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
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):
-- $400-$1000 (Problems with early 700R4 automatic transmission
and carburetor on 2.6 liter V-6.)
-- $600-$2000 (Fuel injection became standard. Yeah! Interior
-- $1800-$3500 (4.3 liter V-6 engine available. 700R4 transmission
is upgraded to Series III and works much better.)
-- $3000-$5500 (Usually too expensive.)
must be in good condition on donor vehicle:
must be straight and square (only the front and rear frame
horns can be bent)
jams must be square and the fit of the doors consistent with
area must be square and true
axle must be square to frame (also double check front-end
fenders, front and rear inner fenders can only have cosmetic
can be damaged or in poor condition on donor vehicle:
bumper, hood, grille, radiator w/shroud, and battery tray
bumper, tailgate, RH & LH 1/4 panels (minor), RH &
LH side glass, and hatch
everything except a 4" header above the windshield
can be readily reconditioned on donor vehicle (if necessary):
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.
don't know why, but GMC S-15 Jimmys are usually cheaper.
2.8 liter V-6 works best with fuel injection, a 5-speed and
no air conditioning.
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.
local smog laws allow, it can be cheaper to install a used
V-8 and many companies sell installation kits.
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
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. 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.
is quite a bit of info/history on all S-10 variants, including
the Blazer, at www.s-series.org.
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.
After 100 hours of work (plus a trip to the paint shop), the Blazer
was converted to this exciting Rodster®.
S-10s are the "1932 Fords" of today.
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."
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:
Chevy V-8 goes right in (a "bow-tie" small-block is the
cheapest, and most-reliable, horsepower you can buy),
aftermarket parts available for S-10s (and Chevys in general) is enormous,
2WD models have a classic RWD ladder chassic,
have an independent-front-suspension, power disc brakes (w/dual-circuits),
and power steering,
already have the very-desirable 700R4 automatic transmission,
also have a tilt-steering wheel, cruise control, and power windows.
S-10s already have all the cool stuff that hot-rodders go through
great pains, and expense, to retrofit into their rods.
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.
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
TOP 10 BARGAIN PROJECT CARS
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.
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
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.
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.