When asked how long they've been involved in the custom vehicle scene, some truck owners will reply a few years, and others will reply a decade or two. When we asked 26-year-old Travis Bielert of Houston, he responded, “Forever.” His obsessive dedication to this lifestyle has been reflected in his past vehicle choices, which include a 'bagged '92 GMC, a 'bagged '08 Chevy Crew Cab, a classic '67 Mustang, and two custom Harleys. However, he was never quite satisfied with those projects and wanted to take it to the next level with his newest build. Travis began with the common '88-'98 GM platform, selecting a 1997 GMC Sierra extended cab as his blank canvas. Then, he modified the truck in three stages: first 'bagging it, then body-dropping it on 24s, and finally completing the gorgeous two-tone paint, refined interior, and mind-blowing stereo.
Behind the seats lies an arsenal of sound equipment, including six JL amps and four 12-inc
After his previous experiences building 'bagged trucks, Travis knew how a new stance could transform a bland truck into a clean custom. Travis did all the suspension work himself, stripping the GMC's factory front suspension and replacing it with a new set of DJM 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties 'bags, and KYB shocks. The rear of the truck was modified as well, using another set of Slam Specialties 'bags, this time with DJM shocks. In addition, a C-notch was added to the framerails for proper clearance, and a two-link setup with diagonal bar was used to stabilize the rearend. Also, the frame was fully boxed for additional strength. Initially, Travis was satisfied with this new stance, rolling on a set of 20-inch wheels for a while. However, he soon realized it was time to go even bigger and lower.
With the suspension fully redone, Travis determined the best way to go lower was with a body drop. After stripping out the interior, the cab and bed floor were cut out, raised, and rewelded, producing a 2¼-inch drop and a laid-out stance. To match this new drop, Travis swapped out his old 20s for a new set of 24x10 KMC SS wheels wrapped in high-performance Pirelli tires. To clear the large rolling stock, the firewall was notched and new inner fenders created. Finally, the ride was perfect, but the truck still had a long way to go, and the biggest step in its metamorphosis was right around the corner.
When building a show truck, it's important to have a paint scheme that stands out from the crowd. Travis was aware of this fact, so he delivered his truck into the talented hands of Juan Martinez from Martinez Kustom Works in Friendswood, Texas. Much of the truck was shaved and smoothed, including the door handles, taillights, and bed floor. Out back, 10-inch LED strips replace the factory taillights, and a roll pan fills the void where the bumper once was. A simple billet grille and cowl-induction hood adds classy, custom flair to the front end. Bodywork complete, the GMC's upper half was sprayed in subdued DuPont Oxford Green, with the lower half sporting a brighter DuPont Apple Green. A sharp silver graphic spans the seam between colors, and a small red accent draws the eye. This same paint scheme carries over to the interior, with a smoothed and painted dash, door panels, and center console.
Interior electronics were handled by Big Boy Toys in Houston, giving this clean Sierra an impressive arsenal of stereo gear. A Pioneer head unit runs through a total of six amps: two JL 300s for the highs and mids, and four JL 500s for the lows. These amps power six JL 6½-inch speakers, with two in each door panel and two in the rear of the cab. Topping the system off are four JL W6 12-inch subs in a rear-mounted enclosure, and a 10-inch monitor located prominently in the console. Finally, the interior was fully reupholstered in white and green by Rivera Services of Alvin, Texas. The factory bucket seats were reshaped, and then wrapped in two-tone leather and suede, while new carpet and a suede headliner complete the interior renovation.
When it comes to building custom trucks, experience is as good as gold. Although Travis is only 26, he's been in the scene longer than he can remember, and used this experience to build a truck that's just as refined as it is impressive. In a sea of '88-'98 GM trucks, this smooth green machine has set itself apart with classic style and modern technology. Travis would like to thank all of his friends who helped out with the build over the years.
A Colorado Customs billet wheel and arched center console are among the many subtle modifi
Airbrushed shadows give the midsection graphics a curved appearance, adding depth to the t
Rivera Services created this smooth fiberglass engine cover, dressing up the engine bay si
Inside the Build
Year Make Model: 1997 GMC Sierra
Owner and City/State: Travis Bielert • Houston, Texas
Type: 305ci V-8
Transmission: 4L60-E four-speed automatic
Rearend: 10-bolt with 3.73 gears
Front suspension: 2¼-inch body drop, DJM 2-inch drop spindles, Slam Specialties 'bags, KYB shocks
Rear suspension: 2x4 boxed frame, C-notch, two-link with diagonal bar, Slam Specialties 'bags, DJM shocks
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: KMC SS 24x10
Tires: Pirelli 275/25R24