Third Time’s a Charm

Some­times it takes a while to get an ’87 Chevy S-10 right

Truckin - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY PHIL GOR­DON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PHIL GOR­DON

It’s hard to be­lieve be­ing part of three dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies be­fore the age of 10 could have a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on your life. Austin Lan­don found out early that three times can be a charm. At 10, he was placed in his fi­nal foster home. One of his new broth­ers in the house was seven years older than Austin, and they took to be­ing good friends. His brother had a cus­tom Chevy S-10 mini-truck, and Austin spent a lot of time learn­ing about it.

The day Austin turned the le­gal driv­ing age, his foster fa­ther had a sur­prise wait­ing for him: When Austin ar­rived home with his new li­cense and a smile, in the garage sat a two-door Chevy Blazer. His older brother had low­ered it for him to make it cus­tom. Austin pur­chased a set of Boss 304 wheels for the Blazer and en­joyed it un­til it even­tu­ally be­came too much work to fix. That’s when Austin re­moved the wheels and scrapped the Blazer.

Dur­ing his search for a new truck, Austin lo­cated an ’87 Chevy S-10 on­line, owned by an el­derly man. “The Chevy was an old­man blue,” Austin tells Truckin, “but the frame was per­fect, and the pickup was more my style.” The very first thing Austin did was put his Blazer wheels on it for a bit of nos­tal­gia. Then he be­gan the mo­tor work. The 2.8L V-6 was fine, but Austin wasn’t go­ing for “fine.” He pur­chased a crate 350 V-8 from Jegs and, through trial and er­ror, in­stalled it him­self.

His next step was bring­ing the Chevy to the ground by way of air-ride sus­pen­sion. It took Austin three dif­fer­ent sus­pen­sions be­fore he was fi­nally sat­is­fied with the job. He added a tra­di­tional body drop so the clas­sic wheels would tuck and the body would lay. When Hur­ri­cane Sandy rolled through Mary­land, Austin asked his good friend Joe Cane if the S-10 could be stored in his shop to pro­tect it. Once the hur­ri­cane passed, the truck re­mained there for the rest of the build. Joe took an in­ter­est in the project and be­gan the body­work. To­gether, they worked on the bed, all the met­al­work, and shaving.

The next step was adding a solid up­dated in­te­rior. The bench seat was brought to Lucky’s Garage in Del­mar, Delaware, where John wrapped it in vinyl. Joe and Austin cus­tom­ized the rest of the in­te­rior us­ing one­off pieces. Joe turned his at­ten­tion to the ex­te­rior and used his paint­ing ex­per­tise to coat the Chevy with a unique blend of DuPont Choco­late Brown Pearl and Desert Tan.

It may have taken three dif­fer­ent homes be­fore Austin found the right one, but the con­nec­tion he made and the love he has for the peo­ple who raised him show in ev­ery de­tail of his cus­tom truck. He wishes to thank his foster fam­ily for guid­ing him in the right di­rec­tion. And a spe­cial thank you goes to his beau­ti­ful wife, Kaycee, and their two chil­dren Ay­den and Layla. Austin also wants to ex­tend a thank you to his good friends Joe Cane, Buddy Smith, John Hill, and Dil­lon Lay­field for every­thing they helped with on the truck.

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