When Shane Poulton wanted a low and slow cruiser, he knew that a GMC pickup was the only way to go!

It all started when I did a skid and broke the driveshaft,” laughs Shane Poulton. 
If you know the name, then you’ll know that when Shane says ‘skid’, he’s not talking about a mild chirp of the tyres. A Shane Poulton skid generally means that he’s laid so much rubber down that there’s a high chance of the fire brigade having to be called out due to the huge amount of smoke.

It was that quick — or, more likely, not so quick — incident that saw him pull down what was already a tidy 1970 GMC pickup and transform it into the stunner you see here.

Prior to Shane’s ownership, the truck had been used as a giveaway by Makita, which had the Bunce Motor Company give the truck a good overhaul — so, by most people’s standards, the pickup was already tidied up before Shane purchased it. Again, however, Shane Poulton is not most people, and his goal was to transform the pickup into something far beyond the ordinary. Already having big-power cars in the shed, Shane’s plan for the GMC was for it to be a low and slow cruiser — something that wouldn’t overheat cruising around Mission Bay on those hot summer days yet that would still turn plenty of heads and stand out from the rest of the cruising traffic.

The first step in making the dream into a reality was to have a good friend, George, rip out the suspension the truck came with and replace it with a full swag of gear from KP Components. The idea behind the off-the-shelf parts was that no real fabrication would be needed to drop the big truck to the ground. Of course, we know nothing is ever truly bolt in, and George worked his fabrication magic where needed, giving the rear rails a slight notch to ensure the chassis hit the floor before the diff hit the rails. The rear-end bag set-up is somewhat unusual, though, with the bags themselves working on a cantilever as opposed to sitting between the diff and cross member. Getting the front end to do the same required the front shocks to be relocated before the bags could be fitted — but nothing too far out of the ordinary, especially for a guy like George, who could airbag a car in his sleep. The set-up relies on four Viair compressors to fill the twin tanks, which now take pride of place on the tray.

Speaking of the tray — Shane has taken great care to get it looking exactly as he wanted it to. Actually, more correctly, Jason and his team at Autocolour Matrix have put the care into achieving what Shane asked of them. What at first glance looks just like a break in the two-tone paintwork is in fact a pressed metal swage that snakes its way around the inner sides of the tray. The tray floor has also been smoothed out, with the C-notch covered and custom oversized wheel tubs added. 

The Matrix team also smoothed out any other panel imperfections, including the place where the rear bumper had previously been removed, before turning their attention to the paint side of the equation.

Rather than a boring single-colour paint scheme, Shane always had in mind some form of two-tone. Exactly how the colours would be split was left up to Jason, and the result is spectacular. The mix of burgundy and silver really pops in the sunlight, and the added shadow line causes onlookers to do a double take. 

The finishing touch was moving the front bumper closer to the bodywork by cutting and shutting the stock brackets. But the truck is still seriously long, a fact emphasized by how low it is when the chassis rails are sitting firmly on the deck. 

When the pickup is in its slammed stance, the massive 20x12-inch Boyd Coddington rear wheels almost disappear into the rear guards — only the dish is left exposed. Up front, the wheels are the same diameter, just a touch narrower at eight inches wide, and are wrapped in 255/30R20 rubber rather than the expensive 305/25R20 liquorice strips out the back. 

Knowing the 305ci motor that the truck was purchased with could never be dropped back into the newly tubbed, smoothed, and painted engine bay, Shane bought a 350ci crate motor — not just any old crate motor, though, but one that he upgraded with a bunch of billet accessories to ensure it would shine like a jewel in the dark engine bay. With an MSD ignition system fitted and Hedman headers attached, the motor is now likely making a touch more than the 375hp it made when originally purchased.

Backing the engine up is a TH400 trans, mated to a new — and stronger — driveshaft, and the stock diff with LSD head. Mind you, with the size of the rear tyres, Shane’d need to be keen to turn them into smoke these days.

The finishing touch to the nearly five-year on-and-off build was to get the interior up to scratch. After plenty of frustration with upholsterers, Shane was introduced to Jason Loose at Cut Loose Upholstery. Jason understood exactly what Shane was after and transformed the tired interior of the work truck into something beyond belief. The beautiful red leather and carpet contrast perfectly with the exterior paintwork. The trim work went as far as creating leather floor mats and a leather fascia around the custom dash panel in which the Auto Meter gauges sit. Finishing off the look is a bunch of billet accessories, such as pedals, steering wheel, and door fastenings. 

Now that the pickup is finally completed and on the road, you’d think Shane would be out clocking up as many miles as possible in it; however, that’s not the case. Instead, Shane’s dad, John, has had the truck out more than Shane has, even managing to score a few awards with it. Of course, once Shane gets on top of a few other things that have kept him occupied, he’ll be out soaking up the summer sun, cruising low and slow, just the way he always intended to!

1970 GMC pickup

  • Engine: 350ci small block Chev, Edelbrock 500cfm carb, Edelbrock intake, hydraulic roller camshaft, billet serpentine belt system, MSD ignition, Griffin aluminium radiator, Hedman headers
  • Driveline: TH400 transmission, stock diff, LSD head, 32-spline axles
  • Suspension: KP Components airbags, cantilever rear arms, four Viair compressors, twin tanks
  • Brakes: Wilwood master cylinder, Hydroboost booster, stock discs, stock drums
  • Wheels/Tyres: 20x8-inch and 20x12-inch Boyd Coddington wheels, 255/30R20 and 305/25R20 Falken tyres
  • Exterior: Custom PPG two-tone paint, smoothed tray, shaved rear bumper
  • Interior: Custom leather retrim, Auto Meter gauges, billet accessories
  • Performance: 375hp

Driver profile

  • Owner: Shane Poulton
  • Age: 31
  • Occupation: Earthmoving contractor
  • Previously owned cars: LX Torana, multiple rotaries, VK Commodore, AMG C63, and more
  • Dream car: Currently in the build!
  • Why the pickup? I just wanted something in which to cruise low and slow
  • Build time: Five years, on and off
  • Length of ownership: Five years
  • Shane thanks: Autocolour Matrix, Cut Loose Upholstery, C&M Performance, Redline Signwriters, Mag & Turbo North Shore, John and Lyn

This article originally appeared in NZV8 Issue No. 129. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below:

Todd Wylie

Todd Wylie has been involved with NZV8 magazine since before the first issue was printed, and has been the editor for the last eight years. Growing up in the heyday of the Jap-import scene, he's not adverse to Japanese vehicles, having worked for NZ Performance Car previously, as well as owning a few well-known examples. These days he cruises at a slower pace in a 1956 Cadillac Coupe and dreams of building a Model A tudor.