I own a stock 1983 S-10 that has 97,000 miles and it is a very good truck. I even went mud riding and did not even get stuck. This truck with has a 2.o engine and is a standard 4 speed.
I have an 82 s-10 with the 2.87 and it is a piece!!! the head light is messed up, it stalls out in gear even after a tune up, then it started to knock and finally blew after only 105,00 miles, meanwhile on my 91 with the 4.3 I have 205,000 miles and still not a problem yet!!, got to love that 2.hate
I have a 1982 S-10 that I just bought for $700, and it has similar stalling problems and also an identical headlight problem. But for the price you can't beat that for a truck that starts without a problem in 0 degree weather.
One of the seals leaked until I added the gunk to the crankshaft, then that stopped. As for the stalling problem, I read somewhere that the resistance of the ignition switch needs to be checked, instead of forking out hundreds for a worthless mechanic to tell you otherwise.
I just bought a 1983 S10 extended cab for $1,600. It is tan. It has a JASPER motor and transmission, and new tires. It is a great little truck. Almost perfect for me. I use it for getting to that perfect hunting/fishing spot, and also to get to football practice.
On or off road, it will take whatever you throw at it. It handles very nicely and has plenty of legroom. Honestly I wouldn't want anything else. I am thinking of putting rims on it.
Acceleration isn't that of a sports car, but it will get up and go if you want it to.
This is a good first truck. I believe it is, because it is my first truck.