What Is A 'Prerunner' And Why Is This Chevy S-10 10 Feet Wide?

(Screengrab via DuneTV1/YouTube)
(Screengrab via DuneTV1/YouTube)
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

If you made a napkin doodle of what your beater truck would look like as a dune-jumping hero, and then actually built said truck, you might be a redneck. I mean, an industrious and experimental engineer! Check this hilarious heap out and then we can discuss its actual merits.

YouTuber DuneTV1 spotted this Chevy’s maiden voyage on Michigan’s Silver Lake Sand Dunes. It looks like the result of some good friends having fun with fabrication equipment, and I commend their initiative. Those orangutan control arms look a little vulnerable but at least the truck probably won’t roll over in a hard turn?

The guy briefly interviewed in the video describes the build as “prerunner.” A prerunner’s called a prerunner because their general mission designation is to drive through an off-road race course, before the race, denoting danger-spots and landmarks on the map to be referenced in the actual race. In Baja this tradition also involves a lot of cheap beer and tacos.


The ideal prerunner truck can go pretty fast over rough terrain, reliably, and be street legal/comfortable enough to drive the hard way from LA to Cabo San Lucas without everybody inside getting PTSD.

“So why are they always so wide and tall in the front but not the back,” you ask?

The track-width disparity generally isn’t that dramatic on properly built prerunners. However, in concept the front wheels have to get pushed out to make room for longer control arms cradling longer shock absorbers, which give a truck more travel which help it get over bumps faster.

Doing this “correctly” involves wheels with a lot of backspacing, hydraulic bump stops to dampen bottom-outs, and upgrades to the steering system. You’ll need to make changes to the CV axles too if the truck’s 4WD.


If you’re doing a “total” build the next step would be to upgrade the rear, which can be as complicated as redesigning the suspension geometry (leaf springs have trouble hanging in desert racing) and installing a wider rear axle.

But the first place to spend your money is on the front suspension, which bears most of the weight. Hence when you’re halfway or part-way into a “prerunner build” you might end up with a truck that looks like a dog cleaning its butt on the carpet.


This S-10 just looks like, I don’t even know. A spider mixed with some farm equipment? Whatever, I’m not trying to hate on these desert enthusiasts having fun responsibly. May they come up with something awesome in their fabrication experiments.

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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What Is A ‘Prerunner’ And Why Is This Chevy S-10 10 Feet Wide?

Because, if it were nine feet wide, it’d be an S-9.