What do you do when you want a panel truck but are already deep into the build of a conventional pickup? The answer is to build a panel truck with your existing truck. That's exactly what Larry Seabert of Tech-Ni-Kolor Auto Crafters did. This '87 Chevy S-10 started out as a shop truck that Larry cleaned up with a 2/4 drop and a nice 350-cid engine under the hood. It was clean enough for shows but got little attention with all of the other S-10s out there. It was time to do something else. This involved either starting a new project or refinishing the S-10. Because Larry had already spent some money and plenty of time fixing it up, he decided to graft his dream truck to the vehicle already sitting in his garage.
Yes, this truck is wildly customized, and it took one hell of an experienced builder to make it all possible. That person is Larry, who started out by doing bodywork at the age of 15. Initially, he got his first job as a bodyman during high school because they would allow him to go to class in the morning and work a shift in the afternoon. The funny part is that he wanted to be a mechanic, but his school assigned him to work at a body shop, so he went with it.
Down the line, Larry worked for several different shops, until he got fed up working for other people. That's when he started his own shop named Tech-Ni-Kolor Auto Crafters and went into the autobody business for himself. Though he primarily does collision repair work, Larry also does the custom stuff on the side. The shop is a full-time gig and keeps him pretty busy working on his customer's rides. Larry started working on the S-10 to showcase some of the quality work he and his crew can perform, and it snowballed from there.
With some clever ideas, he was able to make the extended cab S-10 into a unibody panel truck. Since the Chevy Blazer has some similar lines, he used the back end to start closing off the rear. Then, he used the rear pillars of the S-10 to make the rear window opening and made extensions to the rear Blazer pillar to complete the side structures. Because the arch of the S-10 roof would not line up to the lid from the Blazer, Larry spliced together two Blazer roofs for the top. To finish the panel section, Larry cut and welded a sheet of 20-gauge flat steel to the rear side window opening.
Another trick body mod is the '06 Chevy Colorado front end. Larry picked up this idea from seeing the Devious Customs version of the front-end swap. The mod involved cutting the upper section of the Colorado fenders and grafting that to the top of the S-10 fenders. After that, the Colorado core support bolted right on, allowing the rest to follow. The only thing left to fabricate was the smooth wiper cowl, and the Colorado front clip was complete.
Once the major body mods were done, Larry felt the truck had a Tri-Five Nomad look and decided to go with a '55 Chevy dash. The steel dash was cut in the center to fit, and the front was modified to fit against the S-10's windshield. To flow the dash into the doors, fiberglass pieces were made to line the pieces together. Then, a console was made out of Lexan that swoops down from the center of the dash to in between the seats. The rest of the interior was sent to Twin City Upholstery to be covered in leather.
Although the truck was previously lowered, Larry wanted to go just a bit further for show while still being able to raise it up for driving. To do so, he added an Air Ride Technologies suspension kit that allows him to adjust the truck's height to suit various driving conditions and to sit even lower when showing it off.
All that was left to do was to top off the body with a clean paintjob. Larry went with a single-color blue and added a nostalgic version of his shop's name to the side panels. To keep with the Nomad style, a '57 Chevy side trim design was airbrushed on the open and flat sides of the now unibody truck. With just the right combination of modifications, this truck has been transformed into a modern representation of a classic vehicle. It is enough to make anyone stare at this wild creation, in awe of its originality.
Larry Seabert of Tech-Ni-Kolor Auto Crafters / Dwight, Illinois
'87 Chevy S-10 Sedan Delivery
350-cid V-8 Chevy engine / Street & Performance polished intake and throttle body / Billet Specialties air cleaner and serpentine belt system / dual 2-1/2-inch exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers / 700-R4 transmission / Ford 9-inch rearend with disc brakes / custom-made valve covers
By: Larry Seabert
Front: 18x7-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust
Rear: 18x8.5-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust
Front: 235/40R18 Michelin
Rear: 245/45R18 Michelin
Front: Air Ride Technologies Shockwave airbag struts / Belltech drop spindles
Rear: Air Ride Technologies three-link kit, complete with airbags and shocks
Accessories: Air Ride Technologies Big Red valve system, air compressor, and 5-gallon air tank / Rock Valley custom-made fuel tank
Chassis: Cleaned and powdercoated
By: Larry Seabert
S-10 cab and bed welded together / rear sheetmetal and tailgate from Chevy Blazer / window space between cab and rear Blazer pillar welded shut with sheet steel / two Blazer roofs used up top, with a custom wood roof rack / '06 Colorado front clip with Street Scene bumper and Goodmark cowl hood / '99 Cadillac taillights / Hagan hinges, used to suicide the doors / Street Scene Sport mirrors / shaved upper body line and door handles / custom-made roll pan / custom smooth wiper cowl / shaved firewall / custom-made inner fenders
By: Steve "Conman" Connor (wood roof rack and graphics) / Larry Seabert / Phil Becker (cowl and dash)
PPG Viper Blue Pearl and clear / custom logo on side panels / airbrushed '57 Chevy style trim
By: Larry Seabert / Steve "Conman" Connor (graphics)
'55 Chevy dash cut down to fit / Classic Industries gauges / custom-made console / custom-made door and interior side panels / stock seats reupholstered in leather / custom-made billet pieces / Lokar shifter
By: Twin Cities Upholstery in Bloomington, Illinois / Phil Becker (dash)
Pioneer Premier head unit / Rockford Fosgate components and amplifier / custom kick panels
By: Twin Cities Upholstery
His mom and dad, Dave Hansen, Kerry Treddwick, Phil Becker, Jake Burkart, Kyle Seabert, Joe Ruskin, Steve Connor, and special thanks to his wife, "Queen" Shirley Seabert