The wonderful thing about building a cheap supercar is that anything goes so long as it performs on a budget. When building one of these rides, it’s imperative to start with an inexpensive platform that provides an abundant amount of potential. Choosing a fairly lightweight modern vehicle with an appealing external appearance is the popular choice.

Paul Morgan of Howell, Michigan, purchased his pickup brand-new. The little truck carried a sport package from GM and served Paul for several years until he decided his daily driver deserved to be more than just transportation. Since local statutes didn’t mandate a tailpipe emissions test, Paul found himself in the perfect position to build a budget supercar. He wanted a vehicle that would corner well, accelerate hard, and look good as a daily driver yet still take some abuse.

Before the list of demands could grow any longer, Paul went to work improving the S-10’s contact patch. Paul’s first move wrapped a pair of SP 8000 Dunlop P245/50R-15s around 15x8 Rally wheels and stuffed them under the rear. The fronts received two 15x7 Rallys with P225/50R-15 BFG Comp TA radials. Once the proper tire and wheel package had been determined, Paul lowered his little truck 2 inches using Bell Tec spindles and lowering blocks. The lowered body and wide wheels changed the appearance of the S-10 so dramatically that Paul decided he needed to pay some attention to the body. An ’86 Blazer donated its front and rear bumpers while the antenna and tailgate handle were customized.

With the body in top shape, Paul decided to paint everything black using PPG enamel. By the time Paul finished the truck’s external makeover, it was time to make his S-10 run as good as it looked. This evolved into a 383ci small-block sporting 10.5:1 compression with early iron heads. While installing the engine, Paul discovered the driver-side exhaust would create problems. The decision to stick with factory cast-iron exhaust manifolds led him to cut and re-weld the driver-side exit flange to clear the shift linkage. The transmission crossmember also required a 4-inch pipe be spliced in on the driver side so that the 2½-inch exhaust could be routed through. As the engine went between the fenders, the floorboard required some hammer work and the alternator bracket had to be modified to clear the upper radiator hose. Knowing that the additional cubic inches would produce more heat, Paul pulled the stock radiator out to have it rebuilt with a high-density core. Once the engine sat comfortably between the fenders, Paul used a ’70 Monte Carlo TH400 transmission to transfer the power to a narrowed 9-inch rearend housing with disc brakes. The additional torque and horsepower instantly demanded a suspension upgrade so he added GM Performance Parts ZQ8 shocks and larger sway bars.

Swapping a small-block into an S-10 required some fabrication, but Paul is happy with the results. The S-10 has racked up over 45,000 miles since its conversion and still performs smoothly every time Paul wants to have a little fun.