"Have I mentioned that there are no parts available for S-10s?" Taylor Wise asked that a couple of times while telling us about building his '89 Chevy S-10. Then why did he pick that vehicle, you may ask? It found him. Kind of. The story of this pickup begins at the side of the road when Taylor was 14 and in the seventh grade.
"My grandpa traded a Mercury Grand Marquis for a trailer, and the guy he traded to said he could also have a truck that his son had left abandoned on the side of the road." It had a blown engine and transmission. Cut to later that day: Taylor came home from school and spotted what his grandfather had collected. "I saw it and sat in it and asked what he was going to do with it and he said I could have it," said Taylor. "Since then, I've just really grown fond of it."
Thankfully, Grandpa had some pretty solid wrenching skills. "He has done mechanic and welding work since he was a teenager and I have spent my entire life helping him in the shop and tinkering on various things." However, let's return to, "Have I mentioned that there are no parts available for S-10s?" because "I will admit, though, that some of the add-on parts on my truck were out of the 'wheelhouse' of my grandpa and I had to research how to do it myself." Taylor went on to complete his studies at Greenville Technical College, after which he saw a Facebook post from Chris Durham of Chris Durham Motorsports looking for help. "I sent him my resume and started a couple days later. Been there ever since."
The now-mechanic became interested in being off-road when he was young, first "the ATV world and then the truck scene." The S-10 started as a rockcrawler built on a budget, but his interest then turned to overlanding "when my desire to get out and see places overcame my desire to beat the tar out of my truck."
Some upgrades and add-ons were "added preemptively," like the winch. But most have been as needed, including the S-10's onboard air and lockers. "I guess other mods, such as upgraded axleshafts and steering and whatnot, were to prevent failures before they happened." But you'll still find parts on it from those original teenager days, "and you can see the progression as my skills developed." He really enjoys building and fabricating. "That has served me well, as I usually try to avoid buying things if I can make them myself."
But if Taylor could do it all over again, it's not to say he'd skip building an abandoned, broken-down, bone-stock vehicle with aftermarket upgrades few and far between. Rather, "about the only thing I would have done differently would be to skip to the point I'm at now instead of having to rebuild everything multiple times to get it the way I want it."
At A Glance
General Vehicle: '89 Chevy S-10
Owner: Taylor Wise
Stomping grounds: Easley, South Carolina
Build time: 12-plus years
Drivetrain Engine: 4.3L V-6
Transfer case: NP231C
Low range ratio: 2.72:1
Crawl ratio: 40.6:1
Front axle/differential: '79 Ford F-250 high-pinion Dana 44/Detroit Locker
Rear axle/differential: '79 Ford F-250 Dana 60, Ten Factory chromoly axleshafts/Detroit Locker
Suspension Front: Three-link w/10-in Fox coilovers, Zone Offroad Nitro Series shocks, Chevy 1-ton steering, Reid Racing high-steer knuckle, Jeep Wrangler pitman arm
Rear: Factory leaf springs, spring-over axle, Zone Offroad Nitro Series shocks