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Project 1974 Chevy K5 Blazer - Building A Premudder

Posted in Project Vehicles on December 1, 2006 Comment (0)
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It was time for me to start another project. It had to be a '73-'75 Blazer for the full convertability and all-around great wheelbase, plus it was the first 4x4 I had ever owned. I had been planning on how I would build another one since I sold my original 10 yearsago, and my plan called for a crossover off-roader like nothing we have really tried before.

It couldn't be too expensive because I wasn't going to keep much of what was probably already on it. And I didn't want to be doing a restoration so it had to be pretty much rust-free. I basically needed a clean body and a frame.

Two months had passed and I had somehow bought two more trucks, neither of which would be my ultimate premudder-a cross between a prerummer and a mud truck. In desperation to get a foundation for Fabworx Off Road to start on, I accidentally found and bought the biggest Blazer pile in the world, in the middle of the night, ignoring all of my own rules about buying vehicles. I barely even turned the flashlight on before I offered the guy half of what he was asking, and later realized I had still gotten taken for a ride. It had tons of rust, it'd been rolled, it had been parted out and put back together with junk, and once we took the engine apart we would find out that the No. 1 piston had a hole in it. Awesome. I'm glad I bought such a gem to start with.

Brian McCully was such a nice happy guy when I first met him and the rest of the Fabworx crew. We'll see how much he's smiling at the end of the buildup. He and Jack Arrington were actually in the middle of pulling the entire front end off the body when I snapped this. Since the engine was going to be coming out and we had some special plans for a '98 front end on this K5, it made sense to just pull the sheetmetal before we started.

Two days later I had it at Fabworx's shop, and after the verbal berating I received for the quality piece of machinery I had bought, we were looking at the task ahead realizing that there was no real room for error with only seven weeks left to build the truck. The first thing to do was to attack the frame, fixing the horrendous cracks and shoddy repairs that occurred over the years, and get some suspension on it to hang the axles from. The next part of the plan was to pull the big-block 396ci and give it an Edelbrock spice-up while we fit the tranny, transfer case, and axles underneath it. Without a working powertrain, this truck wasn't going to go anywhere, and we were about to find out that the short block was worthless.

Yes, intentions had been good; this would be a fun thing for everyone, and we would have plenty of time to complete it. But the deeper we dug, the more work we found, and what was to be a somewhat economical and leisurely build got mighty expensive toward the end, just hours before the Ultimate Adventure started.

I think you'll like what we ended up with. The K5 (in the end) turned out to be a prerunner-themed 4x4 with mud-truck roots: It can roar 80 mph down the highway, churn big Boggers through thick mud, and hit desert whoops at 60 mph. But that's a ways off from where we are today.

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Sources

Dynatrac
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
714-596-4461
www.dynatrac.com
Yukon Gear
888-905-5044
www.yukongear.com

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