Puttin' the Whole Family to Work
Father-and-son projects are nothing new, and more than a few of us have learned and gotten help with our truck projects from a family member or two, but it's rare that we hear about both mom and dad chipping in to finish the job. But such is the case with Keith Semmler's '79 K5 Blazer. The active-duty Navy man had dreams of a beautiful K5 to enjoy every day—not just on the weekends—so three years ago when he bought the Blazer his parents lent a hand to restore (and improve) the Blazer's body to a showroom condition and ensured that their son would have reliable and safe transportation to work serving our country.
The Semmler clan started with the bodywork. The Blazer had no rust to begin with so most work was done in customization. The '79 half top was hacked off and a '73-75 Blazer full-convertible windshield frame was added on. The doors were cut to match, and the door handles completely shaved for a smooth line down the side. Hannemann fiberglass fenders with a 3-inch bulge were chosen to fit bigger tires and to give more protection to the nice white paint with gray scallops—paint carefully chosen to show minimal off-road wear and tear.
With the body done, the Semmler family turned to the undercarriage. Axles from a 1-ton Chevy found their way under the frame, with Rough Country leaves holding both the front Dana 60 and rear 14-Bolt. A rebuilt crate 350 engine was dropped in place of the original engine block for simplicity and reliability, and Keith kept the cool factor high with a manual SM465 four-speed transmission to multiply the power.
The outcome of the Semmlers' hard work was something that Keith could take with him every day, everywhere he drove. It's an inspiring story that makes us want to teach our mothers how to do bodywork!
Vehicle: 1979 Chevy K5 Blazer
Owner/hometown: Keith Semmler, Lemoore, California
Chassis: Stock frame with full rollcage in cab
Body: '73-75 windshield frame grafted on, door handles shaved, Hannemann fiberglass fenders and hood
Engine: Crate 350ci V-8
Transmission: SM465 manual four-speed with 32 spline shaft, Centerforce dual friction clutch
Transfer case: NP205
Front end: Chevy Dana 60
Rear end: GM 14-Bolt
Front suspension: Rough Country 6-inch-lift leaf springs, 3.73 gears, 4340 chromoly axleshafts with 35-spline outers, Yukon locking hubs
Rear suspension: 6-inch-lift leaf springs, 3.73 gears
Steering: Offroad Design crossover steering kit
Brakes: Stock GM 1-ton
Tires/wheels: 38-inch Nitto Mud Grapplers on 16x10 Mickey Thompson Classic Lock II rims
Interior: High-bolster seats, GT steering wheel, pistol grip shifter, CB radio