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Next In Line

by Fuelish Media

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Ric Bravo’s dad owned this truck before he did. He purchased it brand new for $3,500 back in ’72 from O’Reily Chevrolet in Tucson, AZ. Could you imagine buying one of these off the lot for under $4K? Anyway, Ric’s dad took good care of the truck over the years, and it became a regular part of the family, as it was present for a lot of important family milestones spanning over two generations. 

“This truck was my dad’s first vehicle that he purchased brand new”, Ric says. “He brought me home from the hospital in it after I was born, and as I grew older, he taught me how to wrench on it.” It’s obvious that this Blazer had been a big part of Ric’s childhood, and is the vehicle that originally got him to take notice of cool cars during his upbringing. In the back of his mind, Ric thought that when he was finally old enough to drive, maybe his dad would kick down the keys and let him enjoy the Blazer too. For a kid his age, that would be about the best thing ever. 

As soon as Ric got his license, do you think his dad end up giving him the Blazer? No way! The Blazer belonged to pops – that was his truck, and he was still enjoying driving it too much to give away. “I know my dad loved his Blazer, so I understood why he wanted to keep it. He did get me a ’72 Chevy pickup to drive though, so that was cool. There was just no chance he was letting go of his prized possession.” 

Even though Ric had his own cool truck to drive around during his early years on the road, he never really got over not getting the Blazer. It wasn’t until 2010, that he was finally able to make it happen though. “The Blazer was still running when I finally pried it from my dad’s clutches. He had racked up more than 400,000 miles on that 307, but it just got to the point where he wasn’t driving it around as much”, Ric says. “The Blazer’s original Hugger Orange paint still looked decent enough, and with it being a base model 2WD with a three-on-the-tree, I felt that a good amount of updates were required in order to meet my current standards.” 

Luckily for everyone who also loved the Blazer, Ric’s standards rank pretty high, and he figured that nothing was too good for his dad’s old truck. “I started work on the truck almost as soon as I got it. I had a vision of how it could look one day, and I didn’t want to waste any time.” The rebuild did take seven years to complete – definitely not a quick turn and burn situation, but Ric had to make sure everything was done right. 

Now that Ric had taken ownership of his dad’s Blazer, he was now responsible for following through on its restoration. “The most important part of the whole process was scouting out the right talent to help make the dream come true”, Ric admits. One shop that proved to be particularly invaluable was Weld County Kustomz, who first assisted in pulling the Blazer’s tired engine and trans out and swapping in a much more willing and able 2004 6.0L LS engine and 4L80E transmission combination. To make things more interesting, WCK then upgraded the LS with a healthy offering of top shelf performance parts to make the most of the swap. 

Next, Ric wanted to lower the Blazer’s factory suspension height, and opted to outfit the stock frame with a Porterbuilt front Dropmember system as well as a rear C-notch. CPP spindles and Slam Specialties ‘bags were incorporated to bring the Blazer down much lower than it was. The new suspension now lets it sit comfortably over the set of 20-inch Detroit Steel wheels that were covered in Toyo Tires with custom whitewalls.

Even though Ric grew fond of the Blazer’s OG orange painted finish, the time had come to give the exterior some much-needed TLC. Weld County Kustomz handled some of the bodywork where they could, and Drew Brothers Customs joined the party to finish the job. Under their watch, the truck’s signals were shaved, and a ’67 Chevy pickup front clip was put together, including an all-original hood and grille. To give the front end a modern spin, LED headlights were wired up for the best in nighttime illumination. Smoothed front and rear bumpers from Cooper Restorations were also incorporated into the restyling to further the streamlining process. 

Getting the paint color just right was of utmost importance since Ric wanted to run with whatever color it was to be under the hood and inside the cabin as well. Chris Harris of Drew Brothers Customs helped select the hue, and, man, they landed on a good one. PPG Chrysler Blue ended up speaking to them the most, and for good reason. It’s cool. It’s clean. It’s classic. Combined with the right contrasting details and accessories, the color would soon prove to be one of the Blazer’s most striking assets. 

Ric wanted very much for the interior to be just as perfect as the exterior was shaping up to be. One of the most notable changes here is a ’59 Impala steel dash, that was made to fit along with an Impala steering wheel. For the rest of the work inside of the Blazer, Ric contacted Frank Ceballos of Ceballos Customs to join the team to orchestrate a full on symphony of upholstery and audio work. Plush is the one of the few words in the English language that truly captures the essence of the craftsmanship on display with the Blazer’s interior work. 

Did all of this happen overnight? Hell no! It took Ric nearly half his life just to get the keys to his dad’s Blazer, let alone spend what was almost an additional decade to have it customized to this caliber. There were some sacrifices made to make sure the truck reached its pinnacle in that time, but in the end they were all worth it. 

“I really wanted to be able to drive my own son home in the truck after he was born, just like my dad was able to do with me, but it just wasn’t ready in time”, Ric shares. “Everything ended up taking way longer than excepted but I realize there is no rushing quality. My favorite memory with the truck so far, however, was in 2018 when I was able to drive my son, wife, and father to the Goodguys show in Scottsdale. Now, that was a special trip I will never forget.” 

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Ric Bravo • ‘72 Blazer
  • 2004 LS 6.0L 
  • Engine install and custom air cleaner by Weld County Kustomz
  • MSD ignition 
  • American Autowire wiring 
  • Custom stainless 2-½-inch headers 
  • Moroso hi-flow 2-½ inch mufflers 
  • Dirty Dingo accessory drive 
  • 2004 4L80E transmission
  • Original frame
  • Porterbuilt Stage II front Dropmember, rack & pinion, C-notch
  • CPP Spindles, Corvette master cylinder 
  • Frame smoothed, boxed and powdercoated black
  • Stainless steel plumbing 
  • Slam Specialties ‘bags 
  • Wilwood 14-inch brakes and proportioning valve 
  • Monroe shocks 
  • Ford 9-inch rearend 
  • 20×9 and 20×10 Detroit Steel Mob Steel wheels 
  • 255/40/20 and 275/35/20 Toyo Proxes tires / Diamondback white walls
  • Bodywork by Drew Brothers Customs & Weld County Kustomz 
  • Paint by Chris Harris @ Drew Brothers 
  • PPG Chrysler Blue 
  • Shaved signal lights, ’67 Chevy front clip 
  • LED headlights and taillights 
  • 1962 Chevy Impala outside mirrors / interior mirror 
  • Cooper Restorations smoothed front & rear bumpers 
  • Stock chromed door handles 
  • 1959 Impala steel dash
  • Classic Instruments gauges 
  • Reduced 1959 Impala 15-inch steering wheel 
  • Stock seats modified w/ Snowden foam kit 
  • 1959 Impala OEM upholstery and Prodigy Cosmic blue accent
  • Custom door panels and center console 
  • MB Quart GMR2 3-inch round source unit, 4-channel amp, 6.5 and 6×9 speakers, 10-inch subwoofer 
  • Interior and stereo install by Frank Ceballos at Ceballos Customs

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