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Photos by Brandon Burrell/Burrell Images

There’s a lot to be said for going wild with a custom build and making sure that people take notice. But then there’s the other side of the “wild” card, where subtlety takes the place of “in-your-face.” Now, granted, a bodydropped S-10 isn’t the most subtle thing in the world, but compared to a truck with bright tribal graphics and 30-inch wheels, well, you get the picture. Oh, there are tons of mods besides the bodydrop on this 2000 Chevy S-10, but they’re the type that make you study the truck carefully, which are honestly our favorite kind. And, apparently, that’s Brian Conrad’s favorite kind, too. 

The custom enclosure behind the seats holds the Memphis Audio equipment.

This truck has been a long journey for Brian, taking over 14 years to complete. But when you consider that Brian is an automotive painter by trade, it’s easy to understand how the S-10 was continuously put on the back burner over the years. Similar to that saying about the cobbler’s children not having any shoes, automotive painters tend to not have painted rides due to all the time they spend on customer vehicles.

Of course, life threw other obstacles into the mix over the years as well.

“Over the years I slowly lost my mother due to her heart, and she was the one who always had faith in me reaching a dream like this,” Brian says. “I married my wonderful wife, we bought our first home, and had two beautiful children together, Mila and Drayke.”

Aside from losing his mother, life was generally positive, but it was also busy!

Time to Get to Work

Well, Brian wanted to finally take the time to finish the truck over the past couple of years, so he buckled down and got to work. But that didn’t mean rushing things just to get them done. Instead, he kept the “quality” dial pegged at 11 to match the rest of the work he had already accomplished.

I wanted to show my abilities and to test them as well, apparently. I really just wanted a simple, clean, classy truck from top to bottom, inside and out 

The chassis was meticulously painted and detailed after the bodydrop and air-ride mods were done by Matt Gyles at Haggard Fab, which is insane considering that only the step notch, rear airbag setup, and axle are visible in the bed, which is also extensively modded. Aside from the frenched De Ville taillights, there’s also the sheetmetal bed floor, one-off CNC-machined bed floor strips, molded Cali combo tailgate/roll pan, and stamped ’54 Chevy pickup tailgate panel at the front of the bed. Oh, there’s even more going on with the bed, but you’ll have to check out the pics and the Tech Specs, because we’re running out of room to type it all out!

So why would Brian go through all of the trouble to modify parts of the truck that would never be seen?

“I wanted to show my abilities and to test them as well, apparently,” he says. “I really just wanted a simple, clean, classy truck from top to bottom, inside and out.”

He has obviously accomplished that in spades, and we can’t think of any better color to show off his skills than the House of Kolor Apple Red Kandy he chose to adorn the silky smooth body panels.

You may have noticed that Brian’s S-10 also wears an Xtreme model grille and valance, and that’s because this truck is, in fact, an Xtreme model, minus most of the body kit! He carefully created the low-profile valance by grafting together the Xtreme unit with a normal S-10 valance, and he went even further by extending the factory Xtreme fender flares to meet the bottoms of the fenders and bedsides! Who does something crazy like that? Uh, Brian, that’s who.

Understated Interior

He also kept things understated with the interior, opting to paint the interior panels black instead of red, and swapping the original dash for one from a 2003 Blazer. The seats were also changed out for 2004 Cavalier buckets, which were upholstered with faux leather and suede by Brad Wurzbacher at Stitcht Interiors. A few strategic pieces of billet here and there, a Billet Specialties GTX-01 steering wheel, and a Pioneer head unit with Memphis Audio amp and speakers finish off the main list of custom additions.

We have to say, we think most people would have given up and sold off their projects after such a long time, but Brian’s determination to see his S-10 reach the finish line is admirable and inspiring.

“Life can really test you at times,” he says. “Overcoming some of those obstacles was tough when it kept my main focus away from the truck.”

It also gave him another set of moneymaking skills, as this was the first vehicle that Brian had ever built from bare frame to finished and driving.

So the next time you walk into the garage and stare at that pile of parts that’s been collecting dust, think of Brian, give yourself some grace, and get back to work!

The factory 4.3L was heavily modified to give it a clean appearance.



  • Brian Conrad
  • 2000 Chevy S-10

Chassis & Suspension

  • Center section of frame replaced for stock floor bodydrop
  • Front frame clip Z’d
  • Reshaped upper control arm mount
  • 3×3-inch frame rails
  • Boxed and notched back half
  • Custom rear frame bridge for air-ride mounts
  • Tubular upper and lower control arms
  • Lowrider Depot triangulated 4-link
  • Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags front and rear
  • KYB color-matched rear shocks
  • Viair 480C air compressors
  • 5-gallon air tank
  • 3/8-inch air valves and air lines
  • Frame transitions smoothed to appear seamless
  • All stock frame sections shaved, smoothed, and metal-finished
  • Frame painted and clear-coated
  • Little Shop MFG. rear disc brake kit
  • PowerStop drilled and slotted rotors front and rear
  • Stock brake master cylinder with first-gen JM5 booster
  • All custom stainless steel hard and flex lines
  • Sectioned factory fuel tank

Wheels & Tires

  • 20×8.5 and 22×10 Raceline Charger wheels
  • 245/30/ZR20 & 285/25ZR22 Lexani LX-Twenty tires

Engine & Drivetrain

  • Chevy 4.3L V-6 engine, resealed and upgraded to MPFI
  • Black Bear Performance Inc. ECU tune
  • Energy Suspension engine mounts
  • Engine rewired and wires tucked/hidden
  • High volume oil pump
  • Edelbrock Elite valve covers
  • Billet reservoir caps
  • Billet Specialties thermostat housing
  • High torque starter
  • Lokar 12-inch dipstick
  • Modified intake plenum with stainless steel hardware
  • MSD ignition and wires w/Blaster coil
  • Weiand aluminum water pump
  • Pacesetter headers
  • Flex-A-Lite dual 12-inch electric fans and shroud
  • Stainless steel radiator hoses
  • Modified K&N air intake
  • March Performance pulleys (mid-mount)
  •  amp single-wire alternator
  • AC Delco power steering pump
  • Custom 2.5-inch exhaust, completely heat-wrapped
  • GM 4L60-E transmission
  • Energy Suspension transmission mount

Body & Paint

  • Painted House of Kolor Apple Red Kandy
  • Sectioned and customized S-10 Xtreme front valance
  • Lengthened S-10 Xtreme fender flares
  • Floor channeled 3/8 inch for frame clearance
  • Sheetmetal transmission and driveshaft tunnel
  • Tubbed and shaved firewall
  • Shaved washer nozzles, wiper cowl, antenna, door handles, taillights, fuel door, and Xtreme side skirts
  • Matt Hotch pop-up fuel filler on bedrail
  • Cali combo tailgate/roll pan skin molded to bed
  • Sheetmetal inner bed panels and floor w/1954 Chevy pickup tailgate section at front
  • CNC-machined billet bed floor strips

Interior & Stereo

  • Billet Specialties GTX-01 steering wheel
  • US Speedo stainless steel gauge face overlay
  • 2004 Chevy Cavalier bucket seats, reupholstered with faux leather and suede
  • 2003 Chevy Blazer dashboard
  • Door panels upholstered with faux leather and suede
  • ACC carpet kit, heated and reshaped due to floor modifications
  • All interior lights converted to red or white LEDs
  • GMC Envoy interior door handles
  • Billet third door handle
  • Battery relocated to third seat compartment with remote posts on firewall
  • Optima Red Top battery
  • Sniper FabWorks stainless steel battery box
  • All interior plastic painted black and clear-coated with Alsa Soft Fee
  • Billet Specialties shifter
  • Billet Specialties passenger grab bar
  • Billet and acrylic dash grab bar
  • Billet dash defrost vents
  • Perforated stainless steel dash vent inserts
  • 1955 Chevy dash script on passenger side dash
  • Seatbelts re-webbed with black belts
  • Sound deadening throughout cab
  • RetroSound hideaway antenna
  • Boom Mat speaker baffles in dash and doors
  • Pioneer AVH-2330NEX 7-inch head unit w/CarPlay
  • Memphis Audio 4×6-inch and 6.5-inch M-Class speakers
  • Memphis Audio M3 12” subwoofer
  • Memphis Audio 16-MCD1000 amplifier
  • Memphis Audio speaker grilles grafted into door panels