When Gene Popejoy of Carlstadt, New Jersey, spotted this ex-military 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer for sale at a dealer, he knew he had to have it. Reason No. 1: Military-spec Chevy K5 Blazers are extremely rare, and this one was in excellent condition. Reason No. 2: It would make an ideal foundation for a bulletproof trail rig.
After a brief negotiating process and a quick transfer of funds, Popejoy was in possession of the title to the nearly stock 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer. From that point forward, it was game on. His objectives for the buildup were clear: Keep it simple, strong, and totally bling-less. Overall, it took five months of turning wrenches and spinning sockets in his free time to accomplish that goal. The end result is a no-nonsense rig with a lot of swagger and a beefy drivetrain to back up that attitude. Popejoy often takes the truck out to battle the hostile terrain in the northeast, including the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. Mission accomplished.
Mud can trash axles in short order, so Popejoy installed a pair of Boyce-built Rockwell 2.5-ton axles. These axles were narrowed 7 inches by the folks at Boyce and fitted with Detroit Lockers and 12-inch-diameter Boyce pinion brakes. These beefy axles are more than up to the task of reliably spinning the 44x19.5 Boggers on 15x12 Boyce steel wheels. Popejoy says that the rear axle (shown) was relatively easy to install. He simply replaced the stock leaf springs with a pair of Superlift 8-inch-lift leaf springs, which bolted right to the factory leaf spring mounts. He used 4-inch drop shackles to create 12 inches of total suspension lift. Custom shock hoops hold two shocks per wheel, and a custom heavy-duty driveshaft transfers the torque from the transfer case.
Owner: Gene Popejoy, Carlstadt, New Jersey
Vehicle/Model: 1986 Chevy K5 Blazer
Estimated Value: $35,000
Engine: 6.2L diesel V-8
Aspiration: Stock intake, straight-pipe exhaust
Output, hp/torque (estimated): N/A
Transmission: TH400, B&M shifter
Transfer case: NP205
Suspension, f/r: Superlift 12-inch leaf springs, three Rancho shocks per wheel, custom shock mounts/Superlift 8-inch leaf springs, two Rancho shocks per wheel, custom shock mounts
Axles/differentials: Rockwell 2 1/2-tons/Detroit Lockers; Boyce 12-inch pinion brake, hydraulic steering
Ring and pinion: 6.72:1
Wheels: 15x12 Boyce steel
Tires: 44x19.5/15 Boggers