Never to Be Extinguished
One of the biggest signs of getting older and “adulting,” as they call it, is when you go from driving a two-door sports car to a four-door family vehicle. Donnie Blanchard from Lumberton, Texas, made the switch from a new Chevy Camaro to a four-door GMC Sierra. What would make someone do something like that? The birth of his daughter was the primary reason he needed a bigger vehicle. While searching a used-car lot, Donnie found a stock 2011 GMC Sierra crew cab and immediately had thoughts of what he could do to it.
Although his creative juices were flowing, he had to keep this build somewhat practical, as it would be the family’s only source of transportation.
“I actually ordered a modest lowering kit before I purchased the truck,” Donnie tells Street Trucks. “I knew what I wanted to do; I just didn’t have the vehicle yet.”
After a year of driving the Sierra, static dropped, and with permission from the wife (of course), Donnie decided it was time for adjustable suspension. He used a full Ekstensive Metalworks front and rear kit and enlisted his friend Chad Louque from Saint Amant, Louisiana, to install it, along with Jared “Poo” Nowell and Cubby Wolf. With the GMC being the only vehicle in the household, Chad and his friends had to work in sections, bagging the front and rear on different weekends.
GETTIN’ HOT IN HERE
Now here’s where the story gets interesting. In April of 2021, Donnie and his wife, Sadie, were woken up by the smell of smoke. They started searching for the fire but couldn’t locate it. Thinking it was coming from the attic, Donnie began searching the house. His wife had joked, “Maybe it’s coming from your truck.” Well, regardless of it being a joke, Donnie opened the door to the garage and was blown back by heavy flames and scorching heat. In the end, it took the town’s entire team of firefighters to locate the source of the fire coming from a poorly connected amplifier wire that had sparked between the rear seats. Once the fire department had extinguished the blaze, Donnie was left with a completely gutted truck still smoldering with ashes. His relief that his family and he were safe hit him first, but with the GMC Sierra truck almost a complete loss, Donnie was soon having thoughts of throwing in the towel.
It took a lot of convincing and support to get Donnie back into the right mindset to start the build all over from scratch, but he credits his long conversation with Joshua Talburt at Lone Star Throwdown in Conroe, Texas.
“I needed a good kick in the ass,” Donnie says. “Josh kept me focused and threw out all these ideas to get me motivated again.”
With the help of good friend Lyndon Leake, Donnie was able to replace the seats, carpeting, door panels, headliner, and everything else inside the cabin that had burned. With all the interior pieces waiting to be installed, Donnie grabbed a Katzkin leather skin and wrapped the new seats before their placement back inside the Sierra.
The next step was correcting the exterior paint by going from a pearl white to a loud “You My Boy Blue” Tamco paint, which was done at Pud’s PaintFab & Collision, where Josh and his crew transformed the once-burnt white paint to something much more blazing. Once the solid blue paint was done, Josh suggested graphics to set off the paint even more. Josh called in Brandon “Gooch” McCoy, who took his time over the next 12 hours and knocked out the hood and tailgate graphics using a mixture of Tamco paints. Josh also added some yellow paint accents on all the plastic pieces inside the truck.
THE FIRE BURNS ON
Donnie wishes to thank Chad Louque, Jared “Poo”Nowell, Cubby Wolfe, Lyndon Leake, T.J. Parker, Aaron “Shaggy” Dugas, and Brandon “Gooch” McCoy. He’d also like to thank all the Low Intentions club mates: Trae Baxter, Clint James, Joshua Talburt, Luke Laird, Sean Cooley, Roy Garza, Jeremy Teran, Shane Barrilleaux, Charlie Ford, and Jeremy Smith for always being down to help when needed. A very special thanks to his wife, Sadie, for being understanding and supportive of his passion, and their beautiful daughter Layla, who’s always down to ride in Daddy’s truck. From now on, there is no way a pesky fire will ever hold back Donnie’s passion.
2011 GMC Sierra Crew Cab
Club Affiliation: Low Intentions
- Front Suspension: Ektensive Metalworks front kit, Airlift 2,600-pound ’bags
- Rear Suspension: Ektensive Metalworks rear kit, Slam Specialties SS-6 ’bags, dual Viair 444s compressors, 7-gallon air tank
- Engine: 5.3L V8, K&N Blackhawk cold-air intake, Flowmaster 40 series muffler
- Transmission: 4l60e
- Rearend: Narrowed 1¼ inches
- Tamco “My Boy Blue” paint by Joshua Talburt at Pud’s Paint/Fab & Collision in Garfield, Arkansas, Tamco mixed color graphics by Brandon “Gooch” McCoy, Grant Kustoms full tailgate skin, body line removed, Grant Kustoms roll pan with bead-rolled license plate box, shaved stake pockets, three-piece billet grille and bumper pieces, 6K LED lighting, switchback turn signals
- Katzkin leather, headrests removed, Denali center console, pillars and headliner dyed black, yellow-painted dash pieces and door panels, white-face gauges, blue needles by Gaugewerx
- Stereo: Eonon 8-inch double-din head unit
Wheels & Tires
- Wheels: 26×10 Intro Vista II
- Tires: 295/30R26 Lexani LX-Thirty