?The Chevy S 10 Throughout the Years
The Chevy S 10 throughout the years has been a common and mostly-appreciated sight since 1981, when it made its debut as a 1982 model. It took off down the road on a 22 year run as the preferred compact pickup truck until it was replaced by the Colorado in 2004. The little pickup truck that could is still out there, though, with many still running the roads around the nation.
Categorized as a compact truck, the S 10 also ran for a time in the General Motors stable as the GMC S 15, though that model eventually became the Syclone. Chevy’s model was a replacement for the Luv, which had seen service since the early 1970s and was a rebadged Isuzu KB. The Arab oil embargo pointed out the need for small, fuel-sipping vehicles and Chevy make a concerted effort at delivering them.
The S 10 emerged as a result of that effort, making its debut in 1981 as a 1982 model. What was really great about the S 10 was that it also came as a sport-utility vehicle (SUV), appearing as the S 10 Blazer in 1983. That particular model was a 2-door version, beating Ford to the SUV market and lagging just behind Jeep, though no manufacturer thought to add 4-door models until 1990.
General Motors, the parent company of Chevrolet, has featured a number of compact pickups since 1982, with the SUV versions being around in 2 or 4-door skin for over 25 years. The S 10 itself is a favorite of do-it-yourself mechanics, particularly its early model years, which were relatively easy to work on.
Engine choices in the Chevy S 10 have also varied over the years. Its maiden voyage was carried out using the Isuzu inline 4 cylinder engine from the KB. For the time (1982) it had decent horsepower, putting out 84 horses, with 101 pounds-feet of torque. Though such power was nothing to shout from the highest mountaintops about, it was okay nonetheless.
The optional engine from the S 10’s debut up through 1985 was the a 2. 4 liter V6 with a Rochester 2-barrel carburetor that upped horsepower to 115 ponies and 148 pounds-feet of torque, which added a bit of ‘oomph’ to the package. For a short time (1983 – 1985) Chevy offered a diesel engine, with a whopping 58 horses and 98 pounds-feet, but it died for lack of interest.
Over the life of the vehicle, both 4 and 6-cylinder models continued to be offered, and horsepower, torque and fuel economy improved. Fuel injection eventually became standard, replacing the less-efficient carburetor, which happily disappeared from the scene after a time. Sequential port, multi-port and throttle body injection all played a role at one time or another, along with 3 and 4-speed automatic transmission and even a slick 5-speed Borg Warner manual.
Second generation S 10s (’94 to 2004) continued to improve, adding to the fun factor with even more 2 or 4-wheel drive versions. Larger, more powerful and more fuel-efficient engines also were offered, even including a hot SS type that came with a 4. 3 liter engine that kicked out from 180 to 195 horsepower. Improved graphics packages and a lowered profile on 16-inch rims complete the set-up. It was discontinued, however, in 1998.
The Chevy S 10 was an almost iconic small pickup in the General Motors lineup for a very long time. It’s still out there in many driveways, streets and roads. Known widely throughout North America, it filled a needed role back at a time when American automakers desperately needed a small truck that could get decent gas mileage and deliver steady sales to the maker.