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The Flexy and the Furious

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2001
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It’s not often that we see a fullsize rig that articulates as well as Steve Frisbie’s ’85 Chevy Blazer does. In fact, after watching Steve ’wheel through the backwoods of rural Missouri, we’re convinced that his built-to-the-hilt Bow Tie might give the gnarliest of rockcrawlers a run for their money.

Steve’s Blazer started life as a military-surplus truck, complete with a camo spray-job. Although Steve, a Missouri state trooper by profession, has an appreciation for military tactics, he decided to drastically change the Blazer’s appearance. His goal was to build the ultimate go-anywhere 4x4 that would stand out on any trail.

An early round of decision-making involved the machinery under the Chevy’s hood. Steve opted for a built 350ci Chevy V-8 that has been balanced, blueprinted, and bored 0.040-inch over. It’s equipped with an Edelbrock Performer camshaft and has a compression ratio of 8.5:1, which means that it won’t require premium fuel. The mill inhales through a Holley Pro-Jection fuel-injection throttle-body sitting on an Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. An ACCEL Super HEI coil and stock Chevy distributor power a set of Bosch Platinum plugs through Jacobs plug wires. Mated to the powerplant is a beefed-up TH700-R4 transmission with heavy-duty clutches. An NP203/NP205 transfer case is coupled to the tranny and splits power to an ARB’d front Dana 44 with a built-in skidplate and Detroit-locked rear GM corporate 12-bolt axle. Both axles are filled with 4.88 gears and are turned by custom driveshafts.

But lots of trucks can boast hardware of that quality. What’s clever about this Blazer are the careful touches that make this rig a solid performer. For instance, its front axle was moved forward 1 ½ inches to stretch the wheelbase to 108 inches. Also, Steve raised the gas tank and rear crossmembers 2 inches for better clearance.

The front of the rig is lifted with a custom 3-link suspension that utilizes King 2 ½-inch PreRun shocks to control suspension movement. In the rear reside 6-inch Skyjacker Softride springs with an Offroad Design 2 ½-inch shackle flip kit and Doestch Tech PreRun shocks with 14 inches of travel.

A custom-made crossover steering system allows Steve to point the Blazer in the right direction. The Blazer’s suspension—enhanced by a 2-inch body lift by Performance Accessories—provides sufficient room for 37-inch Boggers on stock Chevy aluminum wheels with Champion bead locks. Stopping power comes from four-wheel disc brakes. The Blazer’s occupants are protected from most trail hazards by a custom 6-point rollcage built of chrome-moly tubing. The cage is tied into the body mounts. Steve also added custom nerf bars and bumpers. The metal fabrication is courtesy of Stan’s Custom Fab in Warsaw, Missouri.

For those instances when recovery is required, a MileMarker 10,500-pound two-speed hydraulic winch is mounted up front and a 48-inch Hi-Lift jack is stowed in the rear. To finish things off, Steve enlisted the help of Benton County Auto Body for application of a fine Race Yellow enamel spray-job.

A look inside the cab reveals Steel Horse leather seats with R.C.I. 5-point harnesses, a ’94 Chevy steering wheel, and a metal floor covered with Herculiner. A custom aluminum dash houses a set of VDO gauges.

Steve explains that he built this truck for versatility and to explore the Rocky Mountains with his eldest daughter. From what we see here, he should be able to do that with no problem.

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