Features > Vehicle Review
story & photos by Steve Temple
An S-10 With All the Trimmings
Some might find it easy to dismiss this gussied-up, show-stopping Chevy S-10 as a trailer queen, too pretty to muss up her hair in the dirt and mud, but they would miss the whole point. Even though such a high-stylin’ truck would likely never risk scraping its custom-painted flanks on some rock-crawling adventures, it does prove what’s possible on an S-10. No, we wouldn’t expect you to build up your Chevy pickup to this extent before heading off-road.
MBRP was the prime mover behind the project. The company’s president, Martin Barkey, is an automotive enthusiast first and foremost, not some desk-bound corporate exec. He’s sponsored a number of other project vehicles over the years, relying on two of his shop guys, Dave and Donnie, to help with the wrenching. The one you see here is Barkey’s latest baby, and it’s really loaded with all the goodies that off-road adventurers might consider (along with a few items they wouldn’t, at least for a serious trail rig).
Since this is MBRP’s project, we’ll start with the tail-end first, where you’ll find the dual cat-back stainless steel exhaust. Enhancing the power output upstream from there is JET’s Power Control Module performance engine chip and performance thermostat. A Granatelli Motorsports mass-air sensor and a cold-air intake ensure improved air flow for better combustion. For reliable starting power in the boonies, you’ll also find an Optima Yellow Top battery underneath that Keystone GTO-Style Good Hood. Autometer’s C2 Series Gauges monitor the engine’s vitals with a pillar-mount setup for fuel pressure, tranny temp, air/fuel ratio, and nitrous pressure, and along with a Shift-Lite Tachometer.
Simply more power isn’t sufficient alone, and that’s where Superlift stepped up (literally) with a 2.5-inch suspension lift system and a 2-inch body lift system. Adding some Bushwacker fender flares made room for a set of Weld Racing 17-inch EVO Renegade wheels wrapped with Pro Comp’s radial Mud Terrain tires that measure 33/1250R17. Bringing that rolling stock to a crisp stop are Stainless Steel Brakes’ big binders.
Going off-road isn’t just about conquering a slippery slope, though. Sometimes you need some good directions from a nav system to get there, and once you’re king of the hill, you’d probably like to celebrate a bit, right? That’s where you need a lot of ICE (and we don’t mean the kind found in the cooler). For In-Car Entertainment (okay, it’s technically a truck, but we didn’t make up the expression), Harman Mobile Systems supplied a full complement of electronics. These include a Harmon Kardon Traffic Pro CD player/ navigation system, and JBL’s PX300.4 4-channel amplifier, BPX-1100 monoblock amplifier, two pairs of P650 6-inch component speakers, and four GTO series 12-inch subwoofers, all hooked up with Phoenix Gold power wiring and RCA cables. For DVDs, NESA provided a DVD5000 player, along with a 7-inch widescreen monitor and 7-inch overhead monitor.
APC dressed up the interior with some floormats, and for some additional comfort Corbeau furnished a pair of VX2000 seats. APC also modified the look of the back end with custom taillights, and Trenz added some flash on the doorsills, side mirrors and antenna. For that last bit of bling-bling, there’s also a custom grille and bumper cover from Street Scene. And don’t forget the neon underbody lights, too.
Granted, most of this vehicular jewelry is better left to boulevard cruisin’ or the show circuit, so you don’t have to worry about it getting grimy on an off-road adventure. It is definitely more for show than go, but still worth a look.