American Metal is the focus of this issue. And what better way to showcase American Metal than to trail ride in a topless Blazer? John Giguere's truck is an ideal example of the type of ride that lets the good times roll - a tricked truck that's both functional and eye-catching
When you scope out the images on these pages, it should be obvious that a whole lot of work went into this Blazer during its three-year-long buildup. What may not be obvious is the extreme level of detail showcased on this wonderfully customized 4x4. For example, the Bow Tie's reconstruction began with deconstruction - right down to the bare chassis. The frame was sandblasted, the unused holes in the framerails were filled, and the frame was painted orange with a gloss clearcoat. Pittsfield, Massachussets-based Berkshire Auto gets credit for the chassis' cosmetic improvements.
With the Chevy's frame detailed, Giguere turned his attention to the axles and the suspension. An '80s vintage 14-bolt Corporate rear axle equipped with disc brakes was stuffed with 4.56 cogs and a Detroit Locker; a disc brake-shod Dana 60 1-ton axle was prepped for frontend duty with the installation of a 4.56 gearset. The suspension is plenty trick for any truck, let alone an SUV that's nearly three decades old: front and rear multilink with 14-inch-long Carrera coilover shocks. Giguere designed and scratch-built the entire link suspension system, which features tubular aluminum link arms and massive Heim joints. The steering system, which was also engineered by the talented Mr. Giguere, is based on an OE 2WD box and features crossover linkage, which is used to reduce bumpsteer, accommodate the tall suspension lift, and keep the steering response accurate during suspension travel.
The Blazer's Weld Racing wheels are beautifully polished and of strong forged construction. The Typhoon alloys measure 16.5x14 inches, which is an ideal size for the quartet of hyper-aggressive 39x18.5x16.5 Super Swamper Bogger tires.
As to the engine choice for his radical ride, Giguere opined, "Why go with a Mouse when you can have the big cheese - a 502ci Rat?" And we wholeheartedly agree. The engine is a basic GM Performance Parts crate engine displacing 502 ci and pumping out nearly 500 ponies, thanks to the General's well-chosen combination of a performance camshaft, stout compression ratio, and high-flow cylinder heads. An Arizona Speed & Marine tuned-port injection system feeds the big-block's voracious appetite.
In regard to the sheetmetal, when Giguere originally purchased the Blazer in September, 1991, the price was $1,000, and the 4x4's body was in rough - very rough - shape. However, the condition of the sheetmetal wasn't a problem for Giguere, because this Lanesboro resident is an expert at body and paint repair - he's the owner of Berkshire Auto in Pittsfield, Massachussets. With the help of Paul Merriam and John Gilmore, the Blazer's dented, rippled, and damaged skin was made straight. However, much of the Blazer's exterior body succumbed to the ravages of time, hence new OE bumpers, fenders, wheeltubs, door handles, and taillights were installed. After the Blazer's skin and trim was made near perfect, Giguere mixed up a batch of DuPont Hugger Orange Chroma Base and sprayed away. After the sun-kissed color was dry, Giguere squirted on multiple coats of DuPont clear to seal the deal.
As with the exterior, the SUV's interior was completely refurbished. Giguere added Auto Meter gauges, a JVC stereo, and a Grant Signature Series steering wheel attached to a swapped-in tilt steering column. Ken's Upholstery stitched the Dodge Charger seats with black and orange covering and layed down new OE black carpet.
As previously noted, John and Margaret Giguere's Blazer is an ideal vehicle to celebrate the 'wheeling season. The vintage SUV's visual appeal is amazing, and its mechanical underpinnings define power and strength. Let's just say the Giguere's Bow Tie is one sweet ride.
|Make/model ||'72 Chevrolet Blazer 4x4 |
|Owner/hometown ||John and Margaret Giguere/Lanesboro, Massachussets |
|Engine ||502 ci/500hp GM big-block crate motor with Arizona Speed & Marine tuned-port injection |
|Transmission ||TH 400 |
|Transfer case ||New Process 205 |
|Axles/differentials ||Dana 60 (front), Corporate 14-bolt (rear); |
|Suspension ||Custom front and rear four-link with Carrera coilover shocks; 12-inch lift |
|Wheels/tires ||Weld Racing Typhoon (16.5x14); Super Swamper Boggers (39.5x18.5x16.5) |