Awhile back at a summertime truck show, we watched in horror as a young man bounced his brand-new fullsize Chevy off the ground and when it landed the second time, the entire center section of one of his chrome 20-inch wheels broke away from the outer hoop. After cursing ourselves for not catching the incident on film, we got to wondering why in the world anyone would submit their truck to that kind of punishment. What logical purpose did it serve? Our heads were filled with obvious questions such as these during the long ride home from the show. But, then we wondered about something even more important-how in the hell were these guys making their trucks hop off the ground using an air suspension? By pure coincidence, we got an e-mail shortly thereafter from a guy named Matt Petro who was ready, willing, and able to answer all of our stupid questions, live and in person.
Matt directed us toward an internet web blog that had more than 100,000 hits about the buildup of his Chevy S-10, dubbed Project S-10 Air Dancer. We soon learned that his was not some clapped-out beater truck, but rather one that he takes great pride in maintaining and then beating on repeatedly at truck shows across the nation, just for the fun of it. Oh, and he gets a nice paycheck for bouncing his ride till parts fall off it, too. Think we are lying? Then, check out the photos. His whole truck has been custom-painted, including the chassis and suspension. The bed features a color-matched spray-in bedliner, and the interior is even hooked up with a billet steering wheel and aftermarket bucket seats. It's a decent-looking machine, even if it is wearing a set of wire wheels. We knew the truck looked the part of a real hopper, but could it move? An internet video of the thing during lift off gave it instant street cred with us. After the initial shock wore off, we hit Matt up for some photos that we could print in Sport Truck to show you what we'd found. Matt did us one better and offered to bring the truck all the way out to Las Vegas for a photo shoot. That's a 29-hour-long tow for those of you from his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana.
After he kept his promise of not flipping the truck on its lid during an appearance at the SEMA Show, we hauled it out to a dry lake bed to see just what truck hopping was all about. It was about pure senseless violence on a poor pickup! This is hands down the most ridiculous act of vehicular destruction we've ever witnessed, and we loved it. Matt hopped and twisted his truck in directions we never dreamt possible, until it indeed ended up on its side. The fun lasted just minutes before he'd exhausted the supply of nitrogen delivered from three 304-cubic-foot bottles in an explosion of metal mayhem. When the carnage was over, the truck was in pretty good shape, considering the abuse it had suffered through. The grille, one headlight, a side mirror, and the tailgate had been ejected from the body, and the bed had a serious case of the bends, but the structural improvements Matt has made kept the chassis intact.
Ouch! Matt nearly puts Project S-10 Air Dancer on its lid.