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Bagged and Body-dropped ’97 Chevy S-10 | THE LOW DOWN

Best Friends Partner on a 1997 Chevy S-10

After 10 years of friendship, Mike Bischoff and Bernie Schweigman of Baltimore are inseparable. After many years of checking out automotive shows together, as well as spending time with other friends who like cars and trucks as much as they do, the dynamic duo decided to make a joint purchase. Mike is a painter and Bernie is a great mechanic, so they knew they could tackle any challenges a truck build could throw their way.


After a bit of hunting and consulting with friends about a team build, they were directed to a late-’90s S-10 that was sitting in a front yard. The truck’s owner at the time had attempted to start a build himself, but he didn’t have a lot of know-how or experience. The body was pretty rough, and the motor was locked up, but Bernie and Mike decided to make the owner a lowball offer anyway, and they took the truck home.

Once they began the frustrating task of fixing someone else’s mistakes, it became evident that it probably would have been easier to start with a stock truck instead. It seemed as though for every problem they fixed, two more popped up in its place.

The friends decided to cut their losses and take the truck down to bare frame. They wanted to build their ‘97 S-10 the way it deserved to be built. They got started with renewed purpose, laying down paint on the clean, bare frame rails.

The bad engine prompted a full stock rebuild, and while the motor was out of the way, they decided to paint the firewall and engine bay. They also gave that 2.2L four-cylinder a matching coat of paint. All of the suspension had been set up incorrectly, so they installed a 3-link setup in the rear with tubular control arms, upper and lower, and Slam Specialty ’bags to help lay the 3.5-inch body-drop to the ground. Once they’d wrapped up the suspension and engine details, they moved on to Mike’s specialty, paint and bodywork.

The pair worked day and night to restore the truck to its pre-wrecked glory. The final pinstripe was laid the night before they left to attend the Tennessee show, and the rest is history.”

Custom shaved and painted pieces litter the interior and exterior of the S-10. Mike and Bernie cleaned up the exterior lines, and then Mike shaved the door handles, antenna, washer fluid nozzles and the gas door. They built a fully custom sheet-metal bed and shaved the roof seams. Next, a set of 1995 Cadillac El Dorado taillights was frenched into the rear of the truck for a unique touch. To finish off the exterior, Mike laid down Sikkens Lincoln Candy Red Pearl Gloss two-toned with Ford Charcoal Graphite. He carried the same red pearl throughout the interior.


As the two friends were wrapping up the interior, which is filled with custom modified, shaved and painted parts, they made their final few decisions. They installed Bravada leather and suede seats in two-tone gray to match the charcoal paint on the exterior to tie the inside with the outside of the build. Considering the amount of red pearl they carried into the interior, they thought it would be too overpowering to make the seats a flashy color, which made neutral gray the perfect choice.


With the truck mostly finished, they felt great about their accomplishments, having finished a major project in just a year, with a week to spare before their planned debut at Lay’d out at the Park. Just when everything seemed to be going as planned, an F-250 dually rear-ended the completed S-10, severely damaging the bed. The pair worked day and night to restore the truck to its pre-wrecked glory. The final pinstripe was laid the night before they left to attend the Tennessee show, and the rest is history. 



Mike Bischoff & Bernie Schweigman   
1997 Chevy S-10
Baltimore, MD
Negative Camber


  • Stock 2.2L four-cylinder motor
  • Engine and engine bay completely custom-painted
  • Fully rebuilt to stock
  • Stock five-speed manual transmission


  • Ridetech StrongArms
  • Slam Specialties RE-7 airbags
  • Thorbeck 3-link
  • AirLift rear airbags
  • 1/2-inch SMC valves
  • 1/2-inch air line
  • VIAIR compressors
  • Notched rearend with Z’d front end
  • 3.5-inch body drop


  • 20×8.5 Halo
  • 255/35R20 Wanli S-1088 tires


  • Shop: Steve Lynch and Mike Bishoff
  • Fully shaved handles, antenna, washer nozzles, roof seams and gas door
  • Full sheet-metal bed
  • Frenched 1995 Cadillac El Dorado taillights
  • Sikkens Lincoln Candy Red Pearl Gloss two-toned with Ford Charcoal Graphite, matte clear
  • Hand-laid pinstriping by Jerry Campbell


  • Shop: Driven Fabrication, Bernie Schweigman and Mike Bischoff, interior
  • Bravada leather and suede seats
  • Shaved and painted dashboard
  • Modified stock console, shaved and painted
  • Suede headliner
  • Custom carpet kit
  • Complete interior including door panels and pillars shaved, custom painted
  • Shop: Mike Bischoff and Bernie, stereo
  • Pioneer head unit
  • Pioneer mids and highs
  • Kicker 10-inch subwoofer and amplifiers
  • Custom fiberglass, painted box

Special Thanks From the Owner: “Thanks to Kristy and Katie for putting up with all of the extra hours. Steve Lynch for all of his help with the body, and Brad and Sam Wurzbacher for their help with the interior. Thanks to Al Bischoff and Paul for all of the junkyard runs. Thanks also to Brian Harris, Geary Patton, Ryan Leyhe and Bill Billet.”