An Outrageous Orange Texas Trail Truck
Toby Harrell of San Angelo, Texas didn't really set out to create a custom trail-ready Blazer, it just kind of worked out that way. Each time he'd hit the trail in his '75 K5, something would get bent or broken and he'd have to fix it. We all know how that goes. Over time, the truck developed into something that barely resembled the stock truck he purchased in 1997 from his high school English teacher, and nowadays the truck sports a long list of functional trail components and upgrades.
Under the hood rests a dead-serious 461ci big-block engine that was machined by Miguel Martinez Racing Engines in San Angelo before Harrell assembled it with TRW 2465 pistons, a Competition Cams 4x4 Extreme camshaft, large oval-port heads, a high-volume Melling oil pump, LS6 valvesprings, stainless-steel valves and Competition Cams roller-tip Magnum rockers. Fresh air is drawn through a custom snorkel, K&N air filter and custom velocity stack, and it travels to an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold. Fuel is injected by a Holley ProJection fuel-injection system, and sparked by a stock coil, an HEI distributor and Taylor Spiro Pro Glow spark-plug wires. Exhaust gases exit the engine through ceramic-coated Dynomax headers, 2 1/2-inch dual exhaust and Flowmaster mufflers. The sum of all these mods is a dyno-proven 475 hp at 5,800 rpm and 450 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm.
Toby was well aware that this increased horsepower could make mincemetal out of the stock TH400 tranny, so he beefed it with a TransGo shift kit, Summit Racing flexplate and a heavy-duty cooler. Bolted to the tranny is an NP205 transfer case with a modified shift rail that allows for operation in two-wheel low. The transfer case sprouts a pair of beefy custom driveshafts that were fabbed by West Texas Off Road in San Angelo. These durable 'shafts carry power to a front Dana 60 and rear Corporate 14-bolt. The Dana 60 sports beefy 35-spline axleshafts, Dana 70 stub shafts, CTM U-joints and an ARB Air Locker. In an effort to avoid smashing pumpkins, the centersection of the 14-bolt was shaved for improved ground clearance before being fitted with a Detroit Locker. Both differentials carry 5.13:1 gears to offset the huge 44x19.5-15 Boggers mounted on 15x12 Bart steel wheels with weld-in beadlocks. A braced steering box, custom crossover steering system with hydraulic assist and Superlift drop pitman arm make up the steering modifications. The big Blazer's 8 inches of suspension lift consists of Tuff Country leaf springs, heavy-duty shackles and single Rancho shocks at each wheel up front, and modified '98 1/2-ton springs on relocated mounts with a shackle flip, over-the-spring traction bars, and single Skyjacker shocks at each corner in the rear.
Before you write us to point out that this doesn't look like a '75 Blazer, stop, don't do it. It doesn't look like a '75 because it sports a hood and fenders from an '84 Blazer and a grille from a '91 Chevy W/T. These mods were made, you guessed it, to repair trail damage. The bright orange body (hence the truck's nickname Great Pumpkin) sits on a 3-inch Performance Accessories body lift, and the body is marked by damage from "ledges, boulders and trees." Up front, there's a custom tube bumper with a recessed winch mount for the Warn HS9500i winch. In the rear there's a custom tube bumper that was fabbed by Big Dog Custom Fabricating in San Angelo. On the sides are a pair of custom nerf bars that were also created by Big Dog Custom Fabricating and custom Rhino-Lined door cutouts that can be swung open for easier access to the interior.
Speaking of the interior, things are all business inside the Blazer, with a custom 12-point rollcage, marine-grade vinyl seats, a Grant steering wheel, a Tuffy console and Rhino-Lined floors.
Toby's Blazer has evolved into a serious trail machine over the course of five years, and the Great Pumpkin hasn't finished its metamorphosis yet. What's the next upgrade on tap for the Blazer? Harrell doesn't have a clue. But he may know after the next trailride.
|Owner||Toby Harrell, San Angelo, Texas|
|Vehicle model||’75 Chevy Blazer|
|Estimated Value||Too much, according to Toby|
|Aspiration||Holley ProJection, Edelbrock|
|Performer RPM intake, Dynomax headers,|
|2 1/2-inch dual exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers|
|Transmission||TH400, Summit Racing flexplate,|
|TransGo shift kit|
|Transfer case||NP205, modified shift rail|
|Front||Tuff Country 6-inch lift leaf, 2-inch lift|
|shackles, Rancho shocks|
|Rear||Modified 1¼2-ton Chevy leaf springs,|
|shackle flip, Rancho shocks|
|Front||Dana 60, Dana 70 outers,|
|CTM U-joints, 35-spline axles|
|Rear||14-bolt, shaved centersection,|
|Wheels (in.)||15x12 Bart steel w/weld in|