Written by Eric Becker
There are some cars that just lend themselves perfectly to customization. The Mustang, Corvette and, of course, the famed ’32 Deuce Coupe are all perfect examples of cars that captivate imaginations and allow builders to pursue their dreams. As time has passed, however, an entirely new generation of vehicles has entered the fray: Sport Utility Vehicles. The lumbering presence and go-anywhere appeal of these slab-sided beasts has spurred a renaissance in the collector car hobby. Built for use on the farm or battlefield, these iconic utilitarian classics have leant their steel to builders ready to execute their vision for the ultimate “off-road-ster.” Few, if any, have taken that vision to heart as well as the builder of this astounding 1971 Chevrolet K5 Blazer offered with No Reserve at the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction.
This beautiful example – a true 1971 K5 CST – reimagines Chevrolet’s premiere off-roader, going above and beyond the norm with impeccable detail. Even with just quickest of glances, the Blazer boasts an unmistakable presence. The retrofitted front end features a 1967 C10-style grille and “truck-style” chrome trim that runs the length of the body. The two-tone PPG Cement Gray over Ice White finish is beautifully offset by the hand-laid red pinstriping and emblems that wonderfully accent the red leather interior. Whether on road or off, this Blazer is truly unique.
The high-riding 4×4 announces itself with a distinctive growl courtesy of the 6.0-liter LSV8 engine that sits under the hood. The engine inhales via a Holley EFI Sniper high-rise intake manifold and exhales through a set of ceramic-coated Headman headers and a fully polished 3-inch TIG-welded stainless-steel exhaust complete with MagnaFlow mufflers. But it’s not just the sound that sets this Blazer apart. The engine bay is kept beautifully tidy, maintaining a seamless blend of both classic and modern aesthetics. The orange-painted valve covers feature the iconic Chevrolet script and are juxtaposed brilliantly against the black intake manifold and ICT front-drive pulley.
Other mechanical highlights include a Dirty Dingo ECU mount, as well as a DeWitt’s aluminum radiator with all-stainless lines and hoses. Keeping the powerful LS engine fed is a 25-gallon Boyd aluminum fuel cell with a custom-fabricated cradle. Translating the engine’s formidable power to the road is GM’s renowned 4L80E automatic transmission fitted with an advanced adapter that supports the heavy-duty NP205 transfer case.
Underneath, the chassis has been powder-coated in high-gloss black and completely reworked, with all holes welded closed, in addition to TIG-welded custom-fabricated crossmembers, suspension hangers and shackles. The Blazer rides on a set of 17-inch American Racing wheels wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 rubber bolted to 8-lug Dyna axles. The mighty Chevy uses FOX 2.0 shocks for suspension, and stopping power is provided by 4-wheel Wilwood disc brakes backed by CPP Hydroboost. The body, chassis and engine are all tied together with a professionally installed American Autowire harness.
While stunning to look at and undoubtedly a brilliant performer, it’s the interior where this Blazer truly shines. The beautiful red leather interior from a Porsche Panamera utilizes factory front bucket seats and a factory rear bench seat upgraded with Snowden foam and red stitching. The Classic Instruments gauge cluster is finished in a deep red hue to match the upholstery, as is the half-wrapped billet steering wheel. A RetroSound head unit installed in the dash plays through two Pioneer 5.5s and two 6x9s Pioneer speakers and one 12-inch subwoofer inside custom-made speaker panels. Additionally, the cabin is insulated with Dynamat sound-deadening to keep unwanted road noise from interfering with your favorite tunes.
Getting and out of this big Blazer is made easy thanks to frame-mounted AMP Research electrical steps that come down from the bottom of the rocker panel. Draped across the TIG-welded color-matched roll cage is a fiberglass top that has been completely redone. Refinished in the factory satin, the top has been gel-coated and retextured, as well as upgraded with rear gas shocks, precision weatherstripping and brand-new glass.
When the hammer falls at the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction, one lucky bidder will be able to take in the lights of Las Vegas Boulevard as they pilot this sublime “off-road-ster” on to new adventures.