BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS
Classic Lookin’ Meets New-school Bookin’
THE LOVE FOR SPEED IS NOTHING NEW, WHETHER IT BE BY FOOT, CHARIOT OR COMBUSTION ENGINE. We might be biased, but we tend to think that the latter is most exciting.
When you’re a speed freak, but don’t have anything of your own that gives you the adrenaline rush you need, your life can seem pretty mundane. For Curt Hill of Pleasant Hill, California, it eventually became too much to take.
Curt’s day job is being the owner and lead fabricator at Hill’s Rod & Custom. As you can probably imagine, he takes on some pretty wild builds, but some of the most popular types in recent years have been of the autocross and road course varieties. We get it, going fast in a straight line is great and the ultimate test of speed, but being able to go fast in the corners just adds to the excitement.
Our man Curt had the perfect candidate for such a go-fast project, a well-worn ’72 Chevy Blazer. First, it was cheap, and second, it had a short wheelbase, which would do well on an autocross course. The only problem was that it was still an ancient truck underneath.
Curt could have built an entirely new chassis for his Blazer, after all, that’s what he does day in and day out at Hill’s Rod & Custom, but once he measured everything during the planning stage, he came to a realization. If you’re like us, you have random bits of seemingly useless knowledge stuck in your head, and Curt happened to know that a C5 Corvette has a wheelbase of about 104.5 inches. As it turned out, his Blazer had a wheelbase of 104 inches, so Curt immediately brought that piece of C5 info back to the front of his brain and realized that his Blazer was about to get pretty rad.
While Curt still had a ton of work ahead of him, knowing that his Blazer would essentially be a C5 underneath was a welcome shortcut since he wouldn’t have to worry about figuring out suspension and steering geometry. By using a complete Corvette as a base, all of that would already be handled.
After removing the Blazer’s body from its frame, Curt moved on to the C5, cutting away anything that
CURT COULD HAVE BUILT AN ENTIRELY NEW CHASSIS FOR HIS BLAZER, AFTER ALL, THAT’S WHAT HE DOES DAY IN AND DAY OUT AT HILL’S ROD & CUSTOM, BUT ONCE HE MEASURED EVERYTHING DURING THE PLANNING STAGE, HE CAME TO A REALIZATION.”
wouldn’t be used in its new incarnation, and upgrading some of the stock Corvette components in favor of some pretty trick high-performance stuff before attaching the Blazer body to the ’Vette chassis. The stock brakes were chucked, and Wilwood six-pot calipers were bolted on around
14- and 13.5-inch rotors front and rear. Hypercoil track leaf springs were bolted on both ends, and JRI double adjustable shocks were also thrown into the mix for fine-tuning abilities.
Curt didn’t cut any corners when it came to the wheels and tires, either. Fiske 18x12 mesh wheels with 315/30ZR18 Falken Azenis RT-615K tires provide plenty of grip while remaining street legal. At this point, it seemed kind of silly to leave the LS1 stock, but in the end, Curt decided to just yank it and build an LS3, backed by a Tremec six-speed manual transmission.
The interior is all business, with only the necessities for blasting around the track in place. However, it’s anything but boring. Curt adapted the C5 gauge cluster and steering column to work in the factory Blazer dash, and much of the flooring is also original C5. Seating comes by way of an aluminum racing seat for Curt and a reupholstered bucket for whoever the lucky passenger happens to be. When things get too hot, the Vintage Air climate control setup is at the ready to cool things down.
When it came time to tend to the exterior, Curt decided to leave well enough alone, at least for now. The Blazer wears its patina well, so there was really no need to add the stress of a perfect paint job if the truck was mostly going to be doing track duty.
For all intents and purposes, Curt’s Blazer was done and ready to hit the track, and hit the track it has. Curt has been running at local autocrosses and Goodguys’ events as often as possible, astonishing spectators with the truck’s performance.
A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL INSTALL CORVETTE FRONT AND REAR SUSPENSIONS UNDER THEIR TRUCKS, BUT CURT REALLY WENT THE EXTRA MILE BY STUFFING THE WHOLE CAR UNDERNEATH THE BLAZER’S BODY. EVEN THE ’VETTE WHEELWELLS ARE INTACT.
THE UNDERPINNINGS OF CURT’S BLAZER DON’T BEGIN TO REVEAL THEMSELVES UNTIL YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE INTERIOR. ONCE YOU RECOGNIZE THE CORVETTE STEERING WHEEL AND GAUGES, THINGS START TO MAKE A BIT MORE SENSE AS TO HOW THE TRUCK SITS SO LOW WITHOUT THE HELP OF ’BAGS.
THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF CURT’S BLAZER WAS TO HAVE FUN, AND HE HASN’T STOPPED ENJOYING IT SINCE ITS COMPLETION.
YEAH, EVEN THE C5 CORVETTE’S TRUNK FOUND ITS WAY INTO THE BLAZER.