1995 Chevy S-10: A New Hope
The Force is Strong With This One
Long, long ago in a galaxy not too different from our own, one particular enthusiast was in the midst of having his entire world shattered and reshaped. It is unclear whether or not the young Carl Kolling, at 15 years young, knew just how impactful these influences would be throughout the rest of his life. Nevertheless, one thing was certain; he fell in love with mini-trucks. Kolling’s uncle, an industry enthusiast, introduced him to the entirely new world of customs with a lifted Toyota SR5. Around four years later, Kolling’s attention became more focused as he narrowed his path and pursuit to slammed minis. With inspiration from old-school rides rocking wicked Kal Koncepts paint jobs on perfectly polished billets, Kolling continued to push forward with his own dream builds. Way too many custom projects had come and gone over the past several years, and he was now stuck on his ’62 Comet build with thousands tied up and a build sheet that never seemed to be completed. With his true passion lost, Kolling took a drastic step and got rid of everything. He took a major loss so he could finally turn his focus toward what really mattered.
After what had seemed like an irreparable loss of direction and inspiration, Kolling felt the beckoning of enthusiasm once again, bringing his soul back towards his roots as a mini-trucker. Prowling the market obsessively, he searched for a worthy candidate. One whose current state offered enough room to grow and customize to make it truly his own, but not a simply blank slate of OEM obstacles to overcome. Months later, Kolling found his new hope, and it was undeniable that the force was strong with this one. The 1995 S10 had an extremely fresh and strong 4-banger and five-speed combo in it. It was already equipped with a back half bolt-in frame from Thorbecke Brothers and an Envoy clip, making it a perfect canvas to build upon. In a huge wave of excitement, his passion seemed to quickly return. Around the same time, Kolling became involved with the No Regrets club and immediately felt perfectly matched with its members.
Following his first show with his new project and new club affiliation, Kolling wrote a letter to a particular mini-truck enthusiast and editor-in-chief regarding a written piece explaining how he, too, had found himself in sort of limbo between projects and let go of a truck in which he had invested a priceless amount. The article’s closing remarks rang true with him and helped guide him back to the light, as it were, on his journey. They read, “Do what makes you happy, build what you want, and don’t let others influence your ideas.” These words, along with his origin story fascination with minis, were exactly the inspiration Kolling needed to return to the game stronger than ever. He was inspired to take on his new build down an old path with traditional mini-trucker values of hard-work, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to self-expression.
Little by little, Kolling began customizing his build and making it truly his own. Over the first year of the project, he updated a number of suspension items to get the S10 to really lay out on 22-inch wheels. He soon turned his attention to the chassis, and set his sights on a full body drop. To help realize this phase of his vision, he brought his aptly named “A New Hope” to Unparalleled Customs in Lancaster, California, where they began work on the full-scale body drop. As his vision for the truck evolved, Kolling brought it back home to patiently to plot his next move. Shaun Headley of Endless Customs and a fellow No Regrets member offered to house the S10, so Kolling could work on it every weekend as long as it took to finish his custom chassis work. After nearly two years putting as much time as he could spare into the Chevy, the body drop was complete, fully transforming the truck’s look and feel. He had built upgraded and updated suspension modifications to truly exploit the full potential of the custom-chassis work, particularly the back-half frame. The front suspension was comprised of 2-inch drop spindles and Deutsch Tech Shocks. As the Star Wars theme began to take shape, Bobby Martins of Sadistic Iron Werks built a custom billet AccuAir sensor arms and e-Level controller mount for a truly one-off touch. Slam Specialties SS7 ’bags balance each corner, which are managed with an AccuAir e-Level and VU4 valve body. The rear suspension setup used the Deutsch Tech Shocks and SS7 ’bags, too, along with the five-link cantilever configuration. The suspension combination with the custom chassis and body drop is good for a massive 14 inches of lowered height from factory spec.
The bodywork of New Hope is ultra clean and suits the final styling so perfectly, while maintaining traditional mini-truck cues. The bodywork was completed largely by Shaun Headley at Endless Customs and Brandon Lambie of Black Sheep for an extremely smooth and seamlessness finish throughout. Door handles, hood components, antenna, and tailgate have all been shaved for that traditional smooth mini-truck look. A billet grille for a ’99 Jimmy helps customize the front end, while custom LED tails take care of the back. Further accessories include a rear Grant Kustoms roll pan in place of the bumper, a front bumper from a ’01 Oldsmobile Bravada, and cleared GMC Jimmy headlights with matching fogs. Central to the final finish of New Hope is the fine sheet metal work, particularly the shaved metal and reinforced fenders, helping to tuck hard over the custom wheels and provide a smoothed surface for the paintwork.
Perhaps the most defining factor of Kolling’s S10 is the world-class paint job. What makes the graphic motif so special and unique is not due to the unrivaled skill with which it was don, but more importantly what the paint job means to him. During his decades as a customs and mini-truck enthusiast, one of Kolling’s greatest inspirations and favorite pieces had always been “Last Look” built by Dion and Craig Fraser at Kal Koncepts. Kolling was set on having his traditional mini reflect a full theme styling, and as a child of the early ’80s, he was drawn into a Star Wars themed concept. With A New Hope riding a resurgence of his enthusiast soul, only a paint job from his Kal Koncepts’ heroes would do justice to it. Kolling spoke with Dion about his desire for a Star Wars theme with traditional style airbrush graphics. They settled on the design and colors, and designated Craig Fraser at Air Syndicate to bring it all to life.
Fraser grilled Kolling on his understanding of Star Wars and his level of fandom to be sure this would turn out as well as they anticipated. Fraser is a massive nerd and fan of the legendary franchise himself and was hugely inspired and excited about the entire project. Be sure, you’ll see no traces of Jar Jar Binks, nor Kylo Ren, in the next-level graphic work. Instead, the truck has a House of Kolors paint scheme with a frozen background to tell the epic tale of the Imperial Invasion of Hoth. Pearl White, Orion Silver, Oriental Blue, Mystic Blue, and Candy Orange all highlight and adorn the scene beautifully. As a final epic touch, a perfectly painted air tank that looks like R2-D2 is mounted in the truck bed. Beautiful work of such high caliber takes its time. After nearly five months, Kolling was reintroduced to his New Hope project with fresh new paint that literally dropped his jaw to the floor.
As one of the final steps in his journey, Kolling sought after that extra bit of attitude and truly unique style by using a set of completely custom wheels to adorn his truck’s stance. Happily aided by the ultra-talented Chris Coddington at Hot Rods by Boyd, Kolling set up his freshly cut new setup to get an unmistakably original look, perfectly coinciding with the overall styling of the Chevy. The Retro Gotcha 1s, as the wheels were titled, run in a staggered configuration. Up front are 22x7.5 inches and the rears measure 22x9 inches giving a bit more depth. For extremely effective stopping power, the S10 has a four-wheel Wilwood disk brake swap from a late-model Camaro. With the old-school style build continuing, these retro wheel designs cut into a larger diameter really gave his truck the one-of-a-kind look he was after.
The motor of Kolling’s truck was freshly rebuilt just before he bought it, allowing him to focus on some of the more exciting modifications to be made to the power plant. Along with his brother, father, and Jack Firth at Fiction Fab, the 2.2L 4-cylinder motor was customized with polished and powdercoated parts throughout. Firth fabricated a custom intake system, while heat-wrapped stainless Pacesetter header and custom 2.5-inch stainless piping from East Side Mufflers makes up the exhaust. The exit route ends in Magnaflow mufflers ensuring the tone stays low and mean. A fully custom wire tuck, performed by Linc Lamoureax, keeps the engine back spectacularly clean. The healthy motor hooks to a 5-speed trans, which sends its power to a Blazer rear end now equipped with a 4.10 gear ratio. Equal amounts of care and quality were put forth in the interior, SD hid project neared completion (for now). The whole of the interior boasts custom leatherwork and unique upholstery. A simple mix of smooth surfaced and perforated material stretches across the seats, door panels, and headliner. Art Ramirez in Bakersfield California, expertly wrapped the Chevy Cavalier adapted seats. Grey Marine carpet helps tie the subtly colored interior together, along with a fiberglass sculpted and leather wrapped headliner. The luxury leather is well complimented by a Boyd Billet steering wheel. Shep of Shep Industries built a custom audio system for the interior using a Kenwood Excelon Head Unit, Apline Type R mids, highs, and subs, and a PDX-V9 5-channel amp.
Having just been debuted back into the show circuit this year, Kolling’s four-year project and true passion piece has been received with every ounce of love and respect it deserves. With awards at Relaxin’ in SoCal and FFF, A New Hope is quickly making a reputation for itself. But beyond the idea of awards and trophies, Kolling’s creation has an absolutely irreplaceable value. For him, A New Hope is not just a name, but also a truth. His project re-centered him on his passion, enthusiasm, and joyful fulfillment in the world of custom automotive work. Dedicated to persevere, and grow as a builder and enthusiast, Kolling continues on in his journey as a mini-trucker, seeking out the fundamentals of hard work, creativity, and a commitment to unapologetically expressing himself. Despite his conviction that the truck is not currently, nor will ever be 100-percent finished, A New Hope ought to be considered a mini-truck master work and certainly has brought balance to both Kollings and the force.
Inside the Build:
Carl Kolling; Rosamond, California
Club: No Regrets
Bodydropped part chassis and part floor
Front Suspension: 2-inch drop spindles
Rear Suspension: Bolt in Back Half from Thorbeck Bros, Slam SS7 'bags, AccuAir e-Level management, Custom AccuAir billet parts from Sadistic Iron Werks, FLO Airride Mfg. custom billet air tank
Shocks: Deustch Tech
Brakes: Wilwood Camaro spec.
2.2 Chevy 4-cyl, custom intake by Jack Firth, polished and powdercoated throughout, full wire tuck and hidden wiring, Pacesetter header, 2.5-inch stainless exhaust with Magnaflow mufflers
Rearend: Blazer with 4.10s
Shaved handles, tailgate, antenna, taillights, Shaved and reinforced fenders, custom bed floor, Grant Kustoms roll pan, Envoy front clip with Olds Bravada grille and bumper, Billet grille, clear headlights and foglights, LED tails; HOK Pearl White, Orion Silver, Oriental Blue, Mystic Blue, Candy Orange, full Star Wars theme paint by Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate
Leather-wrapped seats and door panels, fiberglass sculpted, leather-wrapped headliner, Marine Grey carpet, old-school Boyd billet steering wheel
Stereo: Kenwood Excelon in-dash DVD, Alpine Type-R mids, highs, and subs, Alpine PDX-v9 5-channel amp
Wheels & Tires:
22x7.5, 22x9; Hot Rods by Boyd Gotcha 1s
225/30R22, 265/30R22; Toyo
Special Thanks From Owner:
Karen, Peter, and Melissa Kolling for their amazing support. Shaun Headley at Endless Customs, Dion Giuliano at Kal Koncepts, Craig Fraser at Air Syndicate, Jack Firth at Fiction Fab, Cody Eastman at Unparalleled Customs, Chris Coddington at HRBB, and Bobby Martin at Sadistic Iron Werks. Mike Alexander for being the editor who helped inspire this build without really knowing it. My club No Regrets, Jeremy and Brandy, Holly Brewer, Mark and Kim, and Evan Dow.