When Frank Nuñez of Phoenix told his friends that he wanted to build a 1967-72 C-10 Blazer on 24s and 26s, many told him that it couldn’t be done. Those wheels are huge in an older truck, and just wouldn’t fit the wheel wells from front to back. Why build a truck if you can’t drive it? But those who knew Frank understood that not only was it going to happen, it was going to be amazing.
It all started at Desert Valley Auto Parts (DVAP) in Phoenix. Long known as a mecca for pre-1970 car and truck parts, it was the place where Frank would start the search for his ideal project. The owner of DVAP and Frank are friends, and when a ’72 Blazer came onto the lot, he knew who to call. After some paperwork was cleared with the state, Frank took home his new-to-him Blazer to give it a new life.
The truck was dropped off to Ernie Greene at Sav-On Transmission in Phoenix because that’s where everything that Frank builds is sent first. Ernie is Frank’s go-to guy for everything custom, and he’s the man who coordinates the build process. The two roughed out a plan and then got after it, ready to show the world how to do the impossible.
Let’s take a moment to talk about that wheel combo, because it’s the shining part of this build. Getting those big rollers on the Blazer wouldn’t be easy or cheap. It started with ordering the rims from Intro, making sure to request as big a lip as possible. Both wheels were clad in 275/25 Toyo tires—24s up front and 26s in the rear—making the billets look as though they’re painted with rubber. To do the suspension, Ernie teamed up with Allen at Arizona Kustom Koncepts in Phoenix to get the truck down to a respectable stance. The front suspension was narrowed and dropped on coil springs to put the fender just above the tire. Then the rearend was pulled in, and a set of Firestone airbags was installed on the factory trailing arms. Because big wheels make small brakes look horrible, they installed Baer 15-inch drilled and slotted rotors with six-piston calipers on the front and rear. Then the suspension was torn down, detailed and reassembled for the perfect look.
Of course, that wasn’t all that needed to be done to fit these wheels. Up front, Frank wanted to retain the use of the stock inner fender wells. To accomplish this, they were raised then notched for the hood hinges. On the outer fender skin, the entire front lip was cut, widened and massaged back into place so that it looks like the fenders were stamped that way from the factory. Out back, the rearend had to be tubbed 2 inches on each side, so the interior seat was narrowed 4 inches to make it look factory. That steel work was just a portion of the restoration process, as a quite a bit of the rockers and lower panels were replaced with new metal as well. Once everything was smooth and flat, G&P Customs of Phoenix came in to lay down a coat of black PPG urethane. With the truck still reeking of paint, all of the chrome came back from Jeff, aka “The Chrome Guy”, and it was bolted onto the truck.
Along the way the engine was built as well. He could’ve used just any old carbureted 350 and people would have been sufficiently impressed, but Frank wanted to take it up a notch. He picked up a V-8 engine from a 2004 Silverado and dropped it into the truck instead. Eric Hill and Mike Fisher of Phoenix handled the swap, and in the process, upped the displacement to 400 ci. An LS2 cam, high-amp alternator, Lunati billet crank, Eagle H-beam rods, Arias pistons and AFR aluminum heads are all in or on that motor, combining to produce 520 hp and 580 ft-lbs of torque. Then it was bolted to a 2004 4L60E trans with a Corvette high-stall converter, courtesy of Ernie back at Sav-On Transmissions.
The same amount of detail on the outside of the truck can be found on the inside, too. The seats were redone in the original black vinyl with patterns by Country Upholstery in Phoenix. A tilt column was added, and a billet wheel and console were installed for added flair. The completed interior gives off a stock feel, with little hits of custom here and there. There are other details on this truck that are often missed by the casual observer. Things like the rare green-tinted glass from Bell Glass in Phoenix, or the smoothed camper on the back end, just to name a few. This truck is covered in little details, but they’re all very subtle, which is exactly how Frank wanted it.
So what’s next for Frank and his projects? Rumor has it he’s building a twin of this truck but in pickup form, and then he wants to do a 4×4 version. There’s also myriad other vehicles coming and going from his property, so who knows what will turn up next. What we do know is that whatever it is, it’ll be clean and packed with details.
1972 Chevrolet 2WD K5
Performed by Eric Hill and Mike Fisher, Phoenix; Ernie at Sav-On Transmissions, Phoenix
2004 Chevrolet Vortec V-8
520 hp A at 5,500 rpm
580 ft-lbs torque at 5,200 rpm
Lunati 180-degree billet crank
Eagle H-beam rods
Arias forged piston
Air Flow Research aluminum heads
Camaro oil pan
New stock valve covers
Manual cooling fan
Double roller timing chain
Painless wiring kit
Custom-made motor mounts
Affordable Exhaust Coating 3-inch exhaust tubing
3-inch Flowmaster muffler
2004 4l60E automatic transmission
Corvette high-stall converter
Steel one-piece tubing for the radiator hoses
Performed by Allen at Arizona Kustom Koncepts in Phoenix, Ernie at Sav-On Trans in Phoenix
Narrowed 1972 12-bolt rearend with posi and Moser axles
Front inner wheel tubs stretched and notched for hood hinges and 24s
15-inch Baer drilled and slotted brakes with si-piston calipers front and rear
8-inch master cylinder
Dropped and narrowed front suspension
Airbags front and rear
Factory pan hard bar
Nitro shocks front and rear
Wheels & Tires:
24- and 26-inch Intro Twisted Vistas
275/25R24 and 275/25R26 Toyo Tires
Body & Paint:
Gilbert at G&P Customs, Phoenix
Stock removable hardtop, smoothed on the inside
Inner rear wheel tubs stretched 2 inches per side
Chrome bumpers and grille
Shaved tailgate handle
PPG Urethane black
Country Upholstery, Phoenix
Rear seat narrowed 4 inches to accommodate tubs
Original bucket seats
Tilt steering column
Factory center console
Intro Twisted Vista billet steering wheel
That may look like a stock engine from a 2004 Chevrolet truck, but it’s been beefed up to put out 520 ponies to those 26s out back.
If it wasn’t for that Intro billet steering wheel, you might think this was a stock truck, but it’s not. Frank and his team have gone through everything to make it factory fresh.
One of the cooler tricks on the Blazer is the rear seat. It’s been cut and narrowed 4 inches to fit the wider wheel tubs.
Yup, those are 26s on a 1967-72 Blazer, and to slow it down, 15-inch Baer brakes are mounted on all four corners.