It’s hard to imagine the past lives of trucks that presently look as good as Kevin Hoult’s 1972 K5 Blazer does. Kevin informed us that he had tried to buy this truck for nearly 20 years before he finally succeeded. He also shared that the entire time he was trying to get his hands on the Blazer, it was actively rotting away in the middle of a field with no shelter or hands on it to help preserve what was left of it. That’s just how it goes sometimes.
Before this story gets too far away too soon, Kevin wished to give his account of how he came to acquire his dream truck, and how the process went while transforming it to immaculate condition. Thanks to Kevin’s dad, Horace, who instilled the passion of restoring classic muscle cars at an early age, he developed an eye for classic vehicles and recognized the potential they had – even in lowly, rundown conditions. “I knew of this Blazer for decades”, Kevin says. “It belonged to my father’s good friend, Mr. Herman Batts. Mr. Batts and his wife were avid car collectors and would never miss an opportunity to visit a local car show or swap meet to hunt for old car parts and memorabilia.”
Kevin had always coveted Mr. Batts’ Blazer, and each and every time he asked to buy the truck, the discussion was always dropped. “Once I graduated college and got a ‘real’ job, I became more adamant about asking Herman to put a price on his Blazer”, Kevin says. “You’d think 20 years’ worth of constant rejection would’ve stopped me from asking about it, but I never gave up hope. It wasn’t until 8 years ago at the annual Point Mallard car show in Decatur, Alabama, when I asked again, and he finally put a price on the Blazer! I couldn’t believe that he finally agreed to sell it to me, and luckily, I had the money to purchase it the very next day – before he had a chance to back out of the deal.”
Even though Kevin would’ve loved to take ownership of the Blazer years ago, the timing seemed ideal now that his son, Kevin, and daughter, Nyla, were old enough to help with the project – starting with loading it up on a trailer and extracting it from Mr. Batts’ field. “Having my kids around to help me with the truck really has been a joyous experience”, Kevin admits. “They’ve been around to load and unload it many times off of the trailer as well as give me a hand around the shop.”
Now, the shop is a place where Kevin feels extremely comfortable. He has been rebuilding cars for just over 20 years, and with a pretty cool ’69 Camaro pro-touring build and a killer ’51 Chevy 5-window truck already on his resume, nobody had any doubt about what he was capable of doing with the K5 – not even Mr. Batts. Once the Blazer was in his shop space, Kevin was able to give it a deeper look, and was able to come to the conclusion that its condition was rougher than he had first expected. “It was going to require a full restoration due to its poor shape”, Kevin states. “The entire front clip was rusted, and both doors were going to have to be replaced, as was a portion of the quarter. It definitely needed a lot of love, but I was ready for it.”
To give his project a surge of positive energy right out of the gate, Kevin reached out to David Von Patton at Restoration Rejuvenation as well as Michael Kirby and Chuck Hill at Tiger Body & Paint to help whip the K5’s exterior back into shape. The entirety of the front sheet metal had to be replaced, and CPI Truck Parts was there to provide everything needed for the repair work. The Blazer was not only repaired, however, but was heavily upgraded with a sliding 40×70 Legacy ragtop, Marquez Designs taillights, a smooth rear bumper from Cooper Restorations, United Pacific mirrors, fresh wood grain molding, and a fresh coat of glossy black PPG paint. Its time had finally come.
Next, the Blazer’s frame was up next to receive some much-needed attention. “After cleaning it up and replacing key components where needed, I realized that the stance was just not low enough”, Kevin says. “I then ordered Porterbuilt level 3 front and rear suspension packages, so I’d be able to run a full air ride and really get the level of low I was after.” As a result of going so much lower than anticipated led to the need for front inner fender tubs by Hart Fab and rear mini tubs by Self-Made Fab, which have since been incorporated nicely into the Blazer’s finished result.
New brake packages from AZ Pro Performance complete with Corvette C5 style master cylinder and booster along with a Wilwood proportioning valve guaranteed the K5 could now boast impressive stopping power. To top off the Blazer’s slick new stance, 22-inch wheels from Raceline were bolted up to give it the true appearance of a slammed street machine.
To further increase the K5’s on-road prowess, Kevin then called on Dutton Performance to first track down a 2002 Chevy LQ4 engine then outfit it with a solid assemblage of products to boost its power and torque output as well as to transform the truck into a reliable mode of transportation once again. The Blazer is well equipped with more go-fast accessories than the average 51-year-old K5 still on the road, but that was the whole point from the beginning based on Kevin’s outlook of rehabbing old, cast aside vehicles.
Kevin then arranged for a complete overhaul inside of the cabin space with the assistance of Speegle’s Custom Upholstery Shop. One-off front bucket seats and a rear bench seat were lined up and expertly wrapped in red vinyl upholstery, as was the majority of the interior panels and dash area. The entirety of the interior was upgraded in one way or another from the Dakota Digital gauges, full audio and A/C systems, knobs, pedals, handles and a whole lot more. It really is an ideal space to spend a good chunk of time in when out for a cruise.
In a matter of 5 years off and on, Kevin was finally able to conclude the reinvention of the K5 he had patiently waited so long to take ownership of. In honor of its past longtime owner Mr. Batts, Kevin affectionately named the Blazer Herman. While he did plan on owning it in its completed form long into the foreseeable future, Tony Causor did approach Kevin with an offer he simply could not refuse. Now in Tony’s hands, it was relocated from Alabama to Southern California, where it fits right in as a family cruiser.
It’s hard to keep them all, and Kevin has some pretty important vehicles lined up in front of him to get to, such as a 2-door Tahoe, ’62 Bubble Top Impala, and another ’69 Camaro. While his time with the K5 was much more enjoyable and memorable than he had ever anticipated, he can finally check it off his bucket list and move onto the next automotive adventures in front of him.
KEVIN HOULT • ‘72 K5 BLAZER
- 2002 Chevy LQ4 stock engine
- Texas Speed Magic Stick III cam
- Machine work by Dutton Performance, Wellington, AL
- Engine assembly by owner and tuned by Lane Culvert and Jay Turner
- Holley mid-mount accessory drive kit and valve covers
- Aluminum radiator
- FAST LS6 105mm intake
- Stainless LS1 shorty headers
- 3-inch exhaust system w/ Borla mufflers
- Scott’ s Performance spark plug wires
- 2002 Chevy Camaro transmission
- LS7 clutch, flywheel, and disc
- Hurst shifter
- Custom driveshaft
- Porterbuilt Level 3 front and rear Dropmember kits
- CPP modular drop spindles
- Rack and pinion steering
- Front Air Lift Dominator 2600 ‘bags, rear Firestone F-9000 ‘bags
- KYB shocks
- Narrowed 1972 Blazer 12-bolt rear end w/ limited slip differential
- AZ Pro Performance 14-inch front and 13-inch rear big brake kits
- Corvette C5 style master cylinder and booster
- Lokar pedal assembly
- Wilwood proportioning valve
- Chrome tilt steering column
- Tanks Inc. fuel cell
- 22x8.5 and 22x12 Raceline Executive wheels
- 255/30/22 and 325/35/22 Pirelli tires
- 40x70 Legacy sliding ragtop
- Shaved gas filler and vent cowl
- Front inner fender tubs by Hart Fab
- Rear mini tubs by Self-Made Fab
- All front sheetmetal replaced and provided by CPI Trucks, Roanoke, AL
- Body and paintwork by David Van Patton at Restoration Rejuvenation, Heflin, AL; Michael Kirby and Chuck Hill at Tiger Paint & Body, Auburn, AL; Grady of Jacksonville, AL
- PPG Black 9700 paint
- Marquez Designs billet taillights
- United Pacific outer mirrors with LED turn signals
- Cooper Restorations smooth rear bumper
- All-aluminum chrome by Mack at Chrome It!, Atlanta, GA
- Marquez Designs vinyl dash and door panels
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Vintage Air Gen IV A/C
- Shelby-style steering wheel
- Alan Griffin Design seats w/ red vinyl upholstery by Speegle Custom Upholstery, Cullman, AL
- Custom Auto Sound head unit
- NVX component speakers
- Kicker 10-inch subwoofer
- Audio installed by owner and Wizard Car Audio, Oxford, AL
- American Audio and LS Rebel wiring harness installed by owner and Lane Culvert