We all have a dream vehicle. For some, it might be some luxurious supercar or something exotic like that. For others, a vehicle much simpler sits at the top. Just because someone’s dream vehicle is more attainable than another’s doesn’t mean that getting their hands on one is any easier, though.
Meet JD Conder, a business owner out of Las Vegas. JD has been interested in custom cars and trucks since he was first able to drive – about 25 years or so now. In that time, he has developed a taste for classic American pickups, but his eyes were always drawn to the first gen K5 Blazer, which he will proudly admit to being his personal dream truck. This first cousin to the timeless C10 pickup is similarly styled but definitely has an identity that is unique enough to justify its own cult following it has amassed over the years.
It wasn’t until a few years ago when JD found the right Blazer specimen to invest the time and money required to turn it into the legit show quality stunner he has wanted for so long. “I found the Blazer online, and it was just a rolling shell at that time”, he says about his project’s humble beginnings. From there, JD began seeking out the right talent to help him take his dream machine to the level he knew was possible. Luckily for JD, he didn’t have to look too far from his doorstep.
Airth Defined, a custom fabrication shop also in Las Vegas was more than happy to work their magic in dropping the Blazer to the ground. Porterbuilt front and rear Dropmember kits along with Firestone airbags and KYB shocks brought the Blazer down to a respectable ride height while still allowing for a smooth ride. Further upgrading the chassis is a set of Detroit Steel 20-inch wheels that add a handsome, classic look to the truck while Nitto NT555 G2 rubber provide outstanding all-season performance to its credit. Slowing everything down are Wilwood braking components that would be every bit a match for what JD had coming next for his project Blazer.
What JD was cooking up next was a 2013 Chevy LS3 to drop into the engine bay. This new power plant was decked out with enough performance goods to coax an impressive 530hp count along with 500lbs-ft of torque from it. A 6L80 6-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was mated to the LS engine for a ripping good time that JD is sure to enjoy as much as possible. The aggressive roar from the Hedman headers, custom exhaust system and Magnaflow mufflers will soon sound like sweet, soothing music to his ears.
JD admits that his Blazer required some very heavy body panel work and repair. It was a bit daunting at first to imagine the Blazer could look as smooth as it turned out, but Las Vegas’ own AAV Paint Restorations was up for the challenge. Aside from addressing the obvious problem areas, there were some trick body mods made to the Blazer – one being the gas tank door being relocated to behind the side marker. To give the front end a noticeable twist a ’68 front clip was then put into place.
For the most part, the exterior modifications were left to a minimum. JD wanted the Blazer’s natural design to speak for itself. With the surface expertly massaged and manicured, the next order of business was to decide on a color scheme to paint the truck. Hoping to maintain a classic era-appropriate appearance, a simple yet striking two-tone paint scheme was selected. Alejandro Apodaca joined the project by applying the Matrix Nardo Grey color with a contrasting white hue to the lower and top portions of the Blazer to break up the monotony. Don’t let the streamlined look fool you – a ton of work has been poured into creating an outer facade that looks this damn good.
The same approach to the Blazer’s clean exterior was translated into the cabin as well. Matching gray paint ties the interior to the body coloring, which has been further addressed with the stitch work by Dream Upholstery in Las Vegas. A combination of black leather and gray and white plaid paneling make for eye pleasing covers for the front buckets and rear seating section. Dakota Digital gauges update the dash, and a Billet Specialties steering wheel lends a timeless addition to the driver side of the interior.
To keep JD cool and collected, even during the hottest summer in the desert, a full Vintage Air climate control system was a must-include inside the cab. Also keeping the atmosphere inside the Blazer cool is a Retrosound receiver and fresh lineup of audio gear to serve up quality sound waves during cruises of all lengths from in-town runs to extended trips to truck shows.
Speaking of truck shows, JD unveiled his Blazer at the 2021 C10 Intervention event in Woodland, California in early September. His truck took home well-deserved best of show honors as well as a top 25 award – what a way to celebrate the completion of his dream build! With the spring and summer show schedule wide open this year, JD will have the opportunity to share his freshly completely Blazer with a much wider audience. If you happen to see it off in the distance, make it a point to take a look for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.
JD CONDER ‘72 BLAZER
- 2013 Chevy 6.2L LS3 by Airth Defined, Las Vegas, NV
- 2013 Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed transmission
- Texas Speed camshaft and valve springs
- Edelbrock water pump
- Dual 12-inch Spal fans
- Entropy aluminum radiator
- K&N air cleaner
- Hedman headers
- Custom exhaust by 6651 Customs
- Magnaflow mufflers
- Vintage Air Front Runner system
- Driveshaft by Dan’s Driveline
- Porterbuilt Fab front and rear Dropmember kits
- Firestone airbags
- KYB shocks
- Mustang II rack and pinion
- Aluminum 20-gallon fuel cell
- Quick Performance rear end
- Wilwood 12-inch front and 11-inch rear brakes, master cylinder and proportioning valve
- Hydro Boost
- Ididit polished steering column
- 20x8 and 20x10 Detroit Steel wheels
- 255/35ZR20 and 305/30ZR20 Nitto NT555 G2 tires
- Bodywork by AAV Paint Restorations, Las Vegas, NV
- Matrix Nardo Grey by Alejandro Apodaca, Henderson, NV
- ’68 front clip
- Gas tank door placed behind side marker
- Porterbuilt hood hinges
- LED taillights
- Custom bed tubs and floor work
- Smoothed firewall
- Custom leather and plaid upholstery by Dream Upholstery, Las Vegas, NV
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Retrosound receiver
- Vintage Air A/C
- Dynamat lined
- Billet Specialties steering wheel