Photos Courtesy of Andrew Merkel
Most custom trucks on the road today started with a dream and a stock pickup begging to be set flat on the ground and smoothed from grille to tailgate. As we flex our creative muscle on sheet metal that drive to take a project further always lingers in our subconscious. Andrew Merkel of Webster, New York, is a custom truck fanatic at heart, and built the metallic blue, body-dropped S-10 laid flat out across these pages as a way to shout his best tune into the custom truck microphone. We heard you, Andrew, and toss a king-sized thumb in the air for this little blue jewel that puts chins on the pavement in Upstate New York.
For an all-out pavement-etching stance Andrew delivered the truck to good friend Daryl Barth, who was responsible for setting the suspension and body drop on kill. Daryl installed Ridetech Strong Arms under the nose with Slam Specialties RE7 airbags taking the nose of the dime down more than just a few notches. In the rear a KP Components 6-link and Slam Specialties RE7 airbags sink the tail end, while Toxic shocks cushion the ride. In order to feed Andrew’s need to hit the switches like a kid hits buttons on an arcade game, two chrome VIAIR 480 compressors were plumbed with SMC valves and a 10-gallon air tank. The truck is lifted to cruise and dumped to show with an Auto Pilot digital controller. To get the rockers on the ground over 20 x 8.5-inch Boss 312 wheels mounted on P245/35R20 Kumho rubber, Daryl started cutting a performed a 3.25-inch traditional body drop on the dime to get the rockers to conform to the asphalt below.
On the surface the S-10 is pure show truck with a laundry list of metal subtractions that smooth the skin to perfection. The door handles, door locks, emblems, antenna, gas door and taillights were all ditched from the factory scenery, and the bed was treated to a bevy of sheet metal work. The box was fully molded in the rear with LED taillights providing stylish stop and turn warnings. Chris Voorhest was commissioned to lay down the Standox Blue Flame Metallic with blue metalflake graphics kicking off of the base.
Inside, the cruising chamber was customized with a fully smoothed and painted dash and door panels. A Billet Specialties steering wheel sits at the command center of this body-dragging mini, while Andrew takes flight with an Auto Pilot digital air controller. Cavalier seats provide cruising comfort. Andrew and Daryl worked together to smooth and paint the dash and cab plastics, and installed the Pioneer head unit, Phoenix Gold mids and highs and Soundstream Picasso series amplifier.
Under the hood the 4.3L Vortec V-6 is ventilated with headers and a custom Y-pipe sending throttle commands to a Flowmaster muffler. The firewall was shaved and smoothed to clean up the engine bay, and the block and firewall were painted in Standox Blue Flame Metallic to flow a bit of exterior style into the doghouse.
This rolling example of body-dragging mini truck art was built with the support of Andrew’s mom and dad and his wife, with the help of Chris Voorhest working long days and nights painting the truck, and Daryl Barth, who did the chassis, suspension and bodywork to get the truck on the ground and straight as an arrow. Andrew also thanks his club AcrophobiA for the help and support during the build.
Andrew became a part of AcrophobiA five years ago and claims he will be in the club forever. He aims to be 90 years old and hitting switches. Now that’s our kind of truck guy.