Life today is substantially different than it was when our parents and grandparents were growing up. Back then, things were made to last, and that's exactly what the people that used them wanted. Today, however, items from the past are often disregarded and replaced with the latest and greatest. This scenario is especially true of the trucks and vehicles from bygone eras. Yet, for one man, Jay Rich of Harold, Texas, items from the past are just as good, if not better than today's selections. So when we learned that Jay would rather restore his '70 Chevy Fullsize Blazer rather than run out and purchase a new one, we had to see his work of art for ourselves. Upon further investigation, Jay's true colors as a purveyor of vintage Chevy trucks came to light as we stared at a couple of Blazers from the '70s and an old 3/4-ton Chevy truck.
Since the buildup would be considered a frame-off restoration, Jay stripped the chassis down to bare metal. After a quick trip to the bead blaster, the frame was painted factory black and set aside until the remaining panels and parts were completed. Opting for the factory color, Jimmy's Paint and Body in nearby Vernon, Texas, applied the OEM light-red paint followed by a few layers of clearcoat. As the truck was being rebuilt, all emblems and chromed parts were either replaced or re-plated.
With the chassis looking as though it just rolled off the factory line, Jay focused on the suspension. An avid off-roader, Jay wished to retain the factory ride quality but still be able to go wherever he wanted. After much research and discussions with his fellow off-roaders, he elected to replace the factory suspension with a 6-inch Skyjacker Softride kit complete with Explorer Pro Comp shocks. By installing the kit, Jay was able to run 35x15.50x16.5 Super Swampers mounted on wide 16.5x12-inch painted steel rims. This rim and tire combination proved to be the ideal setup for the river washes in Jay's area, shown as we floated atop the sand and gravel fields.
Not wanting to go overboard and disrupt the overall integrity of the vehicle, Jay retained the stock '70 350-cid Chevy V-8 powerplant. However, he did upgrade some key components to reflect present-day technology. An Edelbrock Performer manifold with a 750-cfm Quadrajet carburetor sitting atop it was installed along with a Crane camshaft and Magnum roller tipped rockers. A set of 2-1/2-inch Mr. Gasket aluminum-coated headers was mated to a Flowmaster exhaust system in an effort to expel the spent gases while at the same time provide a much deeper voice for the rig. The remainder of the drivetrain was taken from a '78 3/4-ton Chevy truck, which Jay had on his property. The rearend of the Blazer is the factory 14-bolt model with a 4.10 ring-and-pinion ratio.
To complete this rebuild, the interior was also redone and now has a '94 Chevy 60/40 front bench seat complete with custom-fabricated mounting hardware. Once the new front seat was bolted in place, the entire interior was reupholstered by A&A Upholstery of Wichita Falls, Texas. Of course, the high-powered Kenwood sound system Jay installed is enough to leave you without hearing for a few days.
The last we checked, Jay and his Blazer have managed to take home an impressive four First Place awards from truck jamborees as far away as Oklahoma City for various class championships, which include Best of Show and Best Street Class.
|Owner/hometown ||: ||Jay Rich/Harold, Texas |
|Make/model ||: ||'70 Chevrolet Blazer |
|Suspension ||: ||6-inch GM Skyjacker |
|Softride lift kit |
|Tires ||: ||35x15.50x16.5 Super |
|Wheels ||: ||16.5x12 painted steel |
|Shocks ||: ||Explorer Pro Comp |
|(front and rear) |
|Engine ||: ||350-cid Chevrolet V-8 |
|Additional features ||: ||Custom late-model |
|bench seat; Kenwood |
|Audio system; |
|Edelbrock Performer |
|manifold; Crane |
|Camshaft; Flowmaster |