CHEVY BLAZER WITH CARDS UP ITS SLEEVE

A ROUND-FENDER BLAZER WITH CARDS UP ITS SLEEVE

4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - Verne Si­mons BY EDI­[email protected] PHOTOGRAPHY VERNE SI­MONS

1970s looks but with mod­ern fea­tures.

USU­ALLY WE FIND FEA­TURES for Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road on the trail. Why? We like spend­ing time on the trail, and we also like shar­ing info on rigs that are built to use off-road. Still, some­times we find ve­hi­cles in places that we don’t re­ally ex­pect to find them.

This clean and seem­ingly mildly built yel­low

1972 K5 Chevy Blazer popped up on our radar on Face­book of all places. We’ve known the owner and builder, Ryan Ken­nelly, for sev­eral years. He has been post­ing im­ages of the Blazer since he bought it. You see, Ryan is a project man­ager by trade and has spent many years dab­bling with lots of projects, mainly for his em­ployer, Pro Comp Sus­pen­sion.

Ryan ap­par­ently de­cided he needed a project, and he has al­ways been a fan of this gen­er­a­tion of Chevy trucks. The plan is and has been to build a rig with pe­ri­od­cor­rect looks but with mod­ern fea­tures. That plan sounds fa­mil­iar to us, and it’s more than just a great idea.

Af­ter a long while of look­ing for a 19671972 short-bed pickup, Ryan found the Blazer near, Gard­nerville, Ne­vada. Al­though the truck was a bit rougher around the edges (and the floors and rocker pan­els) than Ryan had en­vi­sioned, he took the one­owner Blazer home with him to serve as the can­vas for his ideas. He hit the bull’s eye with the project, cre­at­ing a retro-cool rig with more than just a few mod­ern tricks up its sleeves—or in its wheel­wells.

Af­ter see­ing the Blazer come to­gether on the in­ter­net we were fi­nally able to meet up with Ryan again and get our first in-per­son look at this truck at the 2018 Tierra Del Sol Desert Sa­fari near the Sal­ton Sea in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia (cov­ered in Aug. 2018 and here: bit.ly/2Hs0lKz). To learn all of the truck’s se­crets, and some of Ryan’s, check out the pho­tos and cap­tions.

3 Un­der the hood you might ex­pect to find the stock 350ci V-8, and you’d be par­tially cor­rect. This en­gine is more than meets the eye. The block is orig­i­nal to the truck, but stock it’s not. An Ea­gle ro­tat­ing as­sem­bly has the 350 stroked out to 383, and alu­minum Edel­brock heads cloaked in Chevy Orange breathe way bet­ter than the iron lungs ever could. The in­take is an Edel­brock RPM Air Gap unit in dis­guise that re­sides over a cus­tom-ground roller cam from Crane. Those stock-look­ing stamped steel valve cov­ers gain clear­ance for the high-lift cam and Howards roller rock­ers with 3⁄8-inch spac­ers. Fuel comes not from a fac­tory car­bu­re­tor but rather a Hol­ley Ter­mi­na­tor fuel-in­jec­tion sys­tem.

4 The in­te­rior of the Blazer looks mostly pe­riod cor­rect, with fresh car­pet and hound­stooth seat fab­ric. It still needs a lit­tle fin­ish work on the A/C sys­tem. Keen eyes will see mod­ern switches mounted in front of the cen­ter con­sole to con­trol the driv­ing lights, backup lights, ARB air com­pres­sor, and pair of ARB Air Lock­ers.

5 In the back of the Blazer Ryan added quick mounts for trail tools. A sub­tle and nice ad­di­tion is the color-matched spray-on bed­liner.

6 Up front a Smit­ty­bilt XRC10 winch hides un­der the fac­tory bumper and is tied into the tow points men­tioned ear­lier. Ryan leaned on Pro Comp’s sis­ter com­pany, 4 Wheel Parts, to find the two pe­riod-cor­rect in­can­des­cent Pro Comp driv­ing lights that were part of two long-for­got­ten store dis­play units.

7 The Hol­ley fuel-in­jec­tion com­puter runs a 1996ish 4L60E trans­mis­sion, which adds an over­drive ra­tio to the old truck. Off-road, a twin-sticked NP205 di­rects power to the front and rear axles.

8 The fac­tory tire car­rier was mas­saged for mod­ern util­ity by Ryan. The nice new top is from Soft­top­per (soft­top­per.com). The sides and rear of the top roll up for a lit­tle ex­tra breeze, and the top can be folded down in just a few min­utes if Ryan or his pas­sen­gers want to soak up the sun.

9 The front axle is the fac­tory orig­i­nal openknuckle Dana 44 with disc brakes. Cross­over steer­ing is one nice up­grade on the Blazer, and the diff cover hides an­other: 3.73:1 gears mounted on an ARB Air Locker.

10 The Blazer’s orig­i­nal 12-bolt rear axle still pushes the truck around with 3.73 gears and an­other ARB Air Locker. The fuel tank is a cus­tom-built unit that Ryan him­self put many hours into. The tank also houses a new in-tank fuel pump for the fuel in­jec­tion, us­ing parts from a 4.0L Jeep Chero­kee.

2That mus­tard-yel­low paint is the truck’s orig­i­nal color, and 1pure 1972. Al­though we might pre­fer see­ing patina and all the orig­i­nal tales the paint could have told, more body­work was nec­es­sary than even owner Ryan Ken­nelly had planned. The ex­tent of the rust re­pair war­ranted a full paint job. So is this just a restora­tion, or are their sub­tle changes on the old rig? If you an­swered the lat­ter, you’re right.Do you see the tow points peek­ing through the fac­tory2 front bumper? Did you no­tice the sim­i­lar tow points on the rear bumper? Those are cus­tom. Also, a sub­tle cus­tom lowlift sus­pen­sion with a hodge­podge of parts from (you guessed it) Pro Comp and 4 Wheel Parts gives a lit­tle ex­tra clear­ance for those tall and skinny 33x10.50R15LT BFGoodrich KM2 tires on15x8 Wheel­smiths. Lock­ing hubs are from G2.

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