KC MATHIEU TAKES CENTER STAGE
If you truly believe in yourself, there will likely come a time when you have to take some risks. Sometimes you have to reach for the stars and not let anyone stand in your way. Just ask KC Mathieu. About a year ago, he took the plunge and quit his gig at Gas Monkey Garage (GMG) so that he could stand out on his own.
You might have seen him paint any one of the numerous project vehicles on Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud,” but he started painting long before he was on the tube. His father, who had his own paint shop, was a heavy influence on KC, and his pops taught him all the tricks of the trade. By the time KC was 12, he had already knocked out his first full paint job and knew that he wanted to paint vehicles for a living.
KC was a reliable hand at his dad’s shop, but something started to bug him as his experience level increased. Though he was painting full-time, it was only for collision repairs, not custom work. He took a lot of pride in his abilities and wanted to work on vehicles that would get noticed, not buried in a sea of other cars on the road. So he quit working for his dad and took on more custom work.
While working for other shops, KC constructed a paint booth at home, where he would take side jobs for extra cash. While working to make a name for himself, KC got his big break when he helped kick off Gas Monkey Garage and the accompanying TV show. KC had a lot of fun taking in rides at GMG and having the freedom to be creative. The best part was that all of his adventures were showcased on national television. Unfortunately, after a while the show and shop dynamics changed and the work became less fun.
Meanwhile, his side jobs started to back up and he began to wonder if he could make a living on his own. He took another big risk and quit GMG and started working for himself. Though KC’s Paintshop has been around for quite a few years, things ramped up once he was able to devote himself completely to his own business, and he has even opened up a speed shop, too.
The shops were chugging along pretty well, but KC felt that he needed to do something to generate buzz. In the past, he’d had good luck building and promoting his ’68 Ford F-100, a truck he holds close to his heart. Though he loves Ford trucks, he also likes squarebody C-10s, and since he’d never built one before, he was itching to get his hands on one. His timing couldn’t have been better, with just seven months to go before the SEMA Show, he’d have plenty of time to finish the build and use it to garner some attention for his businesses.
To get started, KC purchased an ’86 Chevy and had Digital C10 make a rendering. The truck was super clean and a great foundation for a project. The original plan was not only to do an engine swap, but also to airbag it to lay frame. KC planned to paint the truck black with candy stripes to pay homage to classic ’80’s graphics. However, you can see that things didn’t go quite
First, KC ordered a Mast Motorsports LS7 and topped it off with an SLP supercharger to put out 900 hp. This is all backed up with a Jake’s Performance 4L80E transmission and Currie 9-inch to hold down all of that power. Midway through, things started to stray from the original plan. He was unable to get the airbag-style suspension in time; so, in a mad crunch during the summer of 2015, KC hit up Scott’s Hotrods ‘N Customs for a complete bolt-in independent front suspension to get the truck to sit right and handle like a modern vehicle. He also added a Scott’s Hotrods rear 4-link and Ride Tech coil-overs on all four corners.
Because work on the C-10 stalled a bit while he waited for parts, KC realized that he wouldn’t be able to align the body panels and correct gaps in order to lay down striped graphics. Instead, he decided to go with a super clean, original 1986 dark blue paint job for the sake of getting the truck to the show in time. To mix things up, all of the chrome pieces, like the bumpers and trim, were painted silver with a matte finish. Rounding out the exterior is a set of Budnik Knife wheels.
To finish the truck, Compton Custom Interiors redesigned the inside of the cab and covered all of the panels in blue Relicate custom leather.
After a few months of general work and a few struggles, KC made it to SEMA and rolled the truck right into the SLP Performance booth. A year has passed since he left GMG, but KC has no regrets and is happy to have more time for himself and his family. As for what he has up his sleeve for his next big build, he admits that he will have to appease Ford fans with another F-100. We’re sure it’ll be great and that he’ll return to C-10s one day soon, since he did such an awesome job with