Have you been wracking your brain to make your S-10 or Ranger look different from the thousands of others? Are you wondering what you can do to your Isuzu or Toyota to make a passionate automotive statement, and maybe wind up on the pages of your favorite magazine? Since personalizing your ride is every customizer's mission, and uniqueness is the goal, we have a suggestion. Start with a clean sheet of white paper, sketch a fresh concept, give it the looks of something you've never seen before (such as a Corvette pickup), then find an easy way to build it. And oh yeah, make it affordable.
Combining goals of cutting-edge style, simplified construction, and a budget-sensitive approach is no easy task, but it can be done. The Super Stepside is a good example, thanks to some real automotive artistry and careful engineering. This truck's success begins with the unlikely fact that it's not a truck at all. Just as the El Camino was based on Chevy's Brookwood Wagon, and as the Ranchero used the Ford Ranch Wagon platform, the Super Stepside upgrade transforms '80-'90 General Motors four-door sedans or wagons into Corvette-style pickups. Donor cars are easy to find, loaded with options, and bargain-priced. Since the four-piece fiberglass body only re-skins the outside, the original GM engineering remains in place, and you can be off to a great start with your new ride in a single weekend. Add paint and wheels to your (now) two-seater, then watch the spectators scratch their heads, trying to guess its origins.
The truck in the photographs began as a single owner's '89 Caprice four-door sedan. With the help of kit designer Don Fuselier, disassembly began on a Saturday morning by removing the hood and front fenders, cutting the roof and floor behind the driver seat, and preparing the chassis for its new body. On Sunday morning, the one-piece fiberglass rear clip was joined to the metal cab, and the tilt forward front clip was mounted onto the front end, using the original Caprice bumper bolts. A pair of rocker panels joined the front and rear clips and by 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon, we were driving the truck around the industrial area. For a detailed look, see superstepside.com. Of course, it took a while to add all the finishing touches to this particular truck (and it's not done yet), but many builders use the stock GM interior, add a quick paintjob, custom wheels, and enjoy taking their (almost) one-of-a-kind pickup to the streets within a week.