Chris Mitchell of Peoria, Arizona, is no stranger to nicely restored classic cars and trucks. He has built some of the nicest in the Valley of the Sun. Best of all, he is not afraid to drive them – and drive them hard. In his words, “They are built to run, and I RUN ’em!” That brings this 1972 Chevy Blazer to mind. Built with classic style and stance, he combines that with a heavy lean toward performance, which makes for a ride worthy of an amusement park.
It all began in 2009 when he saw the truck in pieces at his friend’s garage. It had been there for over a decade, but had no rust and had been partially disassembled. For Chris, it was a must-have, so he coaxed his friend to take his $6,500 cash for it. That began an 18-month project that coaxed another $33,500 from him to create the black beauty featured here. A true project in every sense because the only things not loaded in the back of it were the frame and body.
Work began as soon as it hit the driveway, completing the disassembly and sending the undercarriage for sandblasting and powdercoating. Although not part of the original plan, he ended up going through the whole truck piece by piece. He ordered glass, bolts, rubber, brackets; just about everything that could be ordered in time for reassembly. The crew at Shorty’s Speed Shop in Phoenix (Mike, Alex Sr. and Jr.) all helped with the sometimes-tedious parts of the build. At the same time, the body was sent to “Mondo” of El Camino Customs also in Phoenix, where it was stripped bare and prepped for color.
Like love at first sight, the allure of a tight paintjob, will usually attract a classic guy in like a tractor beam. This truck has pull like the Death Star, with its near flawless paint, shot in PPG Jet Black. The deep base is protected by over 3 gallons of clear. In total, the truck was in paint and body for about eight months. Most of us know that when you see paint that has a seemingly endless amount of reflection, you’re a witness to the prep and finish work of the bodyman/painter. Mondo has a 20-plus year rolling history of Arizona rides with that “wet” look, and that couldn’t be more evident eyeing the side this Blazer.
A stunning paintjob can take your breath away, but raw power is a heart stopper. When Chris first got the truck back together, it had a blown 454. The truck had plenty of go and show, but it was next to impossible to keep it cool. One of the major factors of this build was the ability to go year-round with A/C, and be a blast to drive. The hot motor, A/C, and blower proved too much for the 454, so on to plan B.
Now, a quick glance under the fiberglass cowl hood triggers two immediate brain impulses. The first being an artful fusion of billet, chrome, and speed metal. The next impulse – HAVING to hear it run! Built by the legendary Chuck’s Speed Shop in Phoenix, the motivational speaker is now a 2005 Ram Jet 502 that creates an earth-pounding 502hp at 5,200 rpm. These guys took a GMPP unit, blueprinted and balanced it with forged internals, and threw in a dual-pattern (.527-inch/.544-inch exhaust) lift cam for fun. The results? How does an unleashed 567 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm’s sound? Sick? Of course, power means nothing if it’s not transmitted to the ground. A Hughes 700-R4 trans followed by a narrowed 9-inch were built to handle any power surge from the driver. A true dual 3-inch exhaust with Hooker headers and Flowmaster 40-series mufflers deliver the sweet sound of American muscle.
The frame and suspension were just as well thought out as any other part of this truck. Up front, it starts with a custom crossmember and 4-inch drop spindles. The rear has a 4-inch spring drop and a C-notch with body tubs all built by Mike at Shorty’s Speed. He also fabricated a four-link that cages the 9-inch differential. The wheels and tires are also a key factor in the end result – Chris wisely chose a set of Coys C5s. The front wheels are 20x9 wrapped in 255/35R20 BFG rubber. In the rear, are massive 20x15 deeps sporting Mickey Thompson 29/18R20 meats. Selecting billet wheels for a classic truck can be tricky, but these absolutely fit the bill.
Chris kept the clean factory layout, while upgrading where it made sense. For instance, A Cool Air unit replaced the factory unit for the blazing summers, while Dakota Digital gauges keep track of all engine vital signs, in the factory-style bezel. The bucket seats were done in the definitive black and white houndstooth pattern by Mike at Shorty’s Speed Shop. A custom fiberglass console houses a B&M ratchet shifter along with a Clarion head and pre-amp units with the rear boxed and loaded with four MTX 15-inch subs powered by two JL Audio 1,000-watt amps. The Blazer’s combination of massive engine and audio system can, and does, literally move you. The finished product is a sound rodstoration that’s a real head turner. Chris drives it anytime he can and is not afraid to take the long way home. Can you blame him?
“Like love at first sight, the allure of a tight paintjob, will usually attract a classic guy in like a tractor beam. This truck has pull like the Death Star, with its near flawless paint, shot in PPG Jet Black.”
Frame: modified stock, C-notch, custom crossmembers
Rearend / Ratio: 9-inch Ford / 3.23:1
Rear suspension: coilover
Rear brakes: Baer disc
Front suspension: Classic Performance Parts IFS, 4-inch drop
Front brakes: 13-inch Baer disc
Steering box: power
Front wheels: Coys Five Star, 20x9
Rear wheels: Coys Five Star, 20x15
Front tires: Mickey Thompson, 255/35R20
Rear tires: Mickey Thompson 29/18R20
Gas tank: rear-mount
Engine: ’05 GMPP Ram Jet 502
Heads: Edelbrock aluminum
Valve covers: GMPP
Manifold / Induction: GM / EFI
Exhaust / Mufflers: stainless, 3-inch / Flowmaster
Transmission: Hughes 700-R4
Style: 2WD Blazer
Modifications: relocated fuel filler
Fenders front / rear: stock
Bodywork and paint by: El Camino Customs, Phoenix
Paint type / Color: PPG / black
Headlights / Taillights: HID / LED
Outside mirrors: aftermarket
Dashboard: modified stock
Gauges: Dakota Digital
Air conditioning: Cool Air
Stereo: Clarion / JL Audio / MTX
Steering wheel: custom
Steering column: ididit
Upholstery by: Shorty’s Speed Shop
Material / Color: houndstooth / black and white