Subscribe to a magazine

Fast Flyin' 4X4

Front Driver Side Airborne
Mark Dustin | Writer
Posted January 22, 2003
Contributors: Randall Jachmann

As for this year, the truck is a contender once again, and the S&S crew is aiming for yet another class championship.

Most of the four-wheel-drive vehicles that grace the pages of OFF-ROAD magazine are pictured splashing through the mud, forging streams, or kicking up sandy rooster tails, but those aren't the only ways to go fast or have fun with a vehicle that powers all four of its wheels, and this month's featured race truck is vivid testimony to that fact. With the S&S Chevy S-10 ZR2, we venture away from the two-wheel-drive world and bring you a four-wheel-drive built to conquer the desert and prove that four-wheel drive has distinct performance advantages on the wide-open trails that crisscross the Southwest desert.

For several years, the team of Doug Siewart and Cory Susag has been a force to reckon with in professional desert racing. To maintain the team's string of Class 7S wins, this '94 Chevrolet S-10 ZR2 was put into service, and it looks as if S&S will continue to dominate the 7S class.

Originally driven by desert racing legend Jeff Lewis for Team MacPherson Motorsports, this S-10 evolved from a stock Chevrolet ZR2. The ZR2's production frame was key to this truck's buildup, as its track and frame width are 4 inches wider at the front than a standard 4WD S-10 and has the widest track of any compact four-wheel drive truck to date, which is ideal for racing purposes.

To start the mods, the ZR2 factory control arms were lengthened and reinforced to handle the rigors of desert running. To get maximum travel out of the A-arms, suspension whiz Bryan Kudela designed a special ball joint that could not only operate under extreme angles, but was also stronger than the OE-style ball joint. As it sits, the front suspension is good for 12-inches of reliable wheel travel.

For the rear suspension on the S-10, the desert racing leaf-spring specialists at Deaver Spring Manufacturing in Santa Ana, California, were called into duty. With more than 20 years of experience, the crew at Deaver built a pair of leaf packs that provides a smooth ride and lots of travel -- 19-inches to be exact. Attached to each corner of the truck, a pair of remote-reservoir Bilstein bypass dampers takes care of spring control.

For power, a Chevrolet 4.3L V-6 engine built by JMS in Monrovia, California, brings this S-10 to life. The JMS masterpiece uses only the best components, such as a K&N FilterCharger, an MSD ignition, a Flowmaster exhaust, and headers fabricated by Stanley's Performance Exhaust in San Clemente, California.

A Turbo 400 three-speed transmission harnesses the 400-plus hp and 350 lb-ft of torque the engine puts out. The tranny feeds a New Venture Gear Active Transfer Case, which sends power to the front and rear diffs, producing all-wheel traction and an uncanny ability to put those 400 ponies to the ground. The back wheels are put into motion through the Summers Bros. 9-inch rearend, equipped with 3.70:1 gears. For rubber, BFGoodrich 35x12.50R15 Baja T/A Project tires are mounted on 15x8-inch American Racing wheels.

The paint scheme on the S&S Motorsports Chevy is a real eye catcher. The unique blue, white, yellow, orange, and red paint job was designed and sprayed by South County Auto Body in Lake Forest, California. For comfort, a pair of Mastercraft seats with five-point Crow safety harnesses was installed.

Since the Little Mac's completion, it has been entered in every race during six SCORE International seasons, winning 80 percent of those 50-plus races. Of those six years, the truck won five class championships, including the 2001 Class 7S points championship under the controls of S&S Motorsports. As for this year, the truck is a contender once again, and the S&S crew is aiming for yet another class championship.

Owners/hometown : Doug Siewart/Oceanside,
California Cory Susag/Lake Forest,
Year/make/model : '94 Chevrolet S-10 ZR2 4WD
Engineer/builder : Bryan Kudela/Team MacPherson Motorsports
Sponsors : BFGoodrich, Stanley's Performance Exhaust,
American Racing, Bilstein, Deaver,
South County Auto Body,
Precision Fabrication,
Prep Services : Precision Fabrication/San Clemente, California
Engine/builder : Chevrolet 4.3L V-6/ JMS, Monrovia, California
Horsepower/torque : 400 horsepower/350 lb-ft of torque
Transmission : Turbo 400
Transfer case : New Venture Gear Active Transfer Case
Suspension : Front: A-arm 12 inches of travel
Rear: Deaver Leaf Springs with 19 inches of travel
Shocks : Bilstein bypass remote reservoirs
Rear axle : Summers Bros. 9-inch with 3.70:1 gears
Wheels/tires : American Racing 15x8-inch /BFGoodrich Baja T/A Project 35x12.50 R15
Curb weight : 4,800 pounds
Additional features : CNC four-wheel disc brakes,
Chrisman spool differential,
Baker batteries, Flowmaster mufflers,
MSD ignition, Mastercraft seats,
Lowrance GPS, Fuel Safe fuel cell


View Photo Gallery
  • S&S Motorsports Tears Up the Desert In a Four-Wheel Drive, MacPherson-Built Bow Tie

  • Although the design of the Chevy's rear suspension is fundamental, it uses premium components and is perfectly set up for the task of romping across the desert. Deaver leaf spring packs, custom shackles, a pair of Bilstein bypass dampers at each wheel, and 19 inches of controlled wheel travel make for a reliable and functional suspension system. A Summers Brothers 9-inch rear axle stuffed with 3.70 cogs puts the power down.

  • The Chevy S-10 race truck of Doug Siewart and Cory Susag is a true champion, having dominated SCORE's class 7S for several years. Based on a ZR2 model S-Series, the truck puts its 400 hp to the ground through a sophisticated four-wheel-drive system based on a New Venture Gear Active Transfer Case and a stout Turbo 400 transmission.

  • American Racing wheels sporting Champion bead locks and 35-inch diameter BFGoodrich Baja T/A Project tires form the rolling stock; hidden behind the alloy wheel is a powerful CNC disc brake.

  • As is standard practice on desert race trucks, the 'cage is stout and forms a strong link between the framerails. Mastercraft seats are comfy, sure, but more importantly, the deep buckets help hold the driver and navigator in place during at-speed stunts.

  • The S-10's minimal dash is equipped for competition, with control switches and gauges aplenty. A Lowrance GPS navigation system helps the team stay on course during SCORE's traditionally remote races.