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 paintjob 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, California
|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|
|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