BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS

Clas­sic Lookin’ Meets New-school Bookin’

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY MIKE SELF PHO­TOS BY KEVIN AGUILAR

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.

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