Tony Salvemini of Tuscon, Arizona, was a man on a mission. He wanted to build a vehicle that was capable of doing it all: crawling over rocks, blasting across desert, throwing mud, and making the commute to work. It also had to be fun to drive and reliable. Could a vehicle be adept at all these tasks and still prove reliable, not to mention easy to drive? Tony thought so. He chose a Chevy Blazer to build into a true multipurpose tool.
The first step for Tony was to get a suspension underneath his rig that wouldn’t beat his brains out. He wanted to be high up, but not so high that he would constantly get nosebleeds. A Rancho 2-1/2-inch lift kit was deemed suitable. Dual Dick Cepek shocks were used in the front to keep the suspension under control, and single Cepeks found their way out back. The rear also used the stock springs along with 2-inch add-a-leaves to help gain lift. Rancho kicker shocks were used out back to help keep axlewrap under control. For further articulation Tony added an Offroad Design sway-bar disconnect system. With the new suspension in place, 33x12.50-15 BF Goodrich Mud-Terrains on 15x10 steel wheels from American Racing were used as rolling stock
The next step was to build the drivetrain. It needed to be ultrareliable, so Tony decided to keep things close to stock. The internals of the 5.7L V-8 were kept original, but a little oomph was added with a 2-1/2-inch exhaust utilizing Flowmaster mufflers. Further motivation came by way of Jacobs ignition and an ADS Superchip for the computer. The stock TH700-R4 transmission was rebuilt. The 208 transfer case was also retained and sends power to 10-bolt axles front and rear; both received 4:56 gears and Lock-Rights.
The exterior was next to receive attention. Tony started out by fabricating a prerunner-style bumper for the front with extra lights for nocturnal adventures. Next, the front fenders and rear quarter-panels were trimmed to help keep the tires from rubbing. A Harwood cowl-induction hood was then put into place. After all the bodywork was finished, a glossy coat of black paint was laid down.
Often neglected on many 4x4s is the interior. Since Tony spends a lot of time inside his truck, he decided to expend some energy into making things comfortable. To make the commute to work a little more bearable, seats from a Honda Civic were put in. Further interior refinements included custom door and side panels along with marine-grade carpet. Stewart-Warner gauges replaced the stockers and transmit all necessary information to the driver. A Sony radio was also installed to give Tony something to sing along to.
With his work finally finished, Tony gets out and ’wheels his new toy every chance he gets. So far the black Blazer has proved to be up to the task and capable at many different forms of wheeling. It also gets Tony to work every day in style. What more could you ask for?