As custom truck gearheads our dreams are a bit different from most folks’ on the planet. While regular people dream of traveling the world and seeing the sights, most custom truck enthusiasts dream of setting metal flat on the earth and dropping jaws on the soil with a one-off, hand-built custom pickup.
Travis Montgomery’s Right-Hand Drive and V-8-Powered Vision
1998 Chevy S-10
As custom truck gearheads our dreams are a bit different from most folks’ on the planet. While regular people dream of traveling the world and seeing the sights, most custom truck enthusiasts dream of setting metal flat on the earth and dropping jaws on the soil with a one-off, hand-built custom pickup. When we close our lids at night visions of detailed V-8s, billet wheels tucked deep in metal-massaged fenders, custom paint, and trick interior treatments permeate our domes until we drift off to sleep.
Travis Montgomery is a custom truck enthusiast who spent many nights tossing and turning over the body-dropped, V-8-powered, street rod-styled S-10 glaring off of these pages. Purchased in 2002, the truck was Montgomery’s daily driver until 2005, when he decided to tear it apart and go for broke. The build started innocently enough as most do with a 2/3 drop, which later turned into a 3/4 drop, and finally a 4/6 drop, where it rode on the bump stops until the young Montgomery got tired of getting beat to death and decided to get airbags. The truck was ‘bagged on 20s, and the original gold stripes racing down the hood, roof and tailgate fell victim to a fresh black top coat and pearl blue flames. The truck rolled like this for a while as Travis hit shows with his club, Pebble Pushers. Going to the shows and seeing S-10s with the rockers laid flat and fit with a bevy of one-off fabrication got Travis’ blood flowing, and before he knew it, the S-10 was blown apart, and the plan for a full custom rebuild was underway.
Rather than do a traditional body drop, Travis opted to take things a step further and do a stock floor body drop, building a completely custom frame from the firewall back out of 2x3x3/16 material. The frame was smoothed and painted gloss black after the mounts for the triangulated 4-link were burned on. Slam Specialties airbags were employed front and rear to set the S-dime down to impress or to lift it up to cruise. Under the smoothed leading edge Suicide Doors tubular control arms are joined with Belltech dropped spindles, and all of the suspension mastery is capped off with 20 x 8.5-inch bonspeed Laguna billet wheels mounted on P245/35ZR20 Nitto 555 Extreme rubber bands.
For power, Travis thought raising the bar under the hood would be one more place his truck would shine. The factory 2.2 was yanked in favor of a 350-ci small-block Chevrolet stuffed with a host of go-fast parts and topped off with some deep detail. The block was bored .040 over and was deburred for the show-truck finish. Keith Black slugs were packed into the cylinders and a COMP Cams camshaft with .292 duration and .501 lift was slid in place for the perfect rumble. For the ultimate breathing capabilities a set of 462 camel hump heads was bolted up, and a polished Edelbrock Torker II intake manifold topped by a Barry Grant 750-CFM carburetor feeds the beast. An MSD HEI ignition puts flame to the fuel, while Hedman headers, 2.5-inch pipe and a duet of Borla mufflers sing the horsepower harmonies. The mill was dressed with a host of polished components and backed by a massaged Turbo 350 transmission with a TCI 3,000 stall speed converter all commanded by a B&M Pro Bandit shifter.
Now that a kick-tail frame and wicked drivetrain for the S-10 were complete, Travis set about putting the bodywork on kill in preparation for a clean and simple street rod-styled scheme. For a smooth and clean theme, the door handles, gas door, cab seams, antenna, Bow Tie grille emblem, taillights, cowl panel, windshield squirters, and third brake light were all shaved off of the factory metal envelope. A custom front bumper was built and tucked up tight to the grille base, while the rear of the truck is smoothed off with a Grant Kustoms tailgate and roll pan skin. In addition to all of the exterior metal modifications the firewall was smoothed and custom sheet metal inner fenders were built to accommodate the plus-sized bonspeed billets. The inside of the bed was laden with custom sheet metal, and all seams were filled and molded to create a hauling platform that is a true work. To lace the cab out with the same depth of detail as the rest of the truck, Travis fabricated a custom, hand-built steel dash, which flows into steel door panel tops. After Travis wrapped up all of the metal work in his home garage, the truck was carted over to Moonshine Customs in Winder, Georgia, so Yankee and the crew could seal the deal with color. For a rich street rod-style finish, Infiniti Platinum Metallic was sprayed over the smoothed metal and accented by Porsche Macadamia Brown Metallic graphics wrapping around the backside of the truck. Red pinstriping by Crook at Moonshine set off the graphic breaking up the sea of Platinum Graphite. After the paint was laid, the mild finish was sealed in clearcoat and rubbed and polished to a fine shine before the truck was transported to the upholstery shop.
The interior of this street rod-style S-10 is packed with cutting-edge tricks and street rod class on every surface. From the Grenadine ultra leather stitched over the Prelude seats by Alpha Auto Trim to the street rod=style steel dash built by Travis and filled with Dakota Digital gauges, this cabin does not in the least shout S-10. A B.A.D. steering wheel sits atop an ididit column, which is now commanded from the passenger side thanks to the right-hand drive conversion done by Jim Nail. A Painless wiring harness channels the juice, while the sound of the piston-pumping small-block keeps Travis company on various cruising sessions.
Travis Montgomery finally achieved his dream with this amazing S-10. He is quick to point out it would not have been possible without the help and support from his mom and dad for providing work space and tools. He also thanks Jim Nail for finishing the steering conversion, Moonshine Customs for the paint and bodywork, Alpha Auto Trim for covering the interior, Brandon Shuler for all of the late nights wrenching, Rusty for the fiberglass work on the door panels, and everyone in Pebble Pushers for staying on Travis to finish it. Looks like Travis can wake up now because his dream of finishing a full show hot rod S-10 has finally come true.