Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
Seriously, this 1987 Chevrolet S-10 pickup is one tough truck. It says so right there on the side:
Sure, the spelling might be off, but that's how you know it's real.
Alright, so I'm joking about the decals, but really, these first-generation Chevrolet S-10 pickups are tough old birds. They've lasted a long while, and are clearly proving their utility, much moreso than you'll find with a lot of other cars that are 26 years old.
A lot of that toughness comes from their simplicity. In 1987, the Chevy S-10 came with a 2.8L V6 putting out only 125 horses, but that wasn't terrible considering how small it is relative to today's trucks, and the fact that it weigh around only 3000 pounds. Which is a lot, if you're a person, but really not that much if you're a pickup truck made mostly out of old Detroit iron.
One of the best parts about 1980s small pickup style is that what we would now consider gaudy and silly decals were back then considered "cool," or "radical," or "gnarly," or whatever else people in the 1980s said ("that's so Reagan"). The Volkswagen Rabbit we saw a few weeks back, parked in nearly the exact same location in Manhattan's NoLIta district, had "SPORTRUCK" written in enormous letters on the side. This one's got "TUFF TRUK," and a bunch of fading lines.
Because it looks damn good, that's why. And don't you forget it.
Nowadays if you want something with half as much style, half as much flair, you'll need to get something like a 1997 Toyota pickup and you'll have to hand paint "MUSSLETRUX" or something on the side, because your signage needs to imply how awesome your truck is, while also being misspelled, for some reason. And then you'll have to let it bake until the sun cracks it all.
And that's why these old trucks are a treasure. They represent everything that was great about an era of pickup design. They were compact, light, and incredibly useful. But at the same time, they told you just how much attitude they and their owners had.
Even if they couldn't spell.