When the Chevy S-10 Xtreme was launched in 1999, it had all the attitude necessary for a performance street truck in the way of cosmetics. It even had the very impressive ZQ8 handling package. But the one thing that it lacked was power. The available 4.3L Vortec V6 was a decent engine, made good power, and was reliable in every sense of the word. It just wasn’t fast. Oh, and then there was also the base 2.2L 4-banger…forget about it.
When the Xtreme was originally conceived under the authority of hot rodder/engineer John Moss’s supervision, it was designed to use LS1 power. Unfortunately like most GM prototypes from that era, the most important ingredient was cut, and what we were left with was an image truck that only appealed to the mini truck set.
However, we’re now living in the age of the LS swap. Although swapping a V8 into an S-10 has been popular since the 1980’s, we feel that by doing a swap in a late-model Xtreme, you’re doing both the truck and yourself a solid.
We just ran across this recently uploaded video on YouTube of one drag racer who did just that. Now packing a 408ci LSX stroker and a 91mm turbo, this compact pickup now runs the quarter-mile in 9.55 at 152 mph. Not too shabby, and quite a lot quicker than the 15- or 16-second machine that it used to be.
If only GM had given us the LS1 Xtreme truck in the first place, they probably would have sold a lot more to enthusiasts all over the country. But since they didn’t, gearheads can now pick up (pun intended) these trucks for a song, and build them anyway they like!