Back when knights had armor and honor was a huge part of everyone’s lives, one man could issue a challenge to another by throwing down their gauntlet -- the reinforced armor glove that many knights wore. Whoever picked up the gauntlet was the one who accepted the challenge, and things progressed from there. Ross Johns may not wear a suit of armor, we’re pretty sure that he doesn’t own any gauntlets, and no one ever called him out specifically, but at one point, he saw a challenge in front of him. That challenge was to build the coolest Chevy S-10 in town and outdo anyone who came in his way. Ross picked up the gauntlet and moved forward, ready to make his first vehicle into the baddest ride around. It would just take him eight years to build his custom truck.

Back when Ross was just a kid, his neighbor’s brother owned a Toyota on 15-inch wheels that had a wall of subwoofers. It was 1996, and a young Ross dreamt of one day building a mini like that Toyota, or something comparable that would bring home trophies and make grown men jealous. A few years later, Ross bought himself a 1990 Chevrolet S-10 with grand plans of turning it into his own show winner, so he started turning wrenches and making things happen. First, it was the suspension, then the drivetrain, body mods, and on through the chain it went, getting better and better as time went on.

But these types of mammoth projects often have a stumbling point or two, and that holds true with Ross’ Chevy S-10. Along the way, he bought himself a 1999 Chevrolet S-10 with the intent of just building something cool to drive, but it bumped itself up on the priority list and soon the ’90 was left alone to collect dust. The square-body Chevy S-10 was not forgotten however, and Ross worked on it whenever he could. Slowly but surely, things were moving forward until eventually (eight years later) Ross had a truck that was everything he dreamed of and more.

The resulting truck is a stunning display of detail. The carved moldings on the sides that split the two tones of paint are spot on. The interior is immaculate, with sheetmetal used to craft the leather-wrapped components. And the bodywork is straight as an arrow, with multiple parts shaved and no waves to speak of.

Eight years is a long time to take to build a truck, but it’s done now, and that’s better than most vehicles with similar build times. Was it worth the wait? Definitely. And it’s pretty clear who won the battle this time.

Special Thanks From Owner

“Mom & dad, Casey Pipal, Rich Crouse, Wiz, Les Voudrie, Kyle Bertsch, Scott Beaulin, BBT Fab, GS Customs, Kyle Hix, Justin Mornout, everybody in Severed Ties, and my girlfriend, Jami.”


The Lowdown
Vehicle: 1990 Chevrolet S-10
Owner/hometown/Club: Ross Johns / Champaign, IL / Severed Ties
Rolling Attire
Wheels: 20x8.5-inch Bonspeed Clutch with brushed hoops
Tires: 245/35ZR20 Nitto NT555
Chassis Modifications
Suspension (front): RideTech control arms, Firestone 'bags
Suspension (rear): Custom back half, triangulated four-link, Firestone 'bags
Shocks: Monroe
Compressor(s): Dual Viair 450 comps
Frame Mods: Boxed frame, smoothed weld seams, painted and polished
Performed By: Owner and BBT Fab
Body Modifications
Shaved: Taillights, cab seams, upper bodyline, door handles, mirrors, cowl, gas door, antenna
Bodydrop: 4½-inch traditional
Bolt-ons: Billet Specialties taillights, T-Rex grille insert
Performed By: Owner, BBT Fab, Rich Crouse and Casey Pipal
Paint
Brand & Colors: Custom mixed PPG
Performed By: Greg Stallmeyer of GS Customs
Interior
Seats: 2003 Chevrolet Malibu seats cut and modified
Dash: Custom sheetmetal dashboard that flows into the door panels and center console.
Gauges: Dakota Digital with custom billet polished bezel
Misc.: Hand-built shifter, one-off aluminum trim, Billet Specialties steering wheel, Watson window switches
Performed By: Owner, Kyle Hix, BBT Fab and Garnet Johns
Stereo
Head Unit: Kenwood
Mids & Highs: Dual JBL MS 6½-inch components
Subwoofers: (4) JBL MS 10-inch subs
Amplifiers: (4) JBL MS
Performed By: Owner
Engine/Performance
Engine: 355 small-block Chevrolet V-8
Intake: Polished
Transmission: 700R4 auto
Detail Work: Patriot S-10 small-block headers, painted engine block, rearend, and transmission, all stainless hardware and misc. billet accessories