We are going to turn this California work truck into the ultimate mini-truck performance machine, and the stock 2.8L V6 powerplant just ain’t going to cut it. So the real question is what engine should we swap in? Junkyard rescue 5.3 LS? 400 cubic inch Small Block Chevy? How about a K series Honda? That’s for you to decide! That’s right, we want you to vote on which engine you would like to see swapped into this ex-California work truck turned mini-truck performance build. Cast your vote today for your favorite engine combination! Don’t hesitate, every voter gets an exclusive promo code in their inbox after voting.
Update: The winning engine combination has been selected! We will be moving forward with rebuilding and swapping in a 5.3L LS engine from one of our local junkyards. Thank you to everyone who casted a vote! Stay tuned to our Instagram and Facebook pages for more on this project as it progresses!
Engine Build Options
5.3 LS Junkyard build – Grab a 5.3 from the pile at our local junkyard. Tear it down, clean it up, make some modern power with fresh internals and some EFI. This would be a fun setup in every case!
400 cubic inch SBC “old school”- Dart SHP 400 block built from the ground up featuring all performance products from industry leading companies. Carbureted and a big cam for some old-school fun!
K Series Honda- Honda engine in a GMC mini-truck? There’s no doubt the K Series Honda platform packs a big punch in a small package. A K Series swap turning 8,000+ RPM would turn some heads for sure!
4.3L V6 GM LV3 “Ecotec3”- These new style Ecotec engines are no joke. GM Aluminum Heads and Block paired up with some internal upgrades would make this light-weight package the perfect fit in our light-weight truck!
6.2 LS build- Why not take the 5.3 Junkyard build and take it up another notch? There’s nothing quite like a built LS3 to wake the neighbors up in the morning with!
Follow us on social media to see the winner announced on November 15th!
SoCal S-15 Turned Ohio Performance Mini Truck
California, known for its stunning landscapes and bustling city life, is also known in the car community as the treasure island for anyone searching for classic and vintage rides in excellent condition. That’s precisely where Wiseco Automotive Sales Supervisor Vic Ellinger, and Wiseco Automotive Technical Sales Associate Mike Reid, found themselves looking when they stumbled upon this all original 1982 GMC S-15 boasting 145,000 miles.
For the past 40 years, this S-15 has served faithfully as a one family owned work truck. Floating up and down the road, making countless grocery runs, this old pickup truck has seen its share of miles. Despite the age and mileage on the truck, its eye-catching yellow paint and iconic early 80s body remains remarkably clean. Though not without a few small scratches, and a whiskey dent or two, but hey it is a 40 year old work truck after all. After exchanging details and information with the seller, Vic and Mike decided they had to have it, quickly deciding to make this their next project truck.
Upon getting the truck to its new home in Ohio, the only major mechanical issue needed addressed. The original 1982 transmission had certainly seen better days and was officially down for the count. Luckily a local salvage yard just up the road from their shop had a replacement on hand. A few hundred bucks, a busted knuckle, and an adult beverage or two later, the California work truck was cruising the streets of downtown Cleveland.
So, now raises the question of what comes next? It runs and drives good enough for a 40 year old truck. The paint has been brought back to life after a few hours of buffing and polishing. The interior has been pulled, power washed, and is ready to go back in. Surely that’s not the end of the road for this project, right? Of course not!
We’re gearing up to transform this California work truck into a high-performance mini truck machine. Lowered stance, big wheels, and a custom exhaust? We’re not quite sure where Vic and Mike are going to take this project by the time everything said and done. One thing we know for sure, it’s going to have one bad unit under the hood chosen by you. Vote today for your favorite powerplant and stay tuned for the next update when we announce the winner!