LS Powered 1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne named Low Lion

Low and Loud, Just the Way He Likes It

Matt Criswell of Lyman, South Carolina, has been around custom vehicles for as long as he can remember.

“I’ve always been into anything automotive,” Matt says. “When I was younger, it was Hot Wheels, die casts, Legos. Basically, anything with wheels. As I got older, my toys just got bigger. My grandfather restored classic cars–mostly Packards, Hudsons, and Chrysler Airflows.”

Matt owned a custom Chevy S10 back in the day when he met his wife, Missy.

“I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, about an hour outside of Pittsburgh,” he continues. “Due to the snowy winters, everyone had 4×4 trucks, so naturally, I wanted a K10 when I turned 16. However, I came across this 2WD extended cab ’89 S10 and I had to have it. I grabbed a Sport Truck magazine, since it seemed to focus on 2WD trucks more. Next thing you know, I’m ordering lowering parts, billet wheels, and a bumper cover. Bright purple paint and a serious sound system came next. Needless to say, my lowered 2WD truck stood out like a sore thumb in my high-school parking lot that was full of lifted 4x4s.”

Matt owned this S10 for quite some time.

“I ended up selling the S10 to fund our wedding,” he says. “The deal I made with the wife was I would buy another project someday.”

Well, this 1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne is it! Matt is the owner of the Carolina Truck Shop.

“Carolina Truck Shop started from the Upstate SC GM Truck Club,” he says. “A bunch of us had been inspired by what the C10 club was doing out west, and we wanted to create the same kind of club in South Carolina (before there were C10 clubs in every state). After a while people were asking Paul Arthur and I where to go for parts and where to go to have those parts installed. There wasn’t really a great local resource for parts, so we decided to open our own shop. The rest is history.”

Lucky for him, this made a great place to build his C10.


Starting with the chassis was the first move he made as soon as he got the C10. The frame was in good enough condition that he was able to use it for the modifications. He installed a bolt-in C-notch kit along with the McGaughy’s 2.5-inch drop spindles. As the saying goes, lower is always better! He also installed a PB Fab stage-one front suspension and stage-two suspension in the rear.

Since Matt planned on driving LowLion everywhere he could, he upgraded to a 1.25-inch front sway bar and PB Fab Trailing Arm crossmember. With the chassis modifications complete, he was ready to install the Air Lift 3P system. With the old suspension removed, he installed Dominator 2,600-pound ’bags in the front and rear, as well as KYB front and rear shocks. He and his crew ran the airlines and bolted up the Viair 444C compressors and 5-gallon tank. LowLion would now be skatin’ the streets just inches from the ground!


Next up was the exterior of LowLion. Matt installed a Key Parts Smoothie front bumper which would fit perfectly with the stock grille. He really wanted to take this build to the next level, so creating smooth body lines was top priority. He shaved the cab seams, cargo light, grille lights, rocker seams, and the bumpers. Tons of hours were spent making sure everything lined up perfectly so that the rest of the build would go as smoothly as possible. He rounded the door corners, smoothed all of the wheel arches, and then installed a cowl hood. The C10 would definitely give off an aggressive stance! He modified and then installed a set of 2010 Camaro side mirrors.

For Matt, it is all in the details.

“There are lots of little custom touches that C10 people may notice, but most miss those details altogether,” he says.

With an idea of how the frontend was going to look, he was able to flush-mount the windshield and smooth the window pillars. With the front in good shape, he moved on to the rear. They moved the bed forward and shaved the stake pockets. He added electric actuators for the tailgate and then shaved the tailgate handle, adding even more custom work to this C10. He installed Marquez Designs one piece taillights and Lokar electric billet door handles.

Matt then focused his attention on the truck bed. He installed Trex bed wood and was able to hide all the hardware. Finding the perfect set of wheels can be difficult, especially when every little detail matters. Matt wanted a staggered setup for the wheels and a little something deeper for the back. The custom HRBB 20x8s in the front and 22x10s in the rear fit perfectly when Matt hit the switches!

“When I was younger, it was Hot Wheels, die casts, Legos. Basically, anything with wheels.  As I got older, my toys just got bigger.”

Once all of the bodywork was finished, it was finally time for paint. He called up Timmy Morris and Mark Collins of Moonville, South Carolina, to bring his ideas to life. They prepped the truck for paint and off to the booth it went. The BMW Deep Sea Metallic paint shined as they rolled the truck out in the sunlight for the first time. Matt had also designed some graphics for the truck, so Timmy immediately got to work. He added silver Yenko-inspired stripes down the sides of the truck, creating the eye-catching logo at the back, “LowLion.” Matt wasn’t wasting any time, so with the paintwork knocked out, it was time to move on to the engine.


Knowing the sky’s the limit, Matt decided to do a full engine swap in the C10. With the engine hoist ready to lift the motor out, Matt was ready to install the 2005 Chevrolet 5.3L L59 V-8 under the hood. He had already shaved the firewall, so the truck was ready for the new motor. Matt had completed every bit of wiring necessary to make the swap happen.

The truck would, of course, receive a few goodies before being dropped into the belly of the beast. He installed a Brian Tooley Racing stage three truck cam, LS6 springs, and Speed Engineering headers. They lowered the engine down into the truck and bolted everything up. This step was much easier with the Speed Engineering motor-mount plates Matt had installed. Matt was then able to plan out and install the new Wicked Flow dual exhaust system, as well as install the CTS-V oil pan. Now that the truck would be putting down some serious power, Matt decided to upgrade the transmission. He installed a 2005 4l60e transmission with the help of a No Limit crossmember.

“As the saying goes, lower is always better!”

Once the transmission was in place, Matt installed a B&M transmission cooler at the front of the radiator. He upgraded the torque converter, as well as installed a Boyd Welding fuel tank. A 1-piece driveshaft made by Carolina Driveline was also installed, which finished off the drivetrain. Matt then installed a set of Prop Performance Revelator brakes in the front and rear and added a custom “LION” badge on the calipers.


Matt would be turning up the heat on the interior for the next part of the build. After removing all of the interior pieces, Matt was able to design everything the way he wanted. He wanted to keep the bench seat but add a little twist to it. He called up New Creations of Shelby, North Carolina, to handle the upholstery. They modified the stock bench seat and wrapped it in light-gray leather. The bench seat would now sit 2 inches lower and fit perfectly in the truck. Matt pulled up the original carpet and put down all-new dark-gray carpet in the cab.

With the seats removed, it gave Matt more room to work on the dash. The dash would be getting a complete overhaul. He shaved the ashtray and fabricated the dash in order to house the Pumpkin Double Din radio. At this point, he was also able to install Vintage Air for a much more comfortable driving experience! The leather would carry over to the headliner, dash pad, and the door panels. The panels provide some contrast against the Deep Sea Metallic paint. The stitching was carefully picked out so that it matched the rest of the truck.

“There’s nothing like cruising it on the highway at 80,  getting thumbs up from everyone I pass.”

Before mounting the panels, Matt was able to convert the manual windows over to power. With the door panels now installed, he added the billet handles for the final touch. After bolting the seat back up, he installed three-point seatbelts as well as a RIDF entry and alarm system. Matt wanted to update the instrumentation to give it a more modern touch, so he installed Dakota Digital VHX gauges and a push-button start. Matt then added a Forever Sharp Muscle steering wheel to wrap up the interior.


After six long years and lots of hard work and determination, the build was finally finished. Matt is extremely thankful for his supportive wife and for all of his club members in the Upstate SC GM Truck Club. When asked what his favorite part of the truck is, Matt didn’t have to think about it.

“My favorite part of LowLion is driving it,” he says. “When I’m in it, my stress disappears and I’m in my happy place. There’s nothing like cruising it on the highway at 80, getting thumbs up from everyone I pass. Rolling across the bridge in the morning on my way to Battle in Bama, cruising Ocean Boulevard during Run to the Sun, or traversing up the Saluda Grade on my way to SETN are all nearly religious experiences for me.”

Build Specs

Matt Criswell
1972 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne
Lyman, SC
Upstate SC GM Truck Club


Front suspension: Porter Built Fab stage-one front suspension
Rear suspension: PB Fab stage-two rear suspension
McGaughy’s 2.5-inch drop spindles, 1.25-inch front sway bar, PB Fab Trailing Arm crossmember, Air Lift 3P air management, 5-gallon air tank, Viair 444C compressors, air horns


Engine: 2005 5.3L L59
BTR stage-three truck cam, upgraded torque converter, BBK headers, dual exhaust, 4l60e automatic transmission, custom driveshaft, Auburn POSI, 3:42 gears, Boyd Welding fuel tank, X Series battery


Shaved cab seam, rocker seams, emblems, cowl, stake pockets, tailgate handle, firewall, and cargo light, recessed marker lights, smoothed wheel arches, shaved grille lights, smoothed bumpers, Lokar electric billet door handles, rounded door corners, flush-mount windshield and rear glass, smoothed window pillars, modified 2010 Camaro side mirrors, 1-piece door glass, bed moved forward, electric actuators for tailgate, Marquez Designs 1-piece taillights, cowl hood, hidden wiring and hoses, smoothed radiator support, Trex bed wood, smoothed bed wood strips with hidden hardware, custom paint: BMW Deep Sea Metallic Blue with silver stripes


Power windows, RIDF entry and alarm, push-button start, Dakota Digital gauges, custom seat, 3-point seat belts, gray leather seat, leather-covered headliner, dash pad, and door panels, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dark-gray carpet, double-din radio, custom-fabricated dash with shaved ashtray, Vintage air


Wheels: 20×8 and 22×10 HRBB one-off wheels
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero tires