First-gen S-10s have nice straight lines and typically don't require much to look good other than a lowering kit and custom wheels. But there is one aspect of these trucks that definitely needs a custom touch: the bumpers. The trucks come with bumpers that have a large plastic impact strip, which might protect the truck but it just looks lame. The front is easy to delete because LMC Truck offers a whole new chrome bumper blade with the impact strip already removed for about 150 bucks. Out back is where the real work begins.
The only bumpers offered for first-gen S-10s are the step/work-truck style that have no continuity with the front and just look like Uncle Elroy's farm truck. You can install a painted roll pan and bask in your custom glory, but if your truck is a daily driver that gets parked on the street you might want to have a bumper back there. I have had to pound dents out of a roll pan because someone decided to park by braille and bumped my ride trying to squeeze their long-ass Caddy into a parking spot the size of a Civic.
The other option-and the one I chose-is to install an S-10 Blazer rear blade. These are much sleeker and match the front perfectly, but there is still the impact strip to contend with. Instead of buying a new assembly, I went to my local junkyard and nabbed a bumper and all the brackets from an '89 Blazer. After getting the bracket modifications all worked out and the bumper hung on the truck, I pulled it off and went to Eightball Rods and Choppers in Placentia, California, to have the holes filled. Martin Lange, the lead sheetmetal and fabrication guy at Eightball, made short work of filling the numerous holes in the blade. Once he was done welding and grinding on my bumper, I took it to Beo-Mag Plating in Santa Ana, California, to have the shiny stuff put back on.
Read on and see how I went from a farm-truck bumper to a smooth and shiny blade.
LEFT: Here is the farm-truck bumper in question. Besides being tweaked, the thing is way too utilitarian for a custom truck. I don't ever plan on towing with the truck, so this type of bumper has got to go. I could install a roll pan, but I park on the street and I want some protection for my sheetmetal. RIGHT: This is a comparison shot of the truck (foreground) and Blazer (background) rear bumpers. As you can see, the Blazer bumper is thinner so it will tuck closer to the truck. It's also straight across the top, creating a cleaner visual line.