I have always loved the K5 Blazer, but I have two problems: (1) 99.9 percent of the K5s available have been treated to hockey puck lift kits and chrome directional wheels. (2) I’m cheap, and getting a nice one was always out of my price range. So when the opportunity to buy one for reasonable money came along, from the original owner who left it in its fleet truck glory for the last 35 years, I jumped at it. Over the next few months, I’ll be cleaning up what’s wrong with it the least expensive way I can, and reporting on it here. Let’s take a look at what I started with:
What we have is a 1979 Chevrolet K5 Blazer that an old friend sold me in June. I saw this truck at his shop about 17 years ago and wanted it then, and when he mentioned he was thinking about moving it along, I told him I was interested. The first pictures he sent me showed a pretty straight truck with Mexican blanket seat covers.
I went to take a look at it, and initially, I thought I was going to pass. The inner fenders were shot, the rockers needed replacement, and it had that look of a truck that was days from turning into a heap. The bottom of the passenger door was rusted beyond repair, and the shocks were — well — shocking.
But it had a lot going for it, too. It was in largely original shape, with just a bit of paint on it here and there. Despite the 7 1/2-foot Fisher plow hanging off the nose, it hadn’t been modified a whole lot. The dashboard was in amazingly good shape and it had a 350 and a four-speed.
I had a ’68 Buick Riviera before this, and the thing that drove me nuts was that everything I needed for it was insanely expensive. I’m not sure there’s a cheaper vehicle to find parts for than a ’73 to ’87 C-K.
The other thing that sold me on it was the price. I figured I was going to be in it for at least $3,500, but when my friend sheepishly asked me “Could you do $1,800,” I couldn’t get the money out fast enough.
I got it home and cleaned it up and at every turn, I’ve been surprised at how nice it is. I took the lousy seat covers off of it, and also realized that the carpets had been covered with those plastic runners your grandma put on the runner in the parlor, so the rug is actually in decent shape. The driver’s seat is blown out, but the passenger seat looks mint, and I’m not sure the rear seat had ever been sat in.
I’ve been picking away at odds and ends so far — which I’ll detail in the next update — but now I’m going in deep. I don’t have a welder or a paint booth, so I signed up for the Auto Body night class at Assabet Valley Technical High School in Hudson, Massachusetts, which is pretty much an open shop session. The only restrictions are that the vehicle has to leave every night, so I’ll have to plan my bodywork accordingly.
I’ve already bought a bunch of mechanical stuff from LMC Truck, which I’ll get into in future updates. I also purchased the inner fenders. When they found out about the project, LMC Truck stepped up to send a bunch of sheetmetal and rubber parts to help complete it. We’ll detail all of that when the time comes.
For now, I’m working on taking a lot of stuff apart, and getting it in good running shape so I can drive it up to Assabet every Thursday night. Stay tuned. This is going to be fun.