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1983 Chevy K5 Blazer - Playing The Ace

Posted in Features on December 1, 2009 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Robin StoverDonald ArnaoNicole Pitell

Have you ever ordered sushi at the International House of Pancakes? What about asking for crème brulee at Mickey D's? You're likely to receive a blank stare or a furrowed brow in reply. Rick Curcio, on the other hand, would probably get his order filled. Why is this? Rick persuaded Total Chaos Fabrication, famous for long-travel A-arm suspension systems, to build his solid-axle leaf-sprung Chevy Blazer.

Rick's request wasn't a random one. "I've had two trucks with Total Chaos kits," he told us. "I had a '98 4Runner with a T.C. long-travel kit. I drove it hard for a long time and I broke almost everything on that truck except for the Total Chaos kit. I've got a Nissan Titan, too, and I've got Total Chaos upper control arms and rear shackles on that. I'm really happy with how the truck works."

Despite the 4Runner and the Titan, Rick was a long-standing fan of the Chevy Blazer. After years of scheming and dreaming he happened across a clean '83 K-5 and decided his time had come. He had the K-5 Blazer and he had a plan. He just needed someone to perform the build. Total Chaos immediately came to mind.

Right about this time, T.C.'s Nicole Pitell and Matt Vaughan wanted some work done on their house. Rick, a contractor, immediately came to mind. The three met up. Rick knew he held an ace, and it was time to lay it down. "The only way I'm gonna work on your house is if you build my Blazer," he stated. Matt, sensing Rick wasn't bluffing, countered "I won't build you a typical Blazer If I build this, it's gonna be a Chaos version!" Rick's contract work was on par with T.C.'s fab work, and Matt and Nicole knew it. An agreement was reached, and the Blazer's transformation commenced.

"I took the Blazer as a challenge," Matt commented. "It was completely different from our normal stuff, but Rick was an ideal customer. He trusted us to do a good job and didn't pressure us. I wouldn't say we'd never do a build like this again, but it took a pretty unique situation for us to go ahead with it."

The Blazer was built as an all-around machine: something that could go throttle-down through the sand washes as well as creep through rock-strewn canyons. Four-wheel drive was retained, as were the solid front and rear axles. A full roll cage was built to keep the occupants safe and the Blazer intact through the rough. Suspension parts from Deaver, Light Racing, and Fox made sure that the ride was as smooth as it was controlled.

With time on Total Chaos's side, Matt was able to keep up with production and development on T.C. suspension systems and build the Blazer too. A year and a half later, the K-5 was a faster, smoother, tougher, and safer version of its former self.

"Everyone I worked with on this project has been great," Rick reported. "I probably drove Jeff at Deaver Spring nuts, but he worked with me until I was happy with the springs. The Turnkey engine and Atlas transfer case have been great, too." Rick's overall assessment? "I never thought this Blazer would work the way it does. Perfection! Matt's skill and attention to detail are just awesome."

It wasn't on the menu, but Rick still got his order filled. Sounds like an ace well played.


Vehicle: 1983 Chevy K-5 Blazer
Owner/Hometown: Rick Curcio, Wildomar, California
Engine: Chevy LS2 with LS6 heads, built by Turnkey Engine Supply
Exhaust: Custom headers by Tom Face, Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission: Turbo 400 by Culhane Transmissions
Transfer case: Advance Adapters Atlas II
Front end: Dynatrac Dana 60 with GM 1-ton brakes
Rear end: Dynatrac Dana 60 with Wilwood disc brakes
Ring and Pinion: 4.56:1
Front Differential: Detroit Locker
Rear Differential: Detroit Locker
Suspension: Deaver front and rear leaf packs, Fox 3.0 bypass shocks, Light Racing Jounce Shocks, Total Chaos shackles
Tires: 37-inch BFG Mud-Terrain T/A
Wheels: 17x8 Robby Gordon Beadlocks
Roll cage: Full roll cage by Total Chaos Fabrication, 1.75-inch .120-wall chromoly MIG welded.
Interior: Beard seats, Crow harnesses, custom dash, center console, and door panels by Joe and Moe's Speed Center

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