rodster street rod body parts

This page will help you find a 1983 to 1994 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer or GMC S-15 Jimmy donor vehicle that's right for you and your wallet.

Prices for a 2WD vehicle in poor-to-good condition (note: these are "ballpark" estimates, and as the market pricing is constantly changing, please do additional pricing research):

1983-1985 -- $400-$1000 (Problems with early 700R4 automatic transmission and carburetor on 2.6 liter V-6.)
1986-1987 -- $600-$2000 (Fuel injection became standard. Yeah! Interior gets upgraded.)

1988-1990 -- $1800-$3500 (4.3 liter V-6 engine available. 700R4 transmission is upgraded to Series III and works much better.)

1991-1994 -- $3000-$5500 (Usually too expensive.)

What must be in good condition on donor vehicle:
  • frame must be straight and square (only the front and rear frame horns can be bent)
  • door jams must be square and the fit of the doors consistent with OEM specs
  • cowl/windshield area must be square and true
  • rear axle must be square to frame (also double check front-end alignment)
  • front fenders, front and rear inner fenders can only have cosmetic damage
What can be damaged or in poor condition on donor vehicle:
  • front: bumper, hood, grille, radiator w/shroud, and battery tray
  • rear: bumper, tailgate, RH & LH 1/4 panels (minor), RH & LH side glass, and hatch
  • top: everything except a 4" header above the windshield
  • wheels/tires
  • paint
What can be readily reconditioned on donor vehicle (if necessary):
  • engine and transmission
  • brakes
  • interior (except for dash pad) can be easily replaced with parts from salvage yard (note: there are 3.3 million S-10/S-15 pickups that are the same from the b-pillar forward)
General notes:
  • GM made 2.4 million S-10 Blazers/S-15 Jimmys from '83 to '94. Over 25% were 2WD. Although you can build a Rodster on a 4x4 chassis, the 2WD is easier to lower, cheaper to maintain and insure, and affords more aftermarket wheel choices. Also, 4WD requires four tires of identical diameter.
  • I don't know why, but GMC S-15 Jimmys are usually cheaper.
  • The 2.8 liter V-6 works best with fuel injection, a 5-speed and no air conditioning.
  • For about $1800, GM has an engine conversion package for 83's-85's with the 2.8 liter V-6. It's much improved and it's punched out to 3.4 liters. GM Part # 12363230.
  • If local smog laws allow, it can be cheaper to install a used V-8 and many companies sell installation kits.
  • The 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine is known as the "Iron Duke." As 4-cylinder engines go, it's not a bad engine, especially when it's dragging around 500 fewer pounds. If it blows, don't rebuild it.
  • We see 4.3 liter V-6s with over 200,000 miles on them all the time. The oil must be changed every 3,000-5,000 miles for the engine to do this well. The 700R4 Series II automatic transmission will last over 150,000 miles if the fluid is changed every 15,000-20,000 miles and if the vehicle wasn't used for towing.
  • Look, look, look. As always, it's good to see at least 3-5 similar vehicles before you settle on one. Also, it's wise to study the seller and how they take care of their home, etc. Look through receipts. Original owner vehicles usually are best. Bring along a large piece of cardboard so you can slide under the vehicle to check for frame damage. Ask a lot of questions.
There is quite a bit of info/history on all S-10 variants, including the Blazer, at
Also, you can check out Edmund's Automobile Buyer's Guide to get an idea of current prices.

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Caroselli Design
214 Main St. # 15-B
El Segundo, CA 90245
(310) 322-2767

© Copyright Caroselli. No images or text located anywhere on this site may be reused or republished without expressed written permission from Rodster, Inc., d.b.a.: Caroselli Design. The Rodster Street Rod design is protected by U.S. Patent # D450,284. "Rodster®" is a registered trademark of Caroselli Design.
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Rodster® Street Rod donor vehicle information.
Okay, now you know the price of the Rodster® Street Rod conversion kit. You're probably wondering what a used S-10 Blazer goes for. Of course, prices vary, depending on year and condition, but a usable S-10 Blazer can be bought for between $1,000 and $2,500. Most customers have less than $3,000 in their S-10 Blazer donor once they buy one and then "bring it up to snuff."


This used S-10 Blazer was the starting point.


 Completed Rodster
After 100 hours of work (plus a trip to the paint shop), the Blazer was converted to this exciting Rodster®.

Chevy S-10s are the "1932 Fords" of today.
Heresy you might say? Well, 50 years ago, when the pioneer hot rodders were doing their thing, '32 Fords were simply 20-year-old used-up cars that were just lying around for cheap. Today, there are millions of S-10s lying around for cheap, just begging to be hot-rodded. Budget-conscious hot-rodders have "discovered" S-10s, because they offer an amazing amount of "bang for the buck."
Not only are there millions of them out there (GM made over 5 million first-generation S-10s between 1982 and 1994), but they're also perfect for "hot-rodding" for the following reasons:
  • a Chevy V-8 goes right in (a "bow-tie" small-block is the cheapest, and most-reliable, horsepower you can buy),
  • the aftermarket parts available for S-10s (and Chevys in general) is enormous,
  • the 2WD models have a classic RWD ladder chassic,
  • they have an independent-front-suspension, power disc brakes (w/dual-circuits), and power steering,
  • S-10s already have the very-desirable 700R4 automatic transmission,
  • most also have a tilt-steering wheel, cruise control, and power windows.

Basically, S-10s already have all the cool stuff that hot-rodders go through great pains, and expense, to retrofit into their rods.

The lowly Chevy S-10 is today's All-American Hot Rod (that's why we, after doing our homework, chose the '83-'94 Chevy S-10 Blazer as the donor vehicle for Rodster Street Rods.

Still don't believe it? Just read what HOT ROD magazine (April, 2002 issue) had to say about naming Chevy S-10s a "Best Deals-Top 10" in their article:


#6 Chevy S-10

Honestly, we'd have never considered these little trucks except that so many of our readers seem to have them. Why? Probably because they are available from fair-to-middlin' prices, there's a variety of body types (long and short beds, extended and regular cabs, and even two and four-door SUVs). The truck magazine are thick with parts for them, and the front suspension is the same as the GM G-body. Best of all, you can stuff small-block Chevys in them fairly easily.

PRIME PICKINS: We like the '91-style S-10 grille, but the specific year doesn't matter much because the body parts interchange from '82-'92 and you're going to have to lose the worthless engine no matter what year you get. On second thought, the 4.3L V-6with a stick isn't too bad with some bolt-ons.

ESTIMATED PRICES: Asking prices vary drastically depending on year and body style. The most-affordable S-10s and GMC S-15s are the early-year longbeds, but hold out for a sportier shortbed.

ALSO RAN: Ford's Ranger also makes a nice little candidate for a V-8 swap, and there's no good reason we didn't include it in the Top 10 list except that the S-10 is so much more popular for hot-rodding.