WHAT DRIVES YOU? SUPREMIS
SUPREMIS, taken from the late 15th century Latin word Supremus meaning ‘the highest’ or ‘that which is above’ is a befitting name for the all-business-beast that is Dean Brown’s 2015 Chevy Colorado doit-all day-tripper.
The Colorado heritage can be traced back to the hastily re-badged Isuzu light utility vehicles of the 1970’s. These were imported as a direct challenge to the new and extremely popular compact pick-up trucks from Datsun and Toyota that caught the North American auto manufacturers completely off guard.
GM’s replacement for the Isuzu, launched in 1982, was the S10. Brown owned a first generation 1984 rear wheel drive S10 Blazer, and even though he regularly got the tires dirty, it was never going to be the off-road machine that he
Trucks came and went over the next twenty five years, but one constant was Brown’s career in the printing industry running a Motter press. These behemoths required years of training and even more years of experience before you’d be running one on your own, as companies couldn’t afford to compromise high volume print runs by leaving an incompetent operative in charge. The job had to be done right, and done right the first time.
The same principles of doing it right the first time were applied to the SUPREMIS build, with the requirement that it be a capable and comfortable daily driver with plenty of off-road potential. But, and this was a very important ‘but’, it had to be different from all the other rigs on the trail; enter the Chevy.
Brown’s local GM dealer, who has been just as enthusiastic about the SUPREMIS build as Brown, supplied the Z71 FL Short Box truck new in 2015 and Brown spent the following six months evaluating its capabilities on and offroad, as well as thoroughly researching possible modifications online before compiling a wish-list and parting with his cash.
The choice of powertrain wasn’t an issue, with proven capability coming from GM’s 3.6L V6, producing 305 hp at 6,800 rpm, and more importantly, a Canadian Shield conquering 269 ft/lb of torque at 4,000rpm. There’s also a transmission cooler to keep temperatures in check when the truck is towing or being worked hard offroad, and the auto-locking rear-diff and limited-slip front-diff play a big part in helping keep SUPREMIS moving forward when the terrain gets challenging. Brown says that there are two technological aids to vehicle control that he really likes; the hill-start-assist and hill-descent control which help when negotiating grades, keeping everyone on board that little bit safer, and making the driving experience a little more predictable.
Riding on 33" Toyo Open Country Extreme tires, mounted on 20" FUEL rims, the Chevy’s full off-road potential was realized by installing a 5.5" BDS Chevy lift with front adjustable external reservoirs, which is one serious piece of kit. If it breaks, the manufacturer wants it returned to investigate the failure so that they can improve on the design. After a full season of travelling back roads and trails, it has performed flawlessly.
SUPREMIS is fitted with NFAB rock sliders and a FAB4 hidden winch bumper that should protect the beast
in the event that Brown makes an error in judgement on the trail, and Mother Nature bites back. No worries if she does, as there’s an extremely capable Warn 10000lb cordless remote winch mounted up front, and the Gullwing toolbox that’s fitted to the Back Rack contains the usual array of jacks, shovels, straps, and shackles that any responsible and self-respecting off-roader should carry with them when out on the trail.
Comfort comes courtesy of GM’s well-appointed and roomy crew cab that has an extra, and rather neat overhead panel - another installation by his local dealer - to control the ‘daylight solutions package’. Built for day tripping, Brown wanted to ensure that he could make the most of his time on the trail by installing one 20" curved, two 30" straight light bars, and eight rock lights. He’s now able to turn night into day at the flick of a switch. Well, several switches actually.
The truck also has a really neat cresting-solution. The Go-Pro that’s
mounted on the FAB4 bumper is hooked up to Brown’s smart phone in the cab so that he has a real-time view of the trail ahead to make negotiating blind crests easier and so much safer.
Another cool feature is the two-way air system, and although the compressor has yet to find a permanent home, the system makes short work of airing-up and airing-down. Airlines have been routed from a central point to each wheel well, where there’s a Schrader valve that is used to connect auxiliary air lines to each of the four tires. Once the compressor is hooked up, it’s just a matter of hitting the switch and keeping an eye on the toolbox mounted gauge until the desired pressure is reached.
To ensure that there’s enough juice on tap to power all the electrical accessories, Brown installed a second battery and a digital battery isolator that shuts everything down when power levels are critically low, leaving just enough to get the truck started. Due to the limited space under the Colorado’s hood, a marine grade battery was specified as they can be safely mounted on their side without fear of leaking acid all over the engine bay.
Some form of communication equipment is on the to-do list and Brown has it narrowed down to either a HAM set-up or a CB; both of which will be much better than his current cell-phone-or-yell system. Full underbody armour is another want but sourcing aftermarket parts for such a new model isn’t an easy task and the only other option, custom fabrication, doesn’t come cheap.
It’s taken about a year of hard work to get the truck to where it is today and like most builds, it’s not over yet. The Motter press was renowned for its longevity, and there’s a host of items that Brown wants spray-coated to improve not only their looks, but also their durability - although I seriously doubt that they’ll last as long as the presses did. The final modification (don’t hold your breath though) will be manual sway-bar disconnects, which in Brown's words, “Will make her a true SUPREMIS!”