News Culture

1992 Oldsmobile Bravada Desert Runner Is One Sick S-10

"Coolest Bravada" may be a low bar, but this build is the real deal with a 6.0-liter V8 and a ton of custom fab work.
Daniel Peterson

Plenty of people are modifying modern SUVs and pickups into off-road monsters. Heck, the Ford F-150 Raptor and the Ram 1500 TRX are sold to jump dunes from the factory. It’s less common to see unloved cars get modified into high-speed desert runners, though. Did somebody say 1992 Oldsmobile Bravada? Someone in the back?

Daniel Peterson is a self-described Chevy S-10 enthusiast. He’s been into the platform for more than 15 years, and although he has never built up an Oldsmobile Bravada, which shares its chassis with the S-10, of course, he jumped at the opportunity when one popped up for sale a few years ago. “I really like the square body four-door style and the Bravada has an awesome grill, nice interior, and body kit that I think makes it one of the best-looking [S-10s] to ever be produced,” he told me. Of course it all started as a side project, but it’s transformed into something totally unique.

The 4.3-liter V6 that originally came with the truck was promptly blown up, then came a 5.3-liter small-block Chevy, which was followed shortly thereafter by a 6.0-liter LQ9 truck motor. With new heads, a cam, and other speed parts, the latest engine in the Bravada makes somewhere around 500 horsepower. Plenty for an Oldsmobile.

Vital modifications to complete the setup happened outside of the engine bay. Peterson “cut the entire floor out and the top off [the Bravada] to weld in a full cage and link the rear,” he said. the front end was also addressed, but it still needs work as the mild setup he fabbed up first “only lasted 15 miles before it broke.” That’s where the build is at now. “I had already had a new front suspension in the works so at that point I cut the whole front half of the frame off and have been working on it since,” he adds.

Peterson is, let’s say, skillful with how he presents the truck online. His Instagram is full of clips of the truck conquering the desert, often overdubbed with music or narration that captures the mood perfectly. I don’t think anyone at Oldsmobile ever expected to see a Bravada like this.

For some extra flair, Peterson retained the car’s original digital dashboard. It’s the little things that matter. Credit to RaceDezert for the photos below.

As soon as it’s back on four wheels, Peterson will be back in the desert with it. When that day comes, this Oldsmobile will truly be baddest Bravada of all time.

Got a tip? Send it in to tips@thedrive.com