Diamond in the Rough - 1971 Chevy K5 Blazer Roadster
'71 K5 Blazer Roadster
Sometimes in the custom truck world, we get caught up in getting our trucks ready for shows and we make sacrifices when it comes to building them. Unfortunately, this happened to Steve Ortega, of Fresno, California. He originally owned this 1971 K5 Blazer back in 2009. He showed it at the West Coast Nationals as an under construction truck. Then, as with just about every SEMA vehicle, it was rushed to be ready for the week-long show in Vegas. With only two months to finish the truck, the work done to it was rushed and even though it looked good, as is the case with many SEMA trucks, it didn’t run great, or stop very well for that matter, the suspension was unfinished, and the interior wasn’t completely dialed in. After SEMA, Steve wasn’t interested in the truck anymore and sold it to Rich Schreiner of Sacramento, California. Rich had always wanted to build a K5 Blazer, and now had the perfect starting point. Anyone who knows Rich will tell you that he is a full-blown custom truck fanatic. Pulling up to his house, you first see his lifted ’06 Silverado on 37s with custom audio and next to that, sits his silver ’67 ‘bagged C10 under a car cover. Inside his street sign emblazoned-garage sits this immaculate K5 next to a body-dropped and Caddy-clipped ’88-’98 Chevy. As you can see, this wasn’t Rich’s first rodeo.
Being such a hardcore enthusiast, when Rich bought this truck from Steve, it didn’t take him long to start tearing into it. He took the truck to The Mob Shop also in Sacramento, where they ripped out the unfinished suspension and built a one-off airbagged suspension. Starting with a boxed frame, the team at the Mob Shop installed a set of CPP 2-inch drop spindles and shocks, Firestone ‘bags, and CPP disc brakes with 14-inch rotors. Over the massive rotors sits a set of Raceline 22x8½-inch Phat Jaded wheels with 255/35R22 Fullrun rubber. Out back, a KP Components C-notch was welded in place along with a KP four-link for a ground-hugging stance. After that, CPP shocks along with Slam Specialties ‘bags were installed for a smooth, adjustable ride. With a matching set of CPP disc brakes, Raceline 22x10-inch wheels and Fullrun tires in the rear, the suspension was now complete.
Grant Kustoms, in Oroville, California, had completed all the bodywork prior to Rich buying the truck. The first thing the guys at Grant did was remove the top and cap the doors to make it an ultra-clean roadster. Then, the pillars were chopped down and raked back and it was body-dropped a total of three inches for a low, streamlined appearance. The factory bumper was removed and a sheetmetal bumper was molded in place. Above the bumper sits a one-off billet grille. With that done, the body was shaved of all the unnecessary components and the bodylines were smoothed, a set of taillights from a ’65 Oldsmobile were molded into the rear skin, and the body was prepped to be sprayed with several coats of PPG Maserati Orange paint by R.T. Auto Body in Gridley, California.
Without a top, the interior couldn’t be anything less than spectacular. The focal point is the handmade sheetmetal dash with molded Dakota Digital gauges and a Pioneer touchscreen head unit. A custom center console that pays homage to the smooth lines of the exterior, splits the tan leather and suede-covered electric seats. Both the console and dash are painted to match the rest of the truck. The door panels are covered with the same tan leather that envelops the seats while the carpet is a matching tan. Kool Kustoms, in Yuba City, California, did all of the upholstery work. The door panels also house a pair of Pioneer 6½-inch speakers. To break up the orange and tan interior, a Billet Specialties Half-Wrap steering wheel is connected to a chrome steering column. Behind the rear seats, the former cargo area holds the two Alpine amps, two 12-inch Alpine subwoofers, and a custom sheetmetal access door for the rear suspension and fuel cell.
Moving around to the front, upon opening the shaved and smoothed hood, reveals a pristine GM Performance Parts 572ci big-block churning out 620 hp. Embellishing the engine and engine compartment is a set of March Performance billet pulleys, a March Performance air cleaner, polished upper radiator hose, polished radiator mounts, and a polished CPP master cylinder. Helping the engine exhale is a set of Hedman ceramic-coated headers that feed 2½-inch exhaust pipes, while the juice for this thirsty engine sits in a 15-gallon fuel cell that resides between the rear framerails. Hearing this bad-boy fire up and roar to life is a spine tingling experience.
With this custom K5 finally complete, Rich is extremely proud of the truck and loves to cruise around Northern California with the top always down. He wanted to send shout-outs to Raceline Wheels, Pioneer, Dakota Digital, B.C. Fab, The Mob Shop, Kool Kustoms, Grant Kustoms, R.T. Customs, and CPP.