Devin, left, and Nick Paul pose with their modified 1994 Chevy S-10 pickup truck. Their work on the truck has won the 19-year-olds the Autorama Next Gen Modifiers award.

Devin, left, and Nick Paul pose with their modified 1994 Chevy S-10 pickup truck. Their work on the truck has won the 19-year-olds the Autorama Next Gen Modifiers award.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

Clinton Township teens build track-ready truck

Autorama runs at Huntington Place in Detroit from March 1-3

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published February 15, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — In a sea of 1960s muscle and experienced builders, it takes a lot to stand out from the Autorama crowd. Two young builders from Clinton Township managed to break the show’s mold.

Devin and Nick Paul are bringing their modified 1994 Chevy S-10 pickup truck to the show which has won the two 19-year-olds the show’s Next Gen Modifiers award. The award honors car builders between the ages of 16 and 26.

“It’s really rewarding and an honor just knowing that all our hard work got known,” Devin said. “Sometimes you’ve got those nights with setbacks that push you back and get discouraging, but just knowing we got into Next Gen Modifiers and won was humbling.”

The idea to build an S-10 came from browsing around on YouTube one night. Nick was familiar with trucks after already having an SUV and was already interested in an S-10 since its weight and size makes the trucks well situated for racing. After searching around for trucks on Facebook, one of the YouTubers they follow was selling his truck.

“He was posting videos about his S-10 project and sure enough it was the same S-10 I was looking at on (Facebook) Marketplace,” Nick said. “I ended up meeting him at Autorama two years ago, started talking about it and ended up purchasing it off him about a month later, after that.”

Whatever the YouTuber had started with the truck, the brothers — along with help from their father, Shawn, and a friend of his — have undone and built up their own way. The truck bed has been replaced with the lift gate removed and an original S-10 front end has been installed, along with new wheels, a new hood and a matte black paint job.

But where things really pop is what is under the hood: a General Motors LS-based small-block V8. Devin estimates the engine can make about 500 horsepower, though the brothers have scaled their engine to take E85 fuel from the gas pump.

“I’ve never run a small-block Chevy on E85, but I’ve always heard good things about it,” Devin said. “I wanted to try something a little bit different, a little bit ‘new school’ yet still ‘old school’ with the carburetor and all that. I’m hoping to get it on a dyno soon but there should be 500 horsepower in that little truck.”

It may be hard to imagine the brothers trying to sort out who gets to drive the truck around, but Nick says there’s no conflict about it.

“Usually if we go to a car show, whoever drove there, the other brother gets to drive it back,” Nick said. “That’s how we usually do it, or rock-paper-scissors. We never fight over driving it.”

Devin and Nick’s history with cars goes back to their father. Shawn runs a custom interior shop in Clinton Township while also working with Devin and Nick on various projects including the S-10 and snowmobiles modified for asphalt drag racing.

“They’ve helped me since I opened the shop, working on pretty much every make and model of car,” Shawn said. “It’s been great being able to do it as a family together and once they got their own license, to be able to do their own stuff.”

Shawn has a hard time imagining Nick and Devin putting their wrenches down anytime soon.

“These two really (are) just nonstop, really into vehicles,” Shawn said. “They’re already looking at this being their own business. I foresee them just continuing in the trade field of car interiors, hot rod interiors (and) custom seating. I’m starting to learn from them. They’re amazing.”

While the brothers may have a shop of their own in the far future, right now they have a truck to work on and enjoy.

“Right now, I mainly just want a cruiser with a big motor in it,” Devin said. “Drive it to Woodward, drive it to different car shows and all that. I eventually want to race it, but right now I don’t have time to race it. I take it to the track every once in a while, but right now it’s just a fun street car to drive around to the shows.”

Autorama runs at Huntington Place in Detroit from March 1-3.