Subscribe to the Free

1989 Chevy S-10 - Under 10 Grand

The Hand-Me-Down Truck Built On A Tight Budget

Calin Head
Feb 1, 2009
Photographers: Calin Head
Photo 2/13   |   1989 Chevy S10 front Left View
As long as I can remember, I've been a gearhead. I think the rides my dad gave me to school in his 468 big-block C10 when I was young and impressionable had the most to do with it. Whatever the reason, I'm glad it happened. Since the time I received my driver's license, building vehicles has been my main passion and hobby. My pops is a truck guy, so I went down the muscle-car road building a few Chevelles, a '66 Nova, and even a factory tri-power '62 Galaxie. Now don't go thinking all I put together was cars, because I've owned and built multiple trucks. I was just trying to build different stuff than the old man. Anyway, scoring the job here at ST was the official end of building cars and the beginning of a truck career.
The latest project I've tackled is this '89 S-10 that was a gift from my mom. The truck used to be my grandfather's, but when it finally wore out Mom took it off his hands. It sat at her house in automotive purgatory until she told me to come and get it. That was all the convincing I needed because the first-gen S-10 is one of my favorite mini-trucks. The Blue Bomber barely ran and was in need of some serious attention, but it was all there. I limped it to the shop and gave the truck a complete once-over to assess what was needed to just make it reliable. I got all of the parts and fluids needed and performed a pretty deep tune-up, which netted me an ugly but well-running S-truck.
Photo 3/13   |   The interior features a '62 Impala console with a Hurst shifter and bucket seats from a '70s van covered in modified Camaro covers. There is also a complete Pioneer sound system, including a 10-inch sub tucked neatly behind the seats. The restoration parts like door rubbers and seals came from LMC Truck.
I'm not really known as a guy who drives ugly trucks, so it didn't take long for driving a bucket to get old. It was time for a restoration, not a show-winning build, just a simple and clean resto. The plan was to build it as nice as possible for under 10 grand. With that plan in place I got going, finding the parts and an affordable place to paint my truck. The first thing I did was cover some interior stuff for Tom McWeeny in exchange for his 18-inch Colorado Custom wheels. To complement the billets, I wrapped them in Nitto Neo Gen rubber and dropped the truck with McGaughy's components. For the paint, I ended up at the Maaco of Orange, California, to have the dark blue body recovered in yellow. When the paintjob was completed, I put the truck back together with a bunch of resto parts, which I got from LMC Truck.
It was low and looking pretty good, but the interior was still blue and shabby. I replaced the bench seat with a set of van bucket seats and a center console I got from my dad. I covered the seats with a modified set of Camaro covers and dyed everything else black. To add some great sound in the cab, I replaced all of the original stuff with components from Pioneer.
The truck only needed a few little touches for me to consider it done. I had the bed coated in Line-X, and I replaced the factory step bumper with a blade from a first-gen Blazer. I got some help from the crew at Eightball Rods & Choppers to shave the impact strip to smooth out the Blazer blade. To add one more custom touch to the butt of the truck, I had Steve Vandemon lay down an angry-looking wasp on the tailgate.
Photo 4/13   |   The 14.5-inch Grant Classic wheel with its stainless spokes was a nice addition to the muscle-car theme.
That's pretty much where I stopped because the truck looked good and I had spent $9874.73 of my original 10 grand. There are some mods still bouncing around in my mind, like grafting in a set of ice-cube trays from a '68 Camaro hood and adding some sort of muscle-car-style stripe. I will also need to rebuild or replace the tired 4.3L V-6 and upgrade the brakes before I can call the truck done. As you can tell, I have more stuff to do but that will come when I can save some more coin. I think for now I will just drive and enjoy my cool but cheap hand-me-down S-10. Thanks, Mom.
The 411
4.3L Chevy V-6 / Holley throttle body / Firepower ignition system from Performance Distributors / Royal Purple fluids / MagnaFlow muffler and high-flow converter / 700R4 transmission / Jet converter lock-up module
By: Owner
Front: 18x7 Colorado Customs Paradox with 4-3/4-inch backspacing
Rear: 18x9 Colorado Customs Paradox with 4-1/4-inch backspacing
Front: 255/40ZR18 Nitto Neo-Gen
Rear: 275/40ZR18 Nitto Neo-Gen
Front: McGaughy's 2-inch drop spindles and 2-inch drop springs / used shocks from Tom McWeeny
Rear: 3-inch drop leaf springs / 3-inch drop blocks cut down to 1 3/4 inch / air shocks from dad's truck
Accessories: LMC 1-1/8-inch front sway bar
Chassis: Rusty and stock
By: Owner
Body Mods:
Blazer rear bumper with shaved impact strip / Line-X spray-on bedliner / LeBra tonneau cover
BY: Owner / Eightball Rods & Choppers (shaved bumper) / Beo-Mag Plating (chrome) / Line-X of Huntington Beach
Custom Paint:
Toner Yellow / custom graphic on tailgate
BY: Maaco of Orange, California / Steve Vandemon
70's van bucket seats covered with modified '67 Camaro deluxe covers / '62 Impala console / Hurst Quarter Stick shifter / restoration parts, dash cap, and armrests from LMC Truck / ACC loop carpet kit and floor mats / reproduction headliner / all plastic pieces dyed black / Grant Classic stainless steel steering wheel / Equus tachometer
By: Owner / Sam Head / BS Industries (shifter)
Pioneer DEH-P2900MP head unit, TS-G4641R 4x6 dash speakers, TS-A4103 4x10 rear speakers, TS-SW2541D subwoofer, and GM-D7400M 800w amp / Scosche dash kit and EFX 8-gauge wiring kit / Accumat sound deadening material
By: Owner / Al and Ed's of Ontario, California
Special Thanks:
Bodie Stroud of BS Industries, Stefan and the crew at Eightball, Maaco of Orange, Mike Odum, Hector Lucel, Steve Vandemon, Marcel Venable, Tom McWeeny, David Bechtel , Pat and Mario from Porter's Alignment, Susan Berkowitz, Jaed Arzadon, Tanya Jacquot, Trevor Kaplan, Paul Darden, Tim Coltey, and of course my mom for the truck and my dad for the knowledge



Subscribe Today and Save up to 83%!

Subscribe Truck Trend Magazine

Subscribe to:

Truck Trend

Subscribe Diesel Power Magazine

Subscribe to:

Diesel Power

Subscribe Truckin Magazine

Subscribe to: