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2011 GMC Sierra 1500- Bayou Betty

Drilling Deep for a Custom Look

Phil Gordon
Aug 15, 2019
Our employment generally dictates the path in life we take. For instance, if you're in the medical field your path usually involves helping others. Stephen Mehn, of Gonzales, Louisiana, was hired in a very profitable field—the oil field to be exact. The job he got actually required quite a bit of traveling, and while he'd never owned a new vehicle before, it became time for a tough decision. His decision was made to find a reliable new vehicle, and when he saw an advertisement for a dealership that offered a huge discount through rebates he made the purchase on a 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 Bayou Edition.
Stephen had never had a custom vehicle before, let alone a new vehicle, so he hesitated to add anything to the new GMC Sierra, especially since it would be used for work. After six months on the job, the company he worked for gave him a company vehicle and he had no more excuses to leave the GMC stock. The GMC transformation started off mild with some wheels and a drop. After convincing his wife, Kayla, that he had bigger ideas, he started reaching out to builders.
Photo 2/14   |   2011 Gmc Sierra 1500 Bayou Betty Rear 3q
He met Keith Sawyer, of NFamus Metal Fabrication, in Dallas, Texas, and made an appointment to come in. "I walked in and immediately told him I wanted this truck to be all about details," Stephen tells Truckin, "but nothing over the top." Well that idea didn't last long as Stephen and Keith started going through plans on the GMC. The AccuAir air management setup was added and the new Sierra was now on adjustable suspensions. Keith did some experimenting with the GMC on the control arms and shock mounts.
While Keith had the Sierra and Stephen was overseas in South Korea working on a rig construction project, it was decided that the truck would be body-dropped. Keith was asked to make the preparations for the body drop, yet Stephen also wanted motor work done. Keith added larger notches, larger tubs and a larger firewall to prepare. Stephen has always had a thing for power, so he decided to modify the stock 5.3 but realized quickly that a modified supercharged motor would be near impossible with a body drop. The added work was immense as good friend Cubby Wolf had added all his motor work while Keith had performed the drop. Once the motor was added back in, they realized that it wouldn't fit. Keith had to build custom motor mounts that lowered the motor three inches and to their relief, the hood closed.
Photo 3/14   |   2011 Gmc Sierra 1500 Bayou Betty Engine
As black was always Stephen's favorite color, he decided that the shade of black that came on the GMC wasn't dark enough. Stephen enlisted a good friend from high school to find a good painter. The name that came back was Anthony Thibodeaux from ProPaint Collision & Customs. Anthony covered the Jet Black with Ford's Tuxedo Black metallic and then reshaped and corrected the body lines.
After hearing so many horror stories about upholstery shops, Stephen put his faith in Stephen Frederic who happened to live only twenty minutes from his house. Looking to get his name and company some recognition, Frederic's Upholstery, Stephen and his wife, Kayla, decided they wanted something that was unique and had four bucket seats. "I had heard of people chopping the back bench before," Stephen adds, "but I couldn't find any information on it." Although he was told he'd never done it before, Frederic's Upholstery was eager to execute it, along with a custom-designed center console.
Photo 4/14   |   2011 Gmc Sierra 1500 Bayou Betty Interior
Photo 5/14   |   2011 Gmc Sierra 1500 Bayou Betty 11
Stephen not only came out of the box swinging on his GMC, he made some integral decisions that led to one of the classiest rides on the bayou. He wishes to thank his beautiful wife, Kayla, for her decision-making throughout the process as well as all her support and love. Without the team he chose to build Bayou Betty, he would have never achieved the heights and drops he has. Stephen debuted the finished product at Battle in Bama outside of Mobile, Alabama, to overwhelming admiration and attention. We were lucky enough to get it in front of the camera on its debut show.
Photo 6/14   |   2011 Gmc Sierra 1500 Bayou Betty Wheel
Inside the build
Year/Make/Model: 2011 GMC Sierra 1500
Owner and City/State: Stephen Mehn, Gonzales, Louisiana
Club Affiliation: Aftermath
Front Suspension: NFamus front kit, 16-inch Wilwood brakes, QA1 shocks, Airlift 2500 airbags
Rear Suspension: NFamus wishbone, three-link with bags under frame, Wilwood brakes, QA1 shocks, Airlift 2600 bags, Accuair E-Levil and i-Level, two Viair 480 and two Viair 444 compressors, 1.5-gallon and 3-gallon air tanks, all work done by Keith Sawyer at Nfamus Metal Fabrication
Engine: 5.3L Vortec, Lysholm 2300 supercharger, EPS custom grind blower cam, ported and polished heads, Texas-Speed shorty Camaro headers, Corvette oil pan, Race Ready cutout, Magnaflow exhaust done by Cubby Wolfe at LSAdvancement
Transmission: 6I80 transmission with yank 3600-stall
Rearend: narrowed to fit 26x10 wheels
Body/Paint: metal work done by Keith Sawyer at NFamus, stock-floor body drop, custom Tuxedo Black metallic color painted by Anthony Thibodeaux at ProPaint Collision & Customs, custom 3 bar grille, shaved stake pockets, third brake light, tailgate, top cap, antenna and gas door, custom wiper cowl, custom engine bay and reservoirs, raised bed floor, motorcycle gas cap in floor bed
Interior: full custom interior by Stephen Frederic at Frederic's Upholstery, full center console, back bench seat cut into two bucket seats, Intro billet steering wheel, Alea Leather custom seat covers, black leather-wrapped pillars, leather-wrapped 3 gauge pillar with two AeroForce scan gauges, I Boost gauge, black roof liner, black carpet
Stereo: Alpine 9-inch in-dash restyle radio, two 10-inch Sundown Audio subwoofers, Sundown Audio 1,000-watt amplifier
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: 26x9, 26x10 Intro El Paso, painted by Anthony Thibodeaux
Tires: 295/30R26, 305/30R26; Pirelli Scorpion Zero
Special Thanks: First and foremost my wife, Kayla, Keith and Neal at NFamus, Cubby at LSAdvancement, Anthony at ProPaint, Stephen at Frederic's Upholstery, Phil Gordon for wanting to shoot the truck, and my entire Aftermath family. They have motivated me and helped push me to the end. I never gave up and now I'm truly happy.