Rusty Rooster | Low, Mean, and Clean

The General Motors plant in Arlington, Texas, began producing Chevy trucks in 1954. It was the company’s first ever climate-controlled automobile factory. In 1972, a sapphire blue Super Cheyenne step side rolled out of the door on its way to a local dealership. It was purchased by an area farmer and performed farmstead duties for many years.

A few decades later, Charles at Buster Automotive in Forney, Texas, came across this weathered and worn C10. He added it to his collection of potential projects in the back lot of his towing company where it sat quietly collecting dust.

In 2014, Shane Carney began the search for a classic truck to restore with his son Gage. At the age of 10, Gage showed an interest in getting his hands dirty in dad’s shop rather than playing video games. So, Shane worked out a deal with Charles and brought the neglected pickup home to begin the rebuild process. Initially, the father-and-son team focused on making the truck reliable. As farmers are prone to do, function took precedence over aesthetics. Repairs made along the way included extension cords used for wiring issues.

Days turned to months, but the two made it road worthy. Sadly, the original 350 was ready for retirement. After 40 years, the trusty V-8 dropped a rod, so a mildly built 383 was put in its place. The fresh motor improved reliability, but the vintage exterior was in desperate need of some attention.


Shane reached out to his old friend Kevin York at Kreative Colors over in Seagoville, Texas. Kevin and the KC crew removed all the dents and dings that had accumulated from years of rural driving. With the body smooth as glass, a quantity of vintage sapphire blue paint was located. Despite assurances from the supplier, the clear failed to adhere properly. The contemporary topcoat was not compatible with the older base color.

While discussing the issues with the paint rep, a new plan was formulated. They decided to sand away the failed clear and create a faux patina look. Utilizing the blue sapphire as a base, fresh layers of black, dark brown, and rust brown were laid down. These were topped with sea foam green, and then sanded through to recreate the weathered and worn look.

To complete the exterior motif, “Rusty Rooster” was hand lettered on the glovebox door. It made a debut appearance in 2017 at the Lone Star Throwdown show. The overwhelming attention it received motivated Shane and Gage to seek a higher level of detail. They decided the traditional small-block should be replaced with a contemporary fuel-injected motor.

A bit of bad luck for Shane’s brother-in-law turned into good fortune for the Rusty Rooster. He had recently wrecked a 2004 Silverado that was offered up for a powertrain transplant. The donor was picked clean of its under-hood contents and sent to Carter Automotive in Mesquite, Texas.

James Carter rebuilt the 5.3 with Brian Tooley Racing internals replacing most of the original components. A set of BTR pistons bumped the compression up to 9.5. The Brian Tooley stage-four cam combined with LS6 heads allows the LM7 to gulp in plenty of fresh air. He completed the package with a 2.5-inch exhaust system that exits through Flowmaster 40s.


Creating additional power requires modifications to the rest of the drivetrain to ensure reliability. The 4L60E transmission received a performance build by Mike Cole. It was topped off with a TCI Street Fighter convertor that stalls at 3,000 rpm. Stan Hopkins Company in Dallas was called on to rebuild the GM 12 bolt. Stan installed a set of 3.42 gears on a limited slip carrier to spin a pair of 5-lug axles.


Shane and Gage provided the elbow grease to clean and prep the frame for its next round of updates. Zack Watson was sourced to improve the truck’s stance. He installed a complete Ridetech air suspension system. An old chicken crate was repurposed to enclose the Ridetech tank and compressor stored in the bed.

With the Rusty Rooster close to being fully functional, a final push was made to accomplish one more goal.  It was to be the center of  attention at a charity car show.  

With the truck’s ability to accelerate greatly improved, Shane realized an update to the braking system would be necessary as well. A call was made to Classic Performance Products for a set of 13-inch rotors and HD calipers. A CPP master cylinder and booster put the squeeze on the bigger binders. Stance and stopping were checked off the list, so it was time for fresh rollers. A set of MHT Ramblers were provided by Howard Carlin of US Mags. They chose the U117 version that’s polished with black accents. Kenny Stacey at Forney Tire wrapped the 20-inch wheels with 245/75 Nexan tires.

Inside the cab, a worn-out bench seat and rusty gas tank were removed during the color conversion. Chase Tucker at Slick Stitch in Sunnyvale, Texas, installed a split bench seat in the vacant space. He wrapped it in black leather stitched with red thread for contrast.

A Kenwood receiver sends its signal to a 1,000-watt four-channel amp. The amplified sound is enjoyed through a full array of Kenwood speakers placed throughout the cab. Inside temperature is controlled by a Vintage Air system. Under-hood vitals are monitored via an Intellitronix digital gauge cluster visible through a Forever Sharp steering wheel.


With the Rusty Rooster close to being fully functional, a final push was made to accomplish one more goal. It was to be the center of attention at a charity car show. In October of 2018, Shane was diagnosed with cancer. His friends scheduled a benefit show-and-shine to give him encouragement.

The event drew a large crowd of supporters from near and far. The pair’s struggle along the way were well known by many. Shane was asked what the easiest part of the build was. He replied, “Nothing was easy! I had a lot of great people step in and help see this dream become a reality. Nothing worth having comes easy, but support from family and friends can make it possible.”

Build Specs


Shane Carney
1972 Chevrolet C10 Stepside


CPP disc brakes
CPP shocks
Custom C-notch
Ridetech air suspension
Suspension done with help from Zack Watson


20-inch US MAG Ramblers wrapped with Nexan 245/20/75 tires


LMC grille and bumpers
7-inch LED headlights
Four stages of color and sanding, and then clear for a uniform patina look
Painted by Kevin at Kreative Colors


2004 Chevy 5.3L V-8 with 4l60e
TCI street fighter torque converter
LS6 heads
BTR stage-four cam
Black Horse headers
Flowmaster exhaust by Carter Automotive
Engine build/swap by Zack Watson


Custom interior by Chase Tucker
Custom seat; black leather with red stitching
Intelltronix custom gauges
Forever Sharp steering wheel
Alpine stereo system