John Adkins started out with a typical old body style S-10 Blazer about four years ago. While other people start a truck, almost finish it, and start over again, John knew from the onset that this was going to be a one-time deal. Over the course of the following years, John and the crew at Silver Star Customs in Horn Lake, Mississippi, slowly built his truck to become one-of-a-kind. Today, that truck is capable of holding its own with any custom truck anywhere in the United States, Canada, and beyond. Looking back on the last four years, John says it was the people who thought he couldn't finish the Blazer to this caliber that pushed him not only to complete the truck but also to put it back together so well that you'd think someone at Chevrolet built the damn thing! For an in-depth look at one of today's finest customs, simply read on.
Owner: John Adkins
Ride: '89 Chevy Blazer
Hometown: Southhaven, Mississippi
Club: Negative Camber
MT: OK, where to start? How long ago did you start building your Blazer?
John/SSC: We started on it about four years ago.
MT: Back then, how far did you go and how long did the first incarnation of the truck last?
John/SSC: We pulled it apart but never intended to actually go this far. It just kept growing until it ended up here. It's finally finished for the first time.
MT: That's one long-ass buildup. Are you sure you're done with it now?
John/SSC: We are mostly done with it. There are some small details we may change, but it will be nothing major.
MT: Well, like what? You see, that's another question I was going to ask you, but you beat me to it.
John/SSC: Maybe different wheels and some more chrome. We were kicking the idea around about a few interior changes. Maybe paint the frame yellow and orange ... just kidding.
MT: Oh man, not the yellow and orange frame again. I was so glad to see you go back in and add so much more detail to the chassis this time around. What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with when you were building the Blazer?
John/SSC: Getting the new front end on and laying the 20s on a frame that was not designed for that much travel.
MT: How did you make that happen? Any tricks you'd like to share?
John/SSC: We built the lower and upper control arms to make it lay out. We had to also modify all the steering to clear as well. It was a learning experience that has since helped us a lot.
MT: What did you build the upper and lower control arms with?
John/SSC: The upper control arms are tubular steel and we had to modify the ball joint angle. The lowers are the stock ones that we added a ball joint spacer to lay out.
MT: And the steering. Did you add linkage for more articulation?
John/SSC: We rebuilt the tie-rod ends to clear without cutting the frame so it would look a little better. A nicer-looking install, you know?
MT: I know Silver Star Customs was instrumental in the completion of this truck, but how much of the truck was actually done in-house at Silver Star?
John/SSC: It was all done at Silver Star, but I've done a lot of it on my own time. Gary Loftin at Custom Plating in Southhaven, Mississippi, did all the chrome, and Jeff King at Kings Upholstery in Canaan, Mississippi, did the upholstery on the seats.
MT: When you did the work on your interior, what possessed you to go so crazy with the fiberglass work?
John/SSC: I just wanted it to be clean and different. The dash and console are mostly built with sheetmetal. The raised logo is also made out of sheetmetal. The door panels are glassed with speaker pods sculpted into them.
MT: Honestly, my favorite part of the truck is probably the dash and center console. Then I'd have to say I love the look of the updated body and super-straight custom bodywork. What's your favorite part of your truck?
John/SSC: I like the frame the most, I think. After that is the new front molded on.
MT: Is there anything on your truck you would have done differently if you were to do it all over again?
John/SSC: Yeah, I'd build the whole frame from scratch and build a complete sheetmetal floor because I think it would be cleaner than stock -- we had to change pretty much all of it anyways.
MT: What shows do you have in store for the Blazer this year? I hope you'll be taking it all over the place because it's about to become famous!
John/SSC: Yes, we plan to hit as many shows as possible this year. Showfest in Greenville will be the first one we will be at this year. I hope your'e gonna be there.
MT: Unfortunately, I've missed the past two Greenville shows, but this year I'll be there. I can't believe how big that show has become over the past couple of seasons. It can easily hold its own with any event these days.
John/SSC: Yeah, Showfest has become one of the best shows we attend. I'm glad it's close to home.
MT: So, will the Blazer be a trailer queen or will you drive because it's so close to Horn Lake?
John/SSC: We will probably trailer it enclosed so it wont be so hard to clean. I drive it around here a lot because it's finally finished.
MT: OK, we'll let you off the hook this time. Saving time is always a plus, but do you miss driving it? Not being able to drive my Dakota just about kills me.
John/SSC: Yeah, after the new wears off I will drive it more often. You need to get your Dakota back on the road, bro.
MT: You're telling me! I almost can't remember what it feels like to go sideways every time I shift into Third gear real hard. Man, half the time I forget what the graphics look like. Don't let this happen to you. I sound like some stupid public service announcement, huh?
John/SSC: I'll lead by example, how's that? My Blazer will be dragging down the strip in Greenville. That should surprise a lot of people. The Killin' Blazer will light up the world from Mississippi!
MT: Sweet. Is there anything else about your truck you'd like to make sure people know about that I haven't brought up?
John/SSC: Well, because it is hard to get photos of the undercarriage, I'd like people to know the under side of my Blazer is just as nice as the rest of the truck. We ran all stainless line for hydraulics, fuel, and brakes.
MT: I know you're a real low-key, laid-back kind of guy, John, but what is your level of excitement over getting your Blazer on the cover of Mini Truckin'?
John/SSC: Man, I'm really pleased. It makes all the work that went into making it as crazy as possible even more worthwhile.
MT: Thanks for giving Mini Truckin' first crack at your Blazer, bro. I know other magazine-type guys have been hounding you about it for some time.
John/SSC: Yeah, and some other people for an AutoZone commercial want it pretty bad.
MT: Dude, you should do the commercial. That's killer advertising, and it would be good for MT, Silver Star, and you.
John/SSC: I want to do the commercial. It will be a little while, though, before we make that deal, and then they still have to film it.
MT: Just get me a copy on DVD or something when it comes out, OK? (Laughs) What's coming out soon at Silver Star Customs? Any news?
John/SSC: Clyde is building a '91 Mazda Cab-Plus that he's widening 13 inches from stock from front-to-back. It's also being chopped 3 inches and body-dropped with a twin-turbo Supra engine, transmission, and independent rearend. How's that for news?
MT: Oh my god! Thanks for dropping that 411. Tell Clyde to hurry the hell up because we can't wait to see that monster completed!
20x8.5-inch chrome Lexani Roma wheels with 255/35R20 Bridgestone tires.
The truck's suspension lays out flat, even with 20s all the way around. Adjustability comes from Red's Hydraulic cylinders installed at each corner. Up front, the suspension uses 6-inch cylinders, and in the rear, a pair of 10-inch cylinders makes lifting the Blazer to any desirable height simple. Four Optima batteries supply power for the hydraulic system, while an additional Optima powers the Blazer's electrical systems from under the truck's dashboard.
The chassis for the Blazer was built to be completely detailed with a frame-off buildup, with custom graphics front-to-back. The frame was smoothed, painted, and airbrushed to look like rusty diamond-plate. The rear section of the Blazer's chassis was completely rebuilt during the final buildup of the truck. All modifications to the chassis were performed at Silver Star Customs.
The body of the Blazer is still all steel, with all of the bodywork done at Silver Star Customs in Horn Lake, Mississippi. While the body is that of an '89 Generation I Blazer, the sheetmetal on the nose has been updated to an '00 Sonoma, making the truck look years newer. If you look closely at the roof of the Blazer, you'll see that even the ribs in the roof that strengthen it have been given attention. Billet Accessories Direct built polished, billet aluminum ribs that add extra gleam to the exterior of the truck. Other modifications include a suicide passenger door, shaved handles, shaved bodyline, shaved taillights, a steel roll pan, smoothed firewall, suicide hood, and a laser-cut one-off grille.
William at Silver Star Customs was the person made responsible for spraying the Blazer's sick arrangement of colors and stripes. He used various shades of purple, blue, yellow, turquoise, and orange to come up with a killer visual statement. He also threw his talents into the interior when the dash and center console were ready to be sprayed.
Inside the Blazer, you'll find even more attention to detail with plenty of custom steel and fiberglass work on the dash and center console. A Billet Accessories Direct Inferno steering wheel mounted to the steering column adds extra gleam to the already show-winning look of the Blazer, as do a pair of one-off doorsills created for the Blazer by B.A.D. There are also some other billet parts in the interior, such as one-off skull pedals made by Silver Star and a Trenz billet rearview mirror. What you'll never see, however, is the bedliner material sprayed into the truck to keep it quiet on the insides at all times. The seats found inside were originally stock Eclipse buckets that have been reupholstered using bone-colored leather and tweed by Jeff King.
Inside the Blazer, you'll find a Pioneer head unit with a monitor screen, an enclosure housing four 10-inch Memphis Audio subwoofers, Memphis Audio separates installed in the doors, and a pair of Memphis Audio amplifiers pumping out almost 1,500 watts to power it all.
Under the hood, the '89 4.3L V-6 was rebuilt for performance as well as good looks. Upgrades include a bigger cam, an Edelbrock intake, and plenty of custom machine work by Pro Block in Memphis, Tennessee. Additionally, just about everything on the engine was removed and sent out for chrome plating, with Cerma-chrome on the list of essential items that take a beating from excessive heat. Behind the engine, a 2-1/4-inch exhaust system was also installed and even more Cerma-chrome added for good looks. Special Thanks To the staff at Silver Star Customs, Billet Accessories Direct (B.A.D.), MSD Ignition, Memphis Audio, and Jason and Carl at Metal Tech.
Model: Adrian Manuel