A Hill’s Hot Rods–Crafted ’74 K5 Blazer
By Fuelish Media
Owning a Blazer like this requires a lot more than just a bag full of cash. Well, of course, a substantial amount of expendable money would help someone pay to have one delivered to his or her home, but there are other, more important characteristics that dictate the success of a finished project. Pride is definitely one important part of the equation. Style is another. Without the combination of the latter two points, money might be able to buy some kind of questionable-looking status symbol but it most likely won’t come out this damn good.
Jaime Medrano of Carlsbad, New Mexico, is the owner of this ’74 Chevy K5 Blazer, and you’d better believe that he has both pride and style for miles. The monetary aspect of getting this truck done is relatable to how the majority of custom truck owners would be able to afford it—by hard work, saving up, and scouting out the right shops to lend a helping hand. Jaime has had a longtime affinity for classic Chevy trucks, and it is that appreciation for how cool these trucks are, even in bone-stock condition, that has lit the fire underneath him to do what needed to be done in order to own one of the slickest Blazers around.
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“My dad bought me a brand-new Squarebody back in 1975”, Jamie proudly says. “I drove it to high school, through my time in the Marine Corps, and all the way up until my son totaled it. I have always liked this style of Chevy truck, and hoped one day I would have a chance to own another one.”
For years, Jaime had daydreamed of finding a K5 Blazer that could take the place of the Chevy truck that had meant so much to him years ago. After some time spent shopping around online for an ideal project to purchase, he finally tracked one down—only to find that the listing was marked “sold” shortly after he discovered it. As heartbreaking as that sounds, just wait until you hear this. A few days later, Jaime was on his way home only to find that the K5 he thought he missed out on was sitting there in his driveway. “My wife, Peggy, surprised me with the truck,” he says excitedly. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. The truck was a clean older build that the previous family had enjoyed for many years. I was happy that our family could be its next owners, and I already had a lot of big plans for its future.”
Jaime is a welder by trade, and he was just itching to put his expertise to work on his new K5 project. To start, he was looking to lower the height of the factory 2WD Blazer dramatically utilizing the stock frame, so he ordered a GSI Fabrication front air-ride and crossmember kit and figured out a custom back-half setup that he could easily assemble on his own. Next, Jaime collected Firestone ’bags and Monroe shocks for each corner, along with AccuAir air management components to bring it all together. Wilwood 14-inch front and 11-inch rear brake kits then replaced the factory components, and a set of killer Boyd Coddington 22×8.5 and 24×15 wheels wrapped in 255/35ZR22 and 405/25ZR24 Pirelli P Zero Nero tires were combined and bolted into place.
With a complete rolling chassis now intact, Jaime realized that the next steps in completing his Blazer would require some additional assistance. “I said that if I ever had a custom truck built by a shop that I would want it done at Hill’s Hot Rods. Well, that time finally arrived, and Jaime knew exactly who to call.
The next phase of the build process included Hill’s permanently sinking a GM Performance 525hp 6.2L crate engine that was tuned by Lonestar Performance. To improve upon the overall looks and performance of this powerplant, GC Cooling provided a new aluminum radiator and fan, Billet Specialties sent a set of billet valve covers, and Whipple was sourced for a 2.9 supercharger to make driving this truck much more exciting. Further upping the ante for maximum performance gains, Speed Engineering headers and a Borla 3-inch stainless exhaust system along with an XR-1 Sportsman muffler get the job done. The GM Performance transmission and the custom driveshaft from Driveline Express, in Lubbock, came together to help propel the Blazer down the highway.
Once the engine was well taken care of, the K5’s exterior was artistically handcrafted by Jason Hill and the rest of his crew. From shaving the firewall and fabricating bead rolled detailing within the engine compartment to the hidden fuel filler behind the taillight, the smoothed, complete top and the PPG Viper Red paint, the guys didn’t waste any time to start whipping the Blazer’s nearly 50-year-old body into winning condition. Slosh Tubz was contacted to provide their wheeltubs at both ends and Classic Parts of America was asked to deliver their OEM replacement headlights, taillights, outer mirrors, and door handles, as well as the front and rear bumpers that Hill’s then tightened and tucked for a cleaner appearance. Mar-K’s body side molding kit was utilized to restore some of the Blazer’s original styling cues, and when it came time to replace the OE glass, a Fesler flush-mount windshield kit and One Piece Products flush-mount side glass packages have been combined to create a smoother façade than ever before.
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To bring the interior space up to speed, Mario’s Trim Shop was recruited to cover the Snowden 22-inch bucket seats in a custard-colored Ultraleather upholstery that also adorns the factory dash, the custom door panels and center console, as well as parts and pieces all throughout the cab. Classic Parts of America stepped again to provide a dash insert and “OE” direct-fit gauges, and Forever Sharp sent over a one-off covered steering wheel to round out the clean yet custom touches experienced from the driver seat.
Vintage Air A/C will keep things cool inside the cab, and a full Kicker sound system installed by JD Glassworks in Lubbock will surely keep Jaime wide awake during long cruises to shows. One might wonder where all the audio components have been stashed throughout the interior. Well, the rear portion of the floor has been raised for utility sake and has been finished off with a BedWood Carbon Series Retroliner wood flooring to seal the deal on the interior refresh.
The well-polished finished product here is a result of knowing exactly what you want in the form of a heavily customized custom truck. Jaime’s daydreaming and hard work that he poured into the project, along with all the spot-on fabwork from Hill’s Hot Rods, and everyone else who had a hand in the build is proof of that. “I wanted the baddest K5 Blazer around, …” Jaime says “… and I feel that I have that now.”
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Loose Change.