The Bottom Dollar Blazer Project: Resurrecting a Yankee K5 Blazer From The Creeping Death

The Bottom Dollar Blazer Project: Resurrecting a Yankee K5 Blazer From The Creeping Death

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.

Build SHeet

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.

Cleaned up

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.

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19 thoughts on “The Bottom Dollar Blazer Project: Resurrecting a Yankee K5 Blazer From The Creeping Death

  1. threedoor

    Nice, I drive a 76 Blazer that has the same body issues except for the inner fender rot, my tail gate is rusted, also typical. I’ll be following your work for inspiration. Check under the top for rust as well, the top of the bedsides is rusted through in mine around a few of the bolt holes.

  2. jerry z

    Funny that you posted a story on a K5 Blazer. Just last week on CL, saw a very nice looking 83 model. It was stock except for wagon wheels for 3K. He sold it in 3 hrs!

  3. mike brooks

    I love those squarebody gm trucks. I’ve had a ’91 burb and currently have an ’86 C10 project truck. I’d love to get my hands on a K5 someday. Can’t wait to see more!

  4. andy

    WOW!! 4sp blazer for 1800?!?!? Nice score!
    Looks like it cleaned up very nice for a MA truck!
    Do you know what gears it has?
    I’m voting for a set of 15×8 rallys and 31×10.50s!
    Can’t wait to see more!

  5. AngryJoe

    holy crap, you cant touch a beat down shell of a K5 out here for 1800….youre way ahead of the game…killer truck…freaking killer

  6. Remy-Z

    That thing is freakin’ mint inside. First one I’ve ever seen with the Camaro-style four-spoke wheel instead of something more plain. Good score, great save.

  7. Craig Fitzgerald

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

    A few things I neglected to mention:

    1. The guy I bought it from was the second owner, but he’s owned it since late 1979.

    2. It just turned 60,000 miles

    3. I’m sure I’ll get pilloried for it, but I really dig the fleet truck vibe it’s got. It originally shipped with white bumpers and I think I’m going back to those. I’m gonna keep the white steels and dog dishes for now, but I’ll definitely step up to 31s or thereabouts.

    Stay tuned. I’ll post an update every Friday!

    Thanks again for the encouragement.

  8. b3m

    Nice deal.. fleet truck, as in part of a bunch of plow vehicles? I have an uncle from mass that went huge in that plow subject, even took on state work, the k5 was his favorite right into the 90s..strange coincidence. Anyway, I see front HD springs on the list..the body repairs are not rot, its from getting pounded.

  9. Anthony

    Pretty cool,why the hell do they get so rusty though? My friends have had them through the years and even the nicest ones seem to have rust somewhere.

    1. Craig Fitzgerald

      They get rusty for a couple of reasons:

      They’re barely painted on the outside, let alone protected inside or underneath. There are places under the hood where the primer has been showing through since the truck was built.

      They have all kinds of shelves and nooks and crannies where sand and salt collects.

      The combination is deadly.

  10. Chip Walker

    Buddy of mine had a GMC Jimmy that Is almost the same Except Red Interior and Auto. He pulled the small block In favor of a 396 punched out to 402, It helped smooth out the ride with the extra weight, Also he has the rally’s with 31 and he found out they are the worst wheel Chevy made 3 of his were bent same with his monty he sold me but he replaced the wheels on the Monty for some Keystones.

  11. William Robinson

    Great to see one of these trucks from a salty climate that is still decent. I read about this truck on your blog and was a bit disapointed when there where no more posts (of any kind) being put up. I liked your blog and am happy that your appreciated here. And hey where’s that CLUNKER NATION sticker?

  12. Tony

    Ooooh will see more updates soon or will this just be a tease like the rest of the projects on here….? I likes it a lot.

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