A Dedication to Julie E. Medina
The old saying that you have to crawl before you walk is an accurate sentiment in the world of automotive customization. Most truck fanatics get their first taste for personalizing during their teenage years with an inexpensive, entry-level pickup (most likely a mini-truck). Many of us on staff started with one, and a few of us still have them to this day. From simple and easy bolt-ons to much more extensive modifications, there’s so much to be made of these “starter” trucks.
I told my mom that someday I wanted to make my S-10 look like something I was seeing in all the magazines. She pushed me to do so, and I promised her that I would get here one day.
Jason Medina of Deltona, Florida, can relate to this statement since the very first truck he started tinkering with was a second-gen “dime.” In fact, he still owns the same truck he started cutting and chopping back when he was 17 years old. Back then, Jason was happy with whatever his budget and skill level would allow.
“I originally built this truck to keep my hands busy,” he says. “I told my mom that someday I wanted to make my S-10 look like something I was seeing in all the magazines. She pushed me to do so, and I promised her that I would get here one day. I didn’t realize it would take me 20 years to reach this point, but I needed to scrap what I did as a kid and start all over with a fresh rebuild on my truck.”
A lot has changed for this S-10 in that two-decade span. Jason reached out to Scott Mongan of House of Sparks in Sanford, Florida, to help with some frame modifications, and has since recruited Cris Almendarez of The Toy Shop Garage in Longwood, Florida, to help finish the chassis work.
A lot of custom tailored alterations have been made to the factory frame to prepare it to house the air-ride components necessary to lay the truck down. Of course, a lot more strategic planning went into revamping the chassis to operate without a hitch. ProFab Florida was asked to design a custom cradle to mount a second-gen S-10 Blazer fuel tank between the rear frame rails as well as fabricate one-off air compressor mounts and a side frame battery mount to clear valuable space under the hood.
While some existing work and components were already in place from before Jason began the S-10’s second phase, he spent a lot of late nights completely rewiring and plumbing the entire system and replacing every fitting to ensure that every component was good to go. The factory braking system was good enough to leave in place with the exception of the booster, which was a transplanted part from an Astro van. When the time came to select a fresh set of wheels, Jason landed on 20-inch Ridler 650 series units, but he has mentioned that he might switch back to the Centerline Smoothies that he originally had mounted to the truck.
The original 2.2L has racked up 165K miles in its 25 years on the road, which isn’t actually all too bad. Jason has made it a point to take good care of the engine over the years, and while this four-banger wasn’t exactly designed for high performance, it has returned the favor of remaining a reliable source of power for the S-10. Even though nothing more than regular maintenance was required to keep the engine running, some trimming in the way of a shortening the upper intake manifold and relocating the computer location was required to allow enough travel for the Chevy’s ‘bagged park height.
Jason’s S-10 has seen its fair share of custom exterior touches throughout the years. Currently, the drip rails have been shaved clean from their surfaces, as has the third brake light, hood squirters, antenna, and gas door. The rear wall of the bed has been built up and the corners have been smoothed on the bedrails.
When the time was right to start shopping for a paint color, Jason selected a hue that could command attention from a block away. Hot Pink Pearl from House of Kolor proved to be the winning selection, and Brandon Johnson of LBJ Collision of Longwood, Florida, stood as the ideal painter to wield the spray gun. In total, Brandon applied seven coats of pink on top of a white base before sealing the color in with five coats of HOK clear.
Moving inside the cab, Jason wanted nothing more than a clean, comfortable interior with a well-balanced sound system to finish it off. Jamie Vargas of J&M Wraps and Upholstery in Casselberry, Florida, rose to the challenge by first chopping the headrests of the factory S-10 seats before wrapping them in soft distressed gray vinyl with contrasting pink and purple stitching.
Matching details have also been added to the door panels and headliner, as well as color-matched seat belts and a flaked out Mooneyes steering wheel for a more cohesive theme throughout the interior space. Knowing that the in-cab overhaul wouldn’t be complete without that noticeable audio upgrade, Jason selected components from Timpano Audio to provide the mids, highs, and lows, as well as proper amplification for each signal.
“I listen to a lot of oldies and Santana, so it was all about creating a crystal-clear sound quality in the cab”, he adds.
Lastly, Pinstriping Mikey of Palm Coast, Florida, was asked to add some custom lines and lettering to the bottom left corner of the tailgate. “Yo tambien te amo” (I love you too) is the message that Jason chose to adorn his S-10 with after it has been transformed for the better. These four words are very important to him and serve as a direct dedication to his mother, along with the entirety of the project as a whole.
“I didn’t say these words to my mom before I hung up on the way to see her at the hospital,” Jason says. “At the time, I didn’t know that would be the last conversation we would have, so this is how I am telling her now.”
Jason and Megan Medina
- 1998 Chevy S-10
- Deltona, FL
- LowBros (co-founding member)
Engine & Transmission
- 1998 GM 2.2L 4-cylinder
- Shortened upper intake manifold to clear wheel tubs
- New computer location
- Aftermarket air cleaner
- Custom ABS mount
- Sheetmetal blower box for A/C/heat system
- 220-amp custom alternator
- Stock 4L60E freshly rebuilt to factory specs by North American Transmission, Orlando, FL
Chassis & Suspension
- Shop: Scott Mongan of House of Sparks, Sanford, FL and Cris Almendarez of The Toy Shop Garage, Longwood, FL
- Factory frame modified with rear step notch/bridge, front notch for tie rods, cut spring pocket
- Era-specific Iron Cross upper rear ‘bag plates
- Pie-cut factory upper control arms, de-humped factory lower control arms
- Triangulated rear 4-link, ‘bags on bar
- Front Slam Specialties RE-7 ‘bags, rear Air Lift D2600 ‘bags
- Rear Monroe twin tube shocks
- New wiring, plumbing, mounting, air ride fittings front to back
- 2nd-gen two-door Chevy Blazer fuel tank mounted between rear frame rails
- Custom compressor mounts and side-frame battery mount by Ryan Spehn and CJ Mathis of Pro Fab Florida
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
- 20-inch Ridler 650 wheels
- 245/35ZR20 Ironman iMove Gen2 tires
- Hydroboost from Astro van
Body & Paint
- Shop: Brandon Johnson of LBJ Collision, Longwood, FL
- House of Kolor Hot Pink Pearl over white base
- Pinstriping on tailgate by Pinstriping Mikey, Palm Coast, FL
- Firewall tubs, custom front inner fender, rear bed tub
- Shaved drip rails (roof), third brake light, hood squirters, antenna, rear wall of bed is built up and corners smoothed on bedrails, gas door, raised bed floor
Interior & Stereo
- Shop: Jamie Vargas of J&M Wraps & Upholstery, Casselberry, FL
- S-10 seats w/ chopped headrests, purple seatbelts
- Soft distressed grey/purple/pink vinyl upholstery
- Custom door handles
- Mooneyes purple flake steering wheel, foot pedal
- Timpano Audio head unit, MD series midrange speakers in doors, ST25 tweeters in dash, TPT 1500 10-inch subwoofer, TPT3000 and TPT1000.4 amps
- OEM GMC Envoy chrome door handles