With ultrasmooth looks that scream “Here I am,” Andy Clark’s ’89 Chevy C1500 is proof that you don’t have to spend huge bucks to make a huge statement. Andy invested only about $12,000 to achieve the Sportside’s shocking hue and bold stance, including the cost of the truck.

Although the bottom line was low, Andy sacrificed nothing in the looks department when putting the truck together. It features an AIM phantom grille and smoothie bumper, Boyds Turbo Tech wheels, and a 5/8 drop. But since there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, Andy had to achieve these thrifty results the same way many of us do—by putting in long hours in his Harrisburg, Illinois, garage and getting a lot of help from his friends Brian and Terry Storms.

Without a doubt, the truck’s most eye-catching mod is its shaved exterior devoid of door handles, trim, and other distractions and swathed in eye-popping PPG Mack Truck Yellow and Gold Pearl masterfully applied by Brian. A smoothed cowl and a custom bedcover complement its slippery, eel-like skin.

Andy achieved the Bow Tie’s aggressive stance by using DJM suspension components to lower it 5 inches in the front with 2-inch-dropped spindles and 3-inch-dropped springs. Bumps and bounces are kept under control by a set of Stylin’ Concepts shocks. Out back, a DJM rear flip kit and a frame C-notch and a set of Belltech shackles sucked 8 inches from between the axle and the frame, while an Air Flex airbag system stands ready to put most of it back in on command.

Inside, a way-cool vinyl-and-tweed-covered bench seat stitched by Lita Storms shouts low-buck chic, and a few billet dash pieces carry the smoothie look into the cab. Under the hood, the engine remains basically stock, although Andy improved its flow with a K&N filter and a custom 2½-inch exhaust system. He also dressed up the sano engine compartment with a few well-placed pieces of chrome.

We chose Andy’s truck to kick off our budget upgrade section because it stands as proof that big results don’t necessarily have to come at a great cost. All it really takes is a vivid imagination and a lot of hard work.