The late 60s and early 70s were a great time for sportier full-size off-road SUVs such as the International Scout and Ford Bronco. In 1969 Chevy introduced its smallest full-size SUV, the K5 Blazer, which quickly started outselling its more established competitors solidifying its place in history. Fast forward to now and the American classic is now a sought-after base for customizers looking to breathe new life into the storied SUV. John Condor is one such customizer, seeing potential in the K5 he fondly remembers his grandfather owning.
The nostalgia of the K5 coupled with the family connection has made it the perfect platform when it came down to choosing a new vehicle to dress up. Growing up in Las Vegas, NV, John knows the glitz and glamor all too well given the City That Never Sleeps is his playground. He went from fixing up VWs to imports before switching over to 4x4s, so he’s accustomed to wrenching on all styles of rides. “I’ve been around different car clubs since I was 16, so I’ve seen it all,” he details about his background.
For this retrofit, he decided on a K5 Blazer so that his daughter could ride along when he’d hit the town for a cruising session. After attending the infamous Chevy-only truck show Dinos Git Down in 2017, he knew exactly how he wanted it to turn out when it was all said and done – slammed to the ground and barely gliding over the pavement. As soon as he bought the shell in Cali, he immediately dropped it off at Airth Defined Hot Rods in Vegas for the restoration.
To get the dropped stance proper, he installed a full AccuAir ENDO CVT air bag set up and paired it with a Porterbuilt Stage 3 suspension for more performance and comfier ride. The wheel wells are filled with 20” Detroit Steel Wheel Delrays wrapped in Nitto NT555G2 tires. With the stance already taken care of, performance was the next focus. John went with an LS3 engine with 6-speed automatic transmission, custom Magnaflow exhaust by 6651 Customs in Vegas and Wilwood brake system and their Hydroboost upgrade kit. A Vintage Air climate system and Vintage Air Front Runner drive system were also installed to eliminate the kind of harmonic vibration that can often destroy a conventional engine drive bracket.
John wanted to keep the classic lines of the Blazer but flawlessly switched up the front end with a 1968 C10 front-end conversion for a unique look, Self Made Fab sheet metal fenders and powder coated frame and components were done by 6651 Customs. Bringing the exterior all together was the Audi Nardo Gray and Glacier white paint job by Airth Defined that John really loves and feels it gives the K5 something extra special.
Inside sports Dakota Digital Gauges, custom Interior by Kevin at Dream Upholstery in Vegas, Retrosound head unit, and Billet Specialties steering wheel. He listens to his favorite oldies on a JL Audio system by Andrew Evans at Fabricated Audio in Las Vegas.
Perfection and attention to detail don’t happen overnight when you’re building a custom at this level. John had to wait four long years until he and his daughter were able to cruise in his beloved K5 Blazer. Now, his favorite part is seeing people’s reactions to it when they see him behind the wheel. When he’s not taking it out for quick spins in Sin City, he’s showing it off at various events, where it’s admired by show-goers. “It’s definitely the cleanest build that I‘ve done right now. But stay tuned for more because I have something else planned for the near future that’s going to be as big!”
1972 CHEVY K5 BLAZER
OWNER: JOHN CONDOR
• LS3 with 6-speed auto
• Wilwood Big Brake Kit and Wilwood Hydrobost kit
• Magna flow exhaust by 6651 customs In Vegas
• Full Porterbuilt Stage 3 Suspension
• Full AccuAir ENDO CVT air suspension
• Vintage Air Front Runner Kit
• 20×11 rear and 20×9 front Detroit Steel Wheel Company Delrays
• 305/30R20 rear and 255/35R20 front Nitto NT555 G2 Tires
• 1968 C10 front end
• Audi Nardo Gray and Glacier white paint
• Paint and Body by Alejandro at Airth Defined
• Self Made Fab sheet metal fenders
• Full powder coated frame and components by 6651 Customs
• Custom Clear Bra by Team Acme in Henderson, NV
• All United Pacific lighting
• Relocated full filler behind side marker light
• Full custom Interior by Kevin at Dream Upholstery in Vegas
• Vintage Air Climate Control System
• Dakota Digital Gauges
• Billet Specialties Steering Wheel
• RetroSound Head Unit
• Complete JL Audio Stereo by Andrew Evans at Fabricated Audio in Las Vegas