smith, Lee Krauss, and Chris Sowell. Mixing a young mind with custom trucks is certainly a habit that is safe and sane.
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