Sedan deliveries and panel trucks were a staple of small businesses in the past, because they had plenty of utility with their wide-open cargo area and huge metal panels perfect for pinstriping a business name on the side. Today, at least in America, there are very few choices when it comes to panel trucks, which is why Larry Seabert decided to do something different with his '87 S-10 extended cab. Larry owns Tech-Ni-Kolor Autocrafters in Dwight, Illinois, and his V-8 powered S-10 had served him well as a daily driver and shop truck, but it didn't turn heads like it could if he put some of his metalworking talent into it.
To create the sedan delivery/panel wagon look, Larry called upon Phil Becker, one of his employees at Tech-Ni-Kolor, to help with the major modifications. The two welded the bed to the cab and used the roof sections from two S-10 Blazers to span the gap across the top. The Blazer donors also provided the rear corners for the panel, which determined the shape of the 20-gauge sheetmetal that Larry added where the Blazer's rear side glass would have been. A Blazer tailgate, shaved of course, and lift glass, were used to seal off the rear before Cadillac taillights were frenched into the bed. Larry also went the extra mile by adding an '06 Colorado front clip to the S-10 by sectioning the S-10 fenders and splicing in Colorado fenders. The S-10 wheel arches stayed, and so did the fender mounts on the cowl, but the rest is all Colorado. From there, the Colorado core support bolted in and made the grille and headlight swap simple. A Street Scene SS-styled bumper cover and grille and bumper inserts completed the nose of the truck and was the last of the easy work.
The hood required some creativity, as the Colorado hinges were reworked to fit the S-10 cowl. Looking back, Larry would have gone with an easier route, considering just how much the hinges had to be altered to work properly. Still not satisfied with the extensive modifications, Larry used a set of Hagan hinges to suicide the doors after he shaved the handles.
With the rough metalwork complete, Steve "Con Man" Connons took over and sprayed Viper Blue pearl over the truck, and then airbrushed on some '50s-style trim and emblems. Then, each side panel was given a flying eyeball beneath Tech-Ni-Kolor Autocrafters signage.
When it was doing its daily driver duties, the S-10 rode on a Belltech 2/4 drop, but a more serious suspension was in order to fit with the all-out custom paint and bodywork. The Belltech spindles stayed, but now they work in conjunction with Air Ride Shockwaves. Air Ride was also the choice for the rear suspension, where the guys at Tech-Ni-Kolor added a Tri-Link and Air Ride 'bags to a Ford 9-inch rearend. Michelin rubber and 18x8-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels were chosen for the truck to maintain the classic styling.
The panel truck's interior fits the classic panel theme with a one-off wrap-around dash modeled after a '55 Chevy car. An aluminum gauge cluster from Classic Instruments provides Larry with vital engine stats, while both the dash and the center stack were filled with billet aluminum trim from J&B Microfinish, including the bezel that surrounds the Vintage Air controls and the airbag switches and gauges. More of J&B's handiwork can be seen in the center console that houses the Lokar shifter that links Larry to a 700-R4 transmission.
True to its original design, the cargo area in the panel remains open. Rather than fill the area up with stereo equipment, things were kept clean and simple with a Pioneer head unit, mounted front and center, that controls Rockford Fosgate separates mounted in the wheelwells and front kick panels. The final piece of the plan came together when Twin City Upholstery reskinned a set of '98 Blazer seats and wrapped the interior panels in gray leather.
Like all great customs, the engine compartment received the same attention as the rest of the truck, with custom inner fenders and a TPI small-block built by Jake Burkhart. The 350ci V-8 is dressed to the nines with a polished Billet Specialties accessory drive system, polished tuned port intake, and J&B Microfinish custom valve covers that have Tech-Ni-Kolor milled in top. The rest of the engine bay is as clean as the engine, with a polished brake booster, master cylinder, and neatly-bent hard lines.
Now that Larry's panel is done, he can step back and admire everyone's handiwork. He's quick to thank Dave Hanson, Kerry Dreddnick, Phil Becker, Jake Burkhardt, Steve Connons, Joe Ruskin, Kyle Seabert, and his wife Shirley, for all of the help and support he's received throughout the long build.