When it comes to first-time builds, many don't come out exactly as the owner imagined. Because first custom builds offer a huge learning curve and we want to be involved in every single step to learn new skills-well, let's just say that it's not always pretty. However, Derek Papaleo is more fortunate than some, because for his first mini-truck build, he had the help of a dedicated father who wanted to work with his son to turn his first-generation S-10 into something they could both be proud of.

Derek picked up the '93 S-10 for $4,000 in the summer of 2002, knowing that he wanted to work on it and learn how to build a mini-truck. He knew right away that the truck's stock height towered above the Earth way too much and would need to be 'bagged to get the frame where it belongs. Barely a month after Derek had the truck, the frame was slammed to the pavement, courtesy of four Slam Specialties RS-72 'bags, eight 1/2-inch Parker Valves, two Viair 380C compressors, and a 1/2-inch hydraulic line. With the first-generation dime at a much more respectable height, Derek knew he needed to choose a rim combo that would complement the hot-rod style he was after. He chose a set of 18x8-inch Boyd Coddington Turbos as tucking attire. And now, with the truck freshly slammed on some killer wheels, it was time to begin the do-it-yourself saga.

Derek and his father, Vince, decided that they were going to tackle the bodywork themselves. Sounds easy enough at first, but they weren't out just to shave the door handles. In fact, the duo transformed the truck's entire appearance, shaving the bodyline, the door handles, the antenna, the gas door, the taillights, the stake bed pockets, and the tailgate handle. They ditched every single factory annoyance that had plagued the S-10 for years. After they finished smoothing out the truck, they decided to have the professionals handle the paint. Since Derek wanted his truck to turn heads, he had an extremely bright paintjob in mind that consisted of a yellow base with some bright graphics. After handing the truck over to Ron Talley of Talley's Custom Paint, the two began to plan a custom interior.

When Derek picked up his truck from the paint shop, he was absolutely blown away. The S-10 looked nothing like the stock truck he had a year ago. With the paint coming out as well as it did, Derek wanted an equally impressive interior, so again, he turned to the professionals for assistance. After a few thoughtful conversations with Jeff over at AVS, a plan was put into action to turn Derek's stock cab space into something phenomenal. What happened next was nothing short of hours upon countless hours of precision design and fabrication that transformed Derek's truck into something unique. Since words can't describe the one-off dash, center console, cab wall, and custom interior gauges, we hope the pictures can fill in the blanks.

After the final detailing of the engine and interior, Derek and his dad were amazed with the truck that sat in their driveway. The pair had a major part in the construction of Derek's dream truck, and no amount of words can describe that feeling. With the completion of his first custom mini-truck just in time for show season, Derek filled the bed full of his detailing materials and hit every show that he could possibly drive to, taking trophies everywhere he went. Although the trophies aren't the reason Derek says he built the truck, it's still nice to know that a couple of years of hard work are appreciated by your peers.

The Lowdown

Wheels: 18x8-inch Boyd Coddington Turbos

Suspension/chassis: 'Bagged with RS-72 Slam Specialties 'bags all the way around / reverse triangulated four-link in the rear / two Viair 380C compressors / two 5-gallon air tanks, eight 1/2-inch Parker electric valves / a 1/2-inch hydraulic line / relocated Toxic shocks all the way around / everything detailed and painted black by Talley's Custom Paint

Body Modifications/paint: Body modifications by owner and his father / shaved bodyline / shaved gas door / shaved door handles / shaved tailgate handle / shaved antenna / shaved taillights / shaved cab seams / shaved stake pockets / smooth roll pan welded in / 6-inch Hitech LEDs flushed into top of tailgate / license plate box frenched into tailgate / bed was tubbed and sprayed with Line-X / phantom grille with recessed head lights and clear corners / chrome bumper with clear light / flush tonneau cover / painted PPG Bright Yellow with HOK graphics by Ron Talley of Talley's Custom paint in Clovis, California

Interior/stereo: Interior modifications by AVS in Fresno, California / one-off dash and center console built with MDF and fiberglass and wrapped in tweed / Dakota Digital gauge cluster flushed in center of dash / Dakota digital air gauge mounted behind blue plexiglass / custom switch panel controls power windows, doors, audio, video, and headlights / AVS nine-color morphing air-ride controller / custom tweed headliner / custom-built wall accommodates Prelude seats Audiobahn amp, and the subwoofers / Billet Specialties steering wheel and shifter / Settin' Trendz painted interior pieces / PlayStation 2 feeds the 7-inch flush-mounted monitor / Sony Xplod head unit / Audiobahn six-channel amplifier powers two 10-inch subwoofers and the 5-1/4-inch components

Engine/performance: Chrome valve covers / yellow ACCEL spark plug wires / Flowmaster exhaust / Settin' Trendz painted air cleaner, fan cover, overflow boxes, and other accessories

Special Thanks: Mom and Dad, Talley at Talley's Custom Paint, Adam Berg at Settin' Trendz, Jeff and Nick at AVS