When Bobby Hillgaertner started building his S-10, he had more in mind than just building a ride he could use to compete in mobile audio arenas. Since he's a long-time mobile audio aficionado, this was of paramount importance to Bobby, but he wanted to make as big a splash in the custom truck scene as he could. Using the S-10 as his platform, he dove into the truck headlong, and began to make serious strides toward building an eye-searing showpiece. Almost as important, though, was building a truck that could be taken to any truck show and be used to dominate his show class.

Bobby began turning his S-10 into a prime example of a show truck by first ditching all the things he felt a show truck didn't need. The first things to go were the truck's air conditioning, windshield wiper motor (he'd later smooth the cowl and wouldn't need the wiper motor), cruise control, fan, ABS, and inner fenderwells up front. To begin actually building the truck, the suspension was changed up to allow the truck to lay frame front to rear, using Air Ride Technologies components all masterfully installed by Bobby.

Once the suspension was complete, Bobby began to rework the body of the truck to smooth out all of what he felt were imperfections. Once he'd rid the exterior of such annoyances as door handles, taillights, the tailgate, and the holes in his wiper cowl, he readied the truck for a fresh coat of paint unlike any he'd ever seen. He relied on Central Florida Collision to make the body magic on his S-10 become a reality. When Central Florida Collision was ready to spray the hue, the crew used several shades of House of Kolor's paint to make it all happen in a way that Bobby had only imagined up until that point. When he got his truck back from the body shop, Bobby knew he still had plenty of work to do to be completely show-ready, but his ride now had a personality all its own.

The next phase of Bobby's S-10 construction covered the interior and stereo system. This was one of the biggest reasons why Bobby began building a custom truck in the first place, and an area he'd be involved with every step of the way. Starting with the stock interior panels, everything that had been torn out for the paint and bodywork was handed back over to Central Florida Collision for smoothing and painting. The shop even went so far as to add custom airbrushing to the interior panels for added custom appeal.

While the body shop was working on the various interior pieces, Bobby had the truck at AudioNuts, a high-end stereo shop in Ocala, Florida, for some serious sound additions. While at AudioNuts, the S-10 received enough electronic gadgetry to make a NASA engineer giggle like a schoolgirl, and each component was installed in a clean and professional manner. Custom enclosures were built, painted, and installed, and contain Oz Audio subwoofers powered by Rockford Fosgate.

When Steve Head and Jayson Syner finished the sound-system work, the S-10 was ready to take on sound competitions, truck shows, and just about any other arena where attention to detail is awarded with highest honors.

The interior pieces came back from Central Florida Collision and were reinstalled back into the interior of the S-10. These, along with fresh upholstery for the seats and headliner, made the truck so close to show-worthy that Bobby was ready to go to any show just to show off all that had been accomplished. Still, there was more to do.

Bobby wanted to touch up a few other things before taking the truck out and showing the world what he'd built. As he'd spent so much time working on all the other aspects, he saved the engine compartment for last. Since a full show truck was the goal from day one, Bobby didn't bother buying a V-6, but rather opted for GM's 2.2L four-cylinder powerplant. The engine wasn't pushed to punch up a bunch of horsepower, but work was done to ensure that enough wattage charges the batteries powering the stereo system, without hurting the driveability of the truck. To clean things up, Bobby opted for several modifications that make the engine worthy of the rest of the truck. When completed, the engine bay looked as though it belonged with the rest of the vehicle Bobby had spent the better part of eight years assembling.

Today, you're likely to see Bobby's truck at many of the hottest shows happening in the southeastern United States. Taking trophies whenever it shows up to compete, we'd say that the time spent building the truck was worth every penny and hassle. Needless to say, we think the owner would agree with us. Congratulations to Bobby Hillgaertner on the buildup of one of the nation's finest custom S-10 minis ever.

The Lowdown
Wheels/Tires 20x8-inch Intro Twisted Vista II wheels wrapped in 245/35R20 Dunlop SP 9000 tires up front; 22x10-inch Intro Twisted Vista II wheels with 285/30R22 Dunlop rubber out back

Suspension/Chassis Front: Belltech drop spindles / Air Ride Technologies Shockwave struts, lower control arms, and shocks / Power Stop slotted brake rotors / Rear: 6-inch step notch / Air Ride Technologies four-link and rear 'bag setup / all air tanks, air compressors, and valves custom-mounted under rear area of bed

Body Modifications Trenz billet grille / Street Scene front bumper / APC M-3 mirrors / 18-inch Hi-Tech LED taillights / Alter Images Lexan rear window / Gem Top tonneau cover / Grant Fabrication wheeltubs / bodywork and paint performed by Central Florida Collision in Bellview, Florida / shaved door handles / shaved third brake light / billet third brake light at the top of the cab / molded tailgate skin / shaved squirters / smoothed wiper cowl

Paint Painted House of Kolor Amber Fire Pearl with flamed graphics from front to rear by E at Central Florida Collision

Interior/Stereo Custom fiberglass dash and center console built by Steve Head and owner / NuImage gauges / Billet Specialties rearview mirror / B.A.D. Toxic billet steering wheel / seats and headliner wrapped in beige tweed by owner / Sony CDX-C90 head unit / three Rockford Fosgate Power 500-watt amplifiers powering Oz Audio 12-inch subwoofers / Sony XDP-4000 crossover / three Rockford Fosgate 1-farad capacitors / Streetwires wiring / truck was set up for Sound Q / all work performed by Steve Head and Jayson Syner at AudioNutz in Ocala, Florida, and by owner / J.T.I. remote-start security system

Engine/Performance 2.2L four-cylinder engine / lightened flywheel / Rewound 140-amp alternator / ZEX 75hp nitrous oxide injection system / Sport Truck Specialties' air intake system / K&N air filter / painted and detailed motor and engine bay / Pacesetter header with 2-inch Flowmaster exhaust

Miscellaneous Many car/audio trophies and Best of Show at the Extreme Lowz show in Georgia / 2000 I.A.S.C.A. World Championship in the 301- to 600-watt audio class

Special Thanks Tony at Air Ride Technologies / Joe at Intro Wheels / Mr. Hasen at Dunlop Tires / Gem Top / Central Florida Collision / EagleEye Airbrush / Steve Head and Jayson Syner at AudioNutz / Oz Audio / Streetwires / Sony / Rockford Fosgate / B.A.D. / Street Scene / Tommy Crowers / Matt Man