Photos by John “Michael” Jackson
A Few Friends Brought This Mini to the Next Level
At first glance, Don Vollmer may look more like the guy yelling and complaining about teenagers and their damn mini-trucks than the guy who owns one, but that isn’t the case. Don has been into mini-trucks, custom cars and choppers longer than most of us have been on this planet of ours. With the help of some friends, including Chico Shaw, Don has used his experience with custom creations to craft a highly detailed, show-stopping S-10. What you see here, however, is the second incarnation of Don’s S-10, but the first go-around was certainly no slouch!
Tackling the suspension was the first step. Don decided not to go the traditional route, and opted instead for some juice. Up front, upper and lower Suicide Door control arms straddle 8-inch Black Magic hydraulic cylinders as well as 2-inch drop spindles from BellTech to tuck the highly polished B.A.D. Sonik 18 x 9 and 20 x 10-inch billet wheels and Nitto Neogen 215/40/18 and 225/35/20 tires. A 3-inch body drop was performed to get the rockers flat on the ground, and a new back half was crafted using 3-inch square tubing and a custom-chromed 4-link. Ten-inch Hydroholic cylinders were also plumbed up to a Hydroholics Whammy Tank and pumps to finish off the suspension. The rearend and all of the suspension goodies were fully chromed to contrast with the painted frame.
Don kept the body clean and simple. He had a tonneau cover installed and painted the same color that Chico would soon spray over the rest of the truck. A few special touches, like the addition of color-matched handles and a roll pan were done, along with a billet grille insert. Chico opened up his color swatch book and Don picked a dark blue in the form of PPG Porsche Ocean Pearl Blue, which Chico sprayed over the entire mini. Underneath that blue skin the true attention to detail that was applied to the S-10 becomes apparent in every nook and cranny.
Let’s start under the hood. The motor was lowered 2 inches during the body drop to keep things underneath the factory hood. The 4.3L V-6 was painted and outfitted with plenty of chrome and billet goodies in front of the shaved, smooth firewall. The full list of everything chromed beneath the hood includes the intake manifold, master cylinder, alternator, A/C compressor, air intake, pulleys, control arms, brake calipers, battery tray, oil cap and the driveshaft. The underside of hood itself was wrapped in tan suede to clean things up and provide a twist. On the inside, bucket seats were wrapped in tan leather and suede, the center console was also wrapped and painted, and a mild audio system was installed in the extended cab area. The end result was a highly detailed and clean truck that was admired at all of the shows it attended that year. Then the Midwest winter hit, and Don decided to turn the S-10 into a real showstopper.
Don and Chico aimed to turn the custom mini-truck scene on its head the following season by keeping the attention to detail and cleanliness of the first build while adding plenty of custom tricks to bring the S-10 to the next level. No longer would the mini take home a few class awards here and maybe a best undercarriage there. Best Of trophies were the prey, and the hunters had a definitive game plan.
Don and Chico kept the chromed suspension, rearend and painted frame and added even more detail. They relocated the aluminum fuel cell so that the whammy tank and pumps from Hydroholics (installed by John Kirk) could be displayed underneath the painted bed floor that had been freshly covered in sheet metal and the painted wheel tubs. The center section features clear Plexiglas to showcase the painted driveshaft and chromed rearend. The end result was a much cleaner and custom appearance inside of the bed. They kept the two Kinetik 1800HC power cells to run the audio system and hydraulics, but housed them in custom-made chrome mounts.
The inside of the mini was the next area to receive an extreme makeover. The painted and billet-dressed dash was kept the same, but a flowing sheet metal center console was built and painted to match. Adam Weinrich reworked the audio system featuring a pair of 12-inch Kicker subwoofers in a molded fiberglass enclosure and Pioneer component speakers. Fiero bucket seats were cut down and reworked before being wrapped by Ryan Schwarzen of Kutting Edge Hot Rod Interiors in tan leather and tan alligator hide. The smoothed and painted door panels also feature leather and gator hide.
The final step in the reworked equation was to add the spark that would ignite show spectators’ imaginations and urge them to take a closer look at the highly detailed S-10. Jason Sprengel of Jason Sprengel’s Innovative Kustoms applied all of his talents to create a flowing graphic from the front of the truck to the rear over the basecoat sprayed by Chico. A variety of colors and textures were used to bring the truck to the next level.
Don’s S-10 is one of the most detailed and admired minis hitting the show scene right now. He couldn’t have done it without the help of some friends and sponsors, of course. Don would like to first thank Tracey “Chico” Shaw for all of his help and support, Dusty Stone, Adam Weinrich, Mike Davis, Suicide Doors, Erik from Kinetik, Ziser Tires, Buddy from St. Louis Plating Co., Billet & Acrylic Fantasies, Stylin’ Trucks, Truck Shop, John Kirk, Paul from Old Dog Street Rods, John Henry Foster Co, Napa, O’Reilly’s, Jason Sprengel’s Innovative Kustoms, St. Peter’s Hardware, Ryan from Kutting Edge Hot Rod Interiors, Russ’ Automotive & Powdercoating and Hydroholics. Don is always excited to bring his creation to shows in nearly every corner of the country, where the camaraderie enjoyed has nothing to do with age, but everything to do with custom trucks.