CHEVROLET S-10 “LO-RIDE” PICKUPOn loan from Jonathan and Olivia Hoffman, Saratoga Springs, NY

This unique, eye-catching pickup is actually the second truck that Jonathan owned while in high school. He drove the first, a 1991 his parents had purchased for him, until it was rear-ended while stopped for a red light and totaled. The crash turned out to be a blessing in disguise, however, as Jonathan used the insurance settlement to purchase his ’92, which at the time looked nothing like the truck does today.

“With my father Paul’s help, I got it in good running condition, put on a set of used IROC wheels with stock tires, cut the springs to lower it a bit and painted it red,” recalls Hoffman. He drove it in that configuration until graduating from Saratoga High School, after which he enrolled in the auto mechanics program at the Universal Technical Institute in Illinois.

Once he’d graduated and returned to Saratoga Springs, Hoffman was ready to embark on a full-blown rebuild of his truck, again working with his father.

“We started by fabricating custom control arms for the front suspension, then moved to the rear. We redesigned and strengthened the frame, then converted the suspension to a four-link arrangement and rebuilt everything to allow installation of the 20-inch wheels,” recalls Hoffman, a charter member of the Right Coast Association of Syracuse. “We’d learned the first time that paint and bodywork was not our specialty, so once we had the chassis fabrication done we got my friend, Ziggy Poteralski, involved. He shaved and painted it for us and now owns his own shop, ‘Zig’s,’ in Ballston Spa.”

The preparation, attention to detail and long-term vision all came together with Poteralski’s application of the striking PPG “Radiance Orange Glow” paint with “Radiance Shamrock Green” flames that draws a crowd everywhere the truck is parked.

The rebuild was finished off with SSBC slotted brake rotors and four-piston aluminum calipers, a pair of APC racing seats and Simpson cam-type seat belts, a Lexan rear window, a Jeg’s aluminum fuel cell in place of the original gas tank, Euro taillights and a cut in the pickup bed to allow viewers to appreciate the four-link setup, painted rear axle and air-ride suspension. Numerous other changes were made to update and enhance the interior while under the hood upgrades included MSD ignition, Edelbrock headers, Dynatech catalytic converters and a Centerforce dual friction clutch.

“This S-lO has 166,000 miles on the 2.8,” summed up Hoffman. “I’ve gone through 9 clutches, 2 flywheels, 3 transmissions and a few fenders, so it’s been a lot of work but even more fun.”

The truck was honored by being named the winner in Sports Truck magazine’s Low-Buck Challenge, a contest to build the nicest truck in less than five months for under $6000. With the final cost of the project coming in at $5752.73 courtesy of donated labor and materials, Jonathan was rewarded with a $1000 gift certificate from contest sponsor JC Whitney and a colorful feature in the magazine. As the editor of Sports Truck said in presenting Jonathan’s award, “Our Low-Buck Challenge set out to find the best low-budget custom truck and it did just that. Even though a lot of our feature trucks are wild, with a lot of money spent on them, this truck goes to show that you can build a show-worthy truck on a budget.”