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1985 Chevy S10 - Roadster Undefined

Built To Satisfy The Urge For A Retro Cruiser

Harley Camilleri
Feb 1, 2007
Photographers: Sean P. Holman
Photo 2/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster right Side View
After viewing some early renderings of the soon to be released (at that time) SSR, Chris Courtney had visions of bridging the generation gap his own way. With a Chevy S-10 on his hands and dreams of a topless classic truck in his head, this truck's owner saw potential. The potential to create his masterpiece stemmed from a nose kit he saw in a magazine that advertised a conversion turning S-10s into Rodsters. With a truck purchased for the paltry sum of $500, Chris and the S-10 were headed for greatness even if they didn't see it coming. Some years later, Chris now has a shelf full of show trophies. He did it almost entirely by hand, and for far less money than most.
Photo 3/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster left Side View
Under the beater Chevy truck Chris purchased, he started by removing the entire front clip and all its accompanying hardware. The frame horns were modified per the kit's instructions to make way for the classic front end to come. Belltech items were installed to give the truck a hot-rod stance, with the final measurements coming in at a 3-inch front and 5-inch rear suspension drop. Fifteen-inch American Racing Hopsters wheels were shod with classic BFGoodrich rubber, adding to the unique aged persona Chris was aiming for. Tire sizes come back at 195/60R15 front and 265/50R15 rear.
Photo 4/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster american Hopsters Hwheels
Part of the reason the Bow Tie was so darn inexpensive when purchased was that it didn't have an engine. That was remedied by dropping a 350ci V-8 small-block between the S-10s rails. The engine was modified with a Crane cam, a polished Edelbrock intake manifold, and a Holley Avenger carburetor topped by a Holley PowerCharger air cleaner. A chrome alternator keeps the fires lit, and a Mallory HEI distributor lights the cylinders. Ceramic-coated Hedman headers move waste through twin Flowmaster mufflers being routed through a quad-tip exhaust out the back of the topless pickup. Power from the small-block engine mates to a Turbo 350 transmission with quick shifting action provided by a B&M shifter.
Photo 8/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster 350 V8
This '85 Chevy was running again, but the conversion was just getting started. To match the SSR's roadster roof, Chris decided to remove the S-10's roof altogether. Consider it a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses modification. After capping all the cut sheetmetal, the new front clip was mated to the truck along with '40s-style rear fender flares. Continuing with the clean theme, the door handles and tailgate handle were filled and the rear bumper swapped for a weld-on roll pan. Utilizing the metalworking talents of a local BBQ company, Chris had the crew there roll him a pair of angled humps. You'll find the humps on the tonneau cover as they were fashioned there in typical speedster conformity. A pair of euro clear tail lamps finishes the look. Covering the body of the pickup is actually an owner-sprayed, toned-up Ford white. Chris and Adrian in Cleveland, Texas, using PPG Tangelo Orange Pearl, sprayed the slick flame-licks on.
Photo 9/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster rear View Interior
More owner-built modifications abound in the interior. To help hide the telltale signs of the truck's former self, the stock dash was ditched for a custom built unit flowing down into a center console. Once completed, the whole thing was wrapped in vinyl with wood inlays setting it all off.
Photo 10/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster door Panel
The factory '85 bucket seats were covered in vinyl to match the dash, and tan carpet smothers the floor. Adding to the hot-rod exterior flames, door panels done in three-dimensional licks add a touch of pizzazz for passenger and driver alike. Completing the roadster's interior are a billet steering wheel, billet, pedals, white face gauges, and a JVC head unit powering just enough music to be heard over the sound of wind rushing through your hair.
Photo 11/11   |   chevy S10 Roadster right View Flames
At this point, Chris began entering the truck in shows. To his amazement, he started winning in many of the events he entered. With a trophy from just about every show entered, the truck was awarded enough points to be called the ISCA Divisional Class Champion. Not bad, considering Chris did most of the work himself and has barely $15,000 total into the truck. The facts don't lie: this truck pays tribute to those who have done it themselves, and sets an example for those who think the task is too tough.


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