There have been trucks that show throughout the nation that we as ambassadors of the mini-truck scene watch while they begin their transformation from plain to completely insane over the course of a year or two. Others take a bit longer, but they get there eventually. This was definitely the case we found when we encountered Phoenix resident Tony Mallard's '96 S-10 about two years ago. After continually running into Tony at shows, we kept after him for a completion date for his above-average Chevy. When one year turned into three, we hadn't given up on the clean standard cab, but we had moved our interests elsewhere, hoping that someday this fine mini would surface again. Luckily for us, the fall of 2000 was the year that Tony finally made the right moves on his ride and finished all that he'd hoped in the years leading up to that moment.

For Tony, the trials and tribulations that go with building a fine show ride began soon after he purchased the truck new back in the summer of 1996. Soon after buying the stock standard cab, 2.2L four-cylinder-equipped mini, he began making the truck a little more his. After finding himself running in circles with modifications that really left him where he started, Tony began an intensive buildup process that wasn't motivated by time, but by cleanliness and attention to detail. The primary part of the buildup of his truck went pretty quickly, but as time and life saw things, Tony hit the brakes more than once while he was trying to get his truck completed.

After buying his truck, Tony relied upon the talents of Ryan Marley at Fabworxs to properly bring his truck down to the ride height he expected of his own truck. Marley installed a pair of Ground Force spindles and Firestone airbags up front and routed the company's air-fill lines into the cab of the truck to allow the adjustment of pressure. Further, a pair of KYB shocks was also added up front to damp defects in road surfaces that Tony might encounter. Tony even went as far as to chrome-plate the brake calipers and the shock absorbers in his frontend for glistening style points.

Moving toward the back, the original suspension was swapped for something a little more usable for a truck that was being built to lay frame. A bridge-style notch was constructed and grafted into the truck's framerails before the original frame section beneath it was carved out for good, making the rear of the truck sink until the frame touched the earth. To allow the truck to rise to a level that would allow it to travel, a pair of custom mounts was fabricated, and to them another pair of Firestone 'bags and KYB shocks was bolted up. To finish off the look, a set of 18x8-inch Colorado Custom Severance billet wheels was bolted up with a pristine set of 245/35ZR18 Pirelli P-Zero tread wound about them. Soon, Tony's ride had a fully adjustable air suspension and a killer set of rollers. He was then able to move on to the next phase of his truck's construction.

Tony knew that simply having a nice and low ride wouldn't gather him the attention he wished to achieve with his truck. Because he knew this all too well, he spoke to Chris Wattier, the proprietor of Creations in Phoenix who brought the S-10 into his establishment and worked magic on the truck. Wattier shaved just about every area of the truck that would inhibit the natural flow of the Chevrolet body style. After ridding the truck of the door handles, a radio antenna, and a tailgate handle, Wattier removed the truck's rear bumper and welded in a Sir Michaels steel roll pan. This modification served to utterly smooth the rear out in grand fashion and also gave Wattier the area he needed to rid the truck of one other nagging item -- the stock taillights. A new pair of taillights was added to the Sir Michaels pan when Wattier smoothed a set of custom-built LED lights into the lower edge of the tailgate. When it was time to send the truck to paint, Wattier made some drastic improvements to the truck. David Mendoza, the painter who lent his painting talents to the truck, mixed his own blend of House of Kolors paint, making a Pearlescent Orange base that looks totally high class.

With his truck looking like a star, Tony was finally able to begin the process of building the audio end of his ride. He had already been granted a full stereo sponsorship by MTX, and it was finally time to begin installing the pile of high-end components he'd amassed. First, the interior was stripped and sent to Bell Auto Upholstery in Phoenix with directions to work magic using tweed and leather in pewter and graphite shades. Next, Tony and his closest bass-head cohorts began building the stereo system for the truck from the inside out. The cab wall and the bed bulkhead were carved open to create a blow-through space for a subwoofer enclosure that they built inside the bed of the truck. Eight 10-inch MTX Blue Thunder subwoofers were installed inside the box that fires into the cab. Additionally, speaker pods were built and grafted onto the door panels to house more MTX midrange and tweeter speakers in the doors. In the cramped space that is typically a standard cab mini-truck, they crammed more equipment than you can imagine with the grace of a surgeon's touch. If you look closely inside Tony's truck, you'll find a Kenwood head unit and monitor, a Clarion VCP, and also a Sony PlayStation, for video entertainment. You'll also see a Phillips Navigation system, an MTX Black Box, and plenty of other surprises, including 2,500 watts of power that emanates from six MTX Blue Thunder amplifiers. When the team had finished installing the system, Tony picked up his upholstery item from Bell Auto Upholstery and began to put the interior back together. When they had tightened the last bolt and clipped the last panel into place, Tony knew he'd finally made the grade. Until now, we thought that the only thing that was holding Tony up from being featured was that he needed a billet grille for his truck's lower valance. Far be it for us to say when an owner should complete his ride. Since we last saw this S-10, it has improved another 100 percent from the classy ride it was two years ago. Hats off to a well-deserved month of glory. This ride deserves all of the adulation it can get.