“What if” is a powerful sentiment. What if carriages had engines? What if we could travel to the moon? What if phones could also be powerful computers? Indeed, “what if” can carry varying magnitudes of importance, and those who dare ask it are often rewarded with greatness.

Take Rich Tillema, for example. One of his latest “what if” ponderings was, “What if GM had built a Blazer based on the 1960-66 body style trucks?” Sure, we all know about the Carryall, and we could agree that it could be a close substitute, but the proportions are all wrong for a true Blazer. Still, Rich was determined to see his $500 tow-yard project through. Indeed, it would take a lot of work to get things right and earn its rebadging.

Sic Chops in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, handled the build from day one, with instructions that Rich wanted an updated version of what a Carryall-era Blazer might look like. As you can imagine, this would be no small feat, but a shop like Sic Chops was easily qualified to take the task in hand.

We’re not sure of the exact order in which the mods took place, but we’d like to imagine that the Sic Chops wizards just waved their wands and made things happen. After all, shortening the body 22 inches, chopping the top 2.5 inches with an additional 1-inch pancake, building a new hood opening and rear diffuser, and flaring the lower body line all around the truck’s perimeter just seem too daunting for mere muggl… er, mortals. Almost caught us geeking out, eh?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Scott Laitinen at Sic Chops sprayed the color once the body was ready. Newer factory GM Overcast Grey Metallic took over most of the sheet metal, with Summit White adding the perfect contrast. And then there’s the flush-fit glass all around the truck. No visible gaskets here, all of the custom glass was glued into place, just like a modern truck. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this mod, but it is among the most finely executed we’ve come across, and it really accentuates the contemporary influence of Rich’s Blazer.

At this point, there was absolutely no chance of the stock chassis staying underneath the truck, and Scott already had a plan in motion. A fresh Roadster Shop chassis was already on its way, with a trick custom cantilever setup and 14-inch Baer brakes in front of C6 Corvette spindles and a Strange 9-inch rearend. Slam Specialties airbags at all four corners with RideTech shocks provide a comfortable yet performance-minded ride.

The wheels are works of art in and of themselves: one-off Colorado Custom three-piece billet wheels of the 22×12 and 24×15 varieties secure a set of staggered Pirelli P-Zero tires, giving Rich’s Blazer plenty of traction. As it turned out, it would desperately need it.

Rich wanted power—lots of it—so he decided on a Cadillac CTS-V LSA supercharged engine, which is good for 556 hp right out of the box. Not bad by anyone’s measure to be sure, but even that wasn’t enough. Legendary engine builder Don Hardy worked his magic on the LSA, and after lots of machining and tweaking, Rich’s engine was now putting out 840 horses at 24 pounds of boost. So no, the 405mm-wide rear Pirellis aren’t really overkill.

All of this power is transferred to the rear wheels by a custom Phoenix 4L80E transmission, which was built with the Blazer’s blissfully excessive power in mind. A Precision Performance shifter was then test-fit in preparation for the custom interior.

Ron Mangus’ name is the stuff of legend, and to have him do the interior of your truck is a sort of blessing. If Ron touches your ride, you’ve passed the coolness test. Ron trimmed the whole interior with yard upon yard of luxurious German material, with some good old ’62 Chevy truck patterns thrown in for good measure. Glide Engineering seat frames were used as a base for the custom seating, and GM rocker switches were used for various functions throughout the Blazer. Up front and center (to Rich, anyway) are a custom ’62 Pontiac steering wheel, and one-off Dakota Digital gauges. Ron then covered the custom Kicker sound system that was built by the Sic Chops crew to match the rest of the interior.

From that point, plenty of tidying up was needed to get Rich’s “what if” Blazer ready for SEMA 2016, where it stole the show in AccuAir’s booth. There were definitely a lot of people left scratching their heads, wondering what made his truck look so much different than your average Carryall. Now you know.

Truck Specs

Owner:

Rich Tillema

1961 Chevy Blazer/Carryall

Parker, AZ

ENGINE:

  • Work performed by Don Hardy Racing
  • GM LSA supercharged engine
  • Holley Dominator EFI
  • Sic Chops custom air cleaner
  • 102mm throttle body
  • Don Hardy 4-inch crankshaft
  • Custom-ground camshaft
  • Diamond pistons
  • Dart cylinder heads
  • Inconel valves
  • Don Hardy pushrods
  • ARP hardware
  • Energy Suspension engine mounts
  • REF headers
  • REF custom 3-inch exhaust with Mega Flow mufflers
  • Phoenix 4L80E transmission
  • 3,000-rpm stall converter
  • Precision Performance shifter
  • Custom aluminum fuel tank

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION:

  • Work performed by Sic Chops
  • Custom Roadster Shop chassis with cantilever rear
  • Strange 9-inch rearend
  • Slam Specialties airbags
  • RideTech shocks
  • AccuAir air management system with ENDO-CVT air tank
  • Baer 14-inch brakes

WHEELS & TIRES: 

  • 22×12 and 24×15 One-off Colorado Custom billet wheels
  • 335/25ZR22 and 405/25ZR24 Pirelli P-Zero tires

BODY & PAINT:

  • Work performed by Sic Chops
  • Shortened 22 inches
  • Chopped 2.5 inches, roof pancaked 1 inch
  • Reshaped hood opening
  • Smoothed rear bumper used as front bumper
  • Custom rear diffuser
  • Touch-button door handles
  • Flared lower body line
  • Flush glue-set glass
  • GMC grille
  • Custom H4 headlights
  • Digi-tails LED taillights
  • GM Overcast Grey Metallic and Summit White paint
  • Pinstriping by Scott at Letters, Lines & Designs

INTERIOR & STEREO:

  • Work performed by Ron Mangus and Sic Chops
  • 1966 Chevy C-10 dashboard
  • One-off Dakota Digital gauges
  • One-off 1962 Pontiac steering wheel
  • Glide Engineering seats
  • Douglas aircraft leather, BMW Grey Diamond and 1962 Chevy textiles throughout
  • Mercedes loop carpet
  • Vintage Air climate control
  • Silent Coat sound deadener
  • Kicker KMC-10 head unit
  • Kicker IQI amplifiers
  • Kicker QS 6.5-inch front and rear speakers
  • Kicker QB8 loaded enclosure
  • Two Odyssey batteries

Special Thanks from Owner: The Sic Chops crew