Gary Tokarz of Monee, Illinois, is a man driven, some say to perfection, others say to distraction, still others insist he's driven to extremes. If his '84 GMC S-15, dubbed "Last Time," is any indication, the truth is probably a little bit of each. With the support of mobile electronics supplier Bazooka, Tokarz has built one of the most innovative sport trucks prowling the Midwest show scene. It started with the angular old-school styling of GM's first-generation small pickup, and after flipping its lid, unique paint and graphics were added, morphing into a roadster like no other.
The project started back in November 1994 when Tokarz, then 15 years old, picked up the S-15 for 1K. Even at that young age, he was no stranger to cars, having helped his stepfather build a '55 Chevy 210 sedan, giving him the street smarts to build his own rig. Prior to its current roadster configuration, it was a removable-top convertible. Early on, the door handles and antenna were shaved, and the front fenders were replaced with those from a Chevy, making it something of a hybrid. The next step was an interior upgrade, but it didn't stop there as Tokarz hooked up with John Wargo at The Custom Shop in Flanagan, Illinois, where the first of a series of radical remakes began, including shaving the taillights; installing 2-inch drop spindles along with an air ride suspension system with a ladder bar setup in the rear; and painting the truck, including the frame.
It was at this point, about two years ago, that disaster struck while driving home from a show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: The convertible top blew off, necessitating a return trip to Wargo at The Custom Shop. There, it was decided that instead of reinstalling the convertible top, it was only logical to cut down the roof even more, converting the S-15 into a full roadster. While the S-15 was at The Custom Shop, the graphics received an upgrade as well. To give the angular front end a different look, the crew installed a full phantom grille with bumpers donated from a Toyota 4WD pickup. The resulting effect is one of the few attributes of this truck that could be characterized as subtle.
At this time, the interior received another set of changes. In his quest for the ultimate interior, Tokarz turned to his mom, who stitched the blue- and gray-tweed interior with seats donated by an Acura Integra. The stock dash was removed and replaced by a full custom shell, which houses a set of Auto Meter Pro Comp gauges and the controls for the airbag setup.
It was at this time that the truck attracted the attention of amplifier, speaker, and subwoofer supplier Bazooka, which stepped up to the plate, providing Tokarz with a full sponsorship. Just prior to our photo shoot, the system was updated with three of Bazooka's new P. Miller signature series amplifiers, which are mounted in a custom amp rack located behind the seats. The doors and kick panels house a set of 6.5-inch mid-woofers, 5.25-inch midranges, and 1-inch tweeters, while the head unit, mounted in the center console that flows down from what was once the center stack, is a Sony AM/FM/CD from the Xplod series.
The rear bed houses four of Bazooka's signature 10-inch subwoofer tubes, each treated to its own custom paint and graphics. Along with the subwoofers, much of the S-15's Firestone air suspension system is installed under the flip-up tonneau cover. The system consists of two compressors, two release valves, and a single semitruck tank. The front airbags are rated for 2,500 pounds; those in the rear, 2,600 pounds.
Under the cowl-induction hood, Tokarz turned to his stepfather, who provided assistance in breathing new life into the 2.8L V-6. It was bored 0.030 over, and headers, a high-rise manifold, and valve covers from Edelbrock were installed. Breathing was enhanced with the addition of a 390-cfm Holley, and spark comes courtesy of an MSD super coil and ignition box; the exhaust comes from Flowmaster. Shifting of the 700R4 transmission was enhanced by the installation of a shift kit. Both the A/C compressor and the pulleys have been chromed.
While the system always turns heads, it's the paint that marks this S-15 as extraordinary. Wargo used 27 different colors and shades on the truck, inside and out. Both sides of the truck sport different paint and graphics schemes. The bold paint and graphics are accented by the choice in rolling stock: wheels from Billet Specialties, 17 inches up front, 18 inches in the rear; tires are Toyo Proxies, 215/35R17 in the front, 275/35R17 in the rear.
While Tokarz has said before that he's done with the truck, he means it this time. For his next project, he wants to use a really old truck as the starting point - a '39 or '40 Ford or Chevy - although he's also considering a post-war '46 or '47 Chevy.
As in any project of this size and scope, there are many people to thank. First there's the parents, who provided support and funding. Then there's his stepfather, who helped with the buildup of many of the mechanical components, especially the engine. Kudos go out to Pete Tully at Bazooka, who keeps the truck updated with all the latest gear. Obviously, the project would not have been possible without the talents of John Wargo at The Custom Shop, Wizzards Cleaning Products, Johnny Rod Motorsports, Rob Dotson (whose truck has also been featured in Sport Truck), and Rod McDowell. Finally, Tokarz wants to thank his wife Kristy, who, since their marriage last April, has been with him every step of the way.