Few trucks in today's show-'n'-go stable are fine enough to resemble a glittering piece of jewelry. Often the trucks that are used as weekend trophy collectors do daily street duty during the Monday through Friday grind, and as a result, get their fair share of rock chips and interior wear. When a truck is used for daily driving, battle scars from rocks and debris painfully striking the paint show their presence. However, a truck that is rarely set free from its garage cocoon usually stays as nice as the day the last assembly bolt was tightened into position.
Jeff Zander from Clovis, California, is blessed enough to own one of these flawless haulers that only sees pavement once in a blue moon. Otherwise, his DuPont Cloisonne Metallic Blue '94 Chevy S-10 spends most of its time sitting pretty on a trailer swearing off evil road debris pelting its innocent bystanding surface.
Some enthusiasts would shun Jeff for refusing to cruise his labor of love, but when he buffs his chip-free paint to a blinding shine, an ear-to-ear smile is typically the result. Jeff, at the young age of 25, is lucky enough to be on his second award-winning ride. His first was a fully shaved '98 S-10 featured in the World's Leading Truck Publication ("Goin' Ballistic," Dec. '00). After featuring Jeff's first mini-truck creation, we thought it would be impossible for him to build something as over the top as Goin' Ballistic, but he proved us wrong with Blue Gold.
Jeff and his father Ken are co-owners of KRZ Customs in Fresno, California, and spend the better part of their days buried in custom suspension and frame modification work. Jeff scored this half-built standard cab from his good friend Chad Conerday who has since moved on to fullsize Bow Tie interests. Upon falling into Jeff's hands, the Chevy had already been fully shaved, 'bagged, body dropped, and was ready for a fresh coat of paint. Jeff's eyes gleamed with the excitement of owning another slick mini, and a deal was struck. Since R Customz had already body dropped the truck, Jeff simply had to clean up the suspension and prepare the truck for trophy and magazine appearance opportunities.
Being the anal suspension fanatic that he is, Jeff completely ripped apart the existing suspension and started from scratch. A complete rear subframe using 2x4 box tubing was constructed to replace the stock rear framerails, enabling the mini to lay hard with the aid of the 3-inch body drop. At the frontal region, Jeff installed 2-inch dropped spindles and Firestone airbags to get the front valance to close in on the Fresno asphalt. Increasing adjustability at the rear is a KRZ Customs triangulated four-link and Firestone airbags.
Stuffed underneath the smoothed body, like nitrous forced into an eager big-block, are 18x7-inch front and 18x8-inch rear Billet Specialties' Pomona wheels shielded from bends and dings by Nitto NT 555 Extreme tires. At the nose, P225/40ZR18 Nitto units were used, while the back wears P235/40ZR18 road cushions. Instead of throwing the truck back together like most would, Jeff took extra time to smooth and paint the frame in a contrasting peach as well as toss in a hint of chrome for additional detail.
Beneath the stock hood, Jeff chose to leave things relatively stock with the exception of an electric fan, a Billet Specialties' puke tank, and a custom-fabricated fan shroud by Kuts 'R' Us in Porterville, California. Contributing an authoritative tune to the factory four-cylinder is a 2-1/4-inch Flowmaster exhaust system. The most obvious alterations that are made to Blue Gold are present on the body where several modifications were added and subtracted from the factory equation.
In an effort to create a show-stopping piece, Jeff shaved the door handles, the hood squirters, the third brake light, the gas filler door, the factory taillights, and the tailgate handle. Replacing the factory rear bumper is a molded Sir Michaels steel roll pan fit with custom angle-cut LED slotted taillights. Topping off the front end is a Trenz billet grille insert and Bow Tie.
Once the welding, grinding, and block-sanding was complete, Jeff sealed the envelope with DuPont Cloisonne '97 Chevrolet Metallic Blue for a gleaming, glass-straight finish. A few days later, Jeff's father Ken Zander went back in the booth to lay multiple coats of clear to bring out a topnotch shine. Once the paint comfortably conformed to the fresh smoothed surfaces, Jeff got busy putting together the ingredients for a simple and trick interior.
Sometimes a few subtle touches can make all of the difference in the world; Jeff chose to go this route on the interior of Blue Gold. First, the dash bezel around the gauges and where the A/C controls used to be (a body drop usually means no A/C) were removed and sprayed in the same exterior blue. A Billet Specialties' Pomona billet steering wheel was added along with matching billet windows cranks and a polished shifter. To keep the hot rod theme ever-present on the interior, the door panels were wrapped in gray tweed for a touch of burlap class. A KRZ customs five-piston switch box allows for adjustability in a hurry.
Jeff Zander has successfully created a hard-hitting mini that will rival the looks of any glittering necklace swinging from the neck of some lucky female. Similar to a fine piece of gold jewelry resting in a glass case, Jeff's custom truck reality is the wish of many envious onlookers. We bet Blue Gold is picking up its share of extra carats (trophies) at shows far and wide.