Nicely Optioned: 1987 Chevrolet S-10 4×4 5-Speed

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Looking like it’s right out of a brochure, this 1987 Chevrolet S-10 4×4 pickup has some nice features. The most desirable feature may be its 4WD. Winter or summer, if you’re going off-road or just trying to stay on the road, having all four tires providing traction is pretty desirable. It also has a five-speed manual transmission, power steering, and that topper, or cap on the back. This truck also has air conditioning. Speaking of cool, thanks to the cool Mitchell G. for sending in this tip!

This S-10 looks much too nice and is too well-equipped to be priced where it is. I never imagined that in 2024, a person could get a 4×4 pickup with no rust and air-conditioning for under six grand. No matter if it is 37 years old, and it sure doesn’t look that old. The Chevy offered the S-10 – reportedly America’s first domestically-built small pickup – from the 1981 for the 1982 model year until the end of 2004 in the U.S., and 2012 in other countries.

This truck has a bit of an Isuzu look to it to me, and, coincidentally, the S-10 came after Chevrolet offered a rebadged Isuzu as a Chevy LUV up until the S-10 was introduced. After 2004 came the Colorado for Chevy buyers and GMC buyers got the Canyon for small pickups. Although, as is always the case, they were much bigger than the trucks that they replaced, sadly. I don’t see a single flaw on the exterior of this truck, other than some surface rust on the black-painted rear bumper, and just in back of the front wheels on the lower rocker panels, there appears to be some surface rust, maybe from rock chips over the years.

As with the exterior, the interior looks almost too good to be true. A five-speed manual transmission is great to see, although an automatic would work fine in a truck like this for most people, including me. The seller is pretty slim on the photos, sadly. There are no photos showing the bed or inside or under the topper/cap at all and there are only two interior photos, both from the same angle.

And (head explodes), there are no engine photos. Sigh. This one should have Chevrolet’s 2.8-liter OHV V6, which had 125 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque when new. This one “drives great” and has new tires. The seller has it posted here on craigslist in the Livermore, California area and they’re asking $5,500. Here is the original listing. This seems like a great deal to me, how about you?

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  1. Rw

    Would have been nicely optioned if it had 4.3

    Like 16
  2. DW

    Good trucks, I owned several of them. Only issue is the 2.8 V6 used in them was gutless, but that is because it was designed for the Citation/Cavalier models and not for the S-10.

    Like 7
    • OtterdogMember

      My S-10 was not a great truck, but I’m glad you enjoyed yours. Mine suffered from too many trips to the shop for odd things, from rusted out gas tank to steering issues to never-ending brake problems (brakes never did feel right on that unit). This truck saw light duty and was always garaged, and i don’t remember ever driving it in snow (we didn’t salt roads here, anyway). Fit and finish was poor, and it was a slug. Glad to have sold it after 5 years. Bought a Colorado the first year it came out, which was a much better truck all around.

      Like 4
  3. Al camino

    That’s what they did in the 80s with the 305,they put car motors in pick ups then when you put plywood or dry wall in them you have no power then put the air on ahahaha!

    Like 5
  4. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    I like this truck….. 2.8 V6 and all. I remember when I had my 90 Isuzu Trooper. I had the 2.6 4 cylinder, i knew a guy who had one with the 2.8 GM V6, I think it only had maybe 5 hp more, it wasnt very noticable. The 2.8 was slow with an automatic, but Im sure the 5 speed definitely helped. This is in remarkably preserved condition, must have been garage kept. The tailgate may be a bit lighter shade than the rest of the truck but maybe its a trick of the lighting. Also isnt the glove box door supposed to be the same color as the dash?

    Like 10
  5. CCFisher

    Having owned a 1988 S-10 Blazer with this drivetrain, I can say that an automatic transmission would be a better choice. Yes, the automatic transmission in these tends to hunt-and-peck between gears all day, but with the manual, it’s you doing the hunting and pecking. There just isn’t enough torque on tap to make driving a pleasant experience with the 5-speed.

    In my view, this is a lightly-equipped truck. Rubber floors, no power windows or locks, no tilt wheel, no aluminum wheels, painted bumpers, etc. There are many options this one lacks.

    @Rw – the 4.3 wasn’t available until mid-1988. My dad bought one of the first S-10s to hit the ground with the 4.3. It was his first brand-new vehicle – an ’88 S-10 Tahoe 2wd with the 4.3 and positraction. It was a fun little truck.

    Like 8
    • Rw

      I’m old can’t remember everything any more 👍

      Like 2
      • CCFisher

        Only reason I remember is because of Dad’s S-10. He loved that little truck. It wasn’t the quickest thing around, but soon after he got it, there were twin black streaks at every stop sign in town.

        Like 4
  6. Matt

    Most truck motors at this time were just car motors with truck gears. The 2.8 was pretty bulletproof, as my sisters 85 Camaro Sport proved. 130k miles of nothing but abuse with only an injector cleaning. Same color as this S-10 because Dad wanted the Camaro to match the color of our house if it sat outside. These days with a newer F150,having sold a 2015 Colorado w a myriad of issues and sensors, i dream of a truck this simple to own again

    Like 3
  7. Thomas Smithey

    I miss my 88. Towed many a Corvair home with it 2.8 5 speed. Also towed the Coleman Camper to Hershey from NC annually for a lot of years until I finally gave in to the desire for a new Silverado…great little truck. Only had to drop out of 5th gear on I-64 long grade on Afton Mountain.

    Like 4
  8. Troy

    Nice little truck I wish the Big 3 still built the little rigs the only problem I see with this is access to parts if you do have a breakdown it seems that is what is killing off older cars and trucks if you can find the part you’re going to pay a lot to get it.

    Like 3
  9. Bradley DeHaven

    My first new vehicle was an ’85 S10 that I bought just across the Michigan state line, but it was a “vanilla” truck, as my Dad used to call them. No AC, no radio, manual steering and brakes, plastic everything inside. No dashboard ductwork, meaning no ventilation at all, except the heater. 4 speed stick with a 2.5L inline 4… not much flash, but it got me where I needed to be. Kept it until I moved to deep south Texas. Gotta have AC in south Texas!

    Like 2
  10. Nelson C

    By ’88 the 4.3 V6 would solve the giddyap issue. This truck with a 2.8 60° V6 would be perfectly adequate for most driving. If IIRC the 2.5 litre may still have been available as the base engine in the 4wd. The standard cab with a bench seat has just enough room for my 6’5″ frame since the seat tucked into the back of the cab.

    Like 3
  11. MKG

    Replace the head gaskets right now!. That was the main fault with these engines. If I remember correctly it is the drivers side directly under the EGR Valve where it fails. Dumps coolant directly into the sump.

    Like 3

    fine job, scotty…&, that delightful 5-speed, iz izusu…pulled 18 goosenek w/my 2.8/5…never any troubles…

    Like 3
  13. Matthew Dyer

    Big fan of the S10 platform.
    I’m on my 3rd and oldest one.

    Like 3
  14. Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

    Listing update: this one is headed to a lucky buyer, the seller has pulled the listing.

    Like 2
  15. Glenn Schwass

    My 85′ S-10 was my first new vehicle. It was ok but started shutting off when it was over 90° outside. I took it back to the dealer and they “couldn’t make it do it”. The 2.8 was underppowered at 112 hp and the tranny was getting noisy. I replaced it with a more fun 4WD 89 1500 , 5.7 with a 5 spd. That was a total lemon that rode the flat bed a lot. At 5 k the front axle leaked, taking out a bearing that GM wouldn’t replace under warranty. They gladly would at 80k when I had the clutch replaced. Screw that drove it with the vibration. Spastic heater motors in the dash until 148k. Replaced the 5 spd at 133k when 5 gear was going. Sold to a friend and it hydrolocked at 150k. He put a crate motor in it
    Last Chevy I’ll buy unless it’s a 55-57 GMC, or Chevy. This one needs an SBC or LS but that would break the drivedrain in the first week…

    Like 0

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