A K5 Blazer Straight Outta Left Field
We all want something exotic, something just a little bit different from what everyone else around us has, even if that “thing” comes in the form of a story—a history that packs an unexpected twist to separate it from the pack.
With trucks, especially C-10s, the ability to one-up the other guy is key to standing out in a crowd. In the Kansas area, one would think that these old trucks line the two-lane back roads just waiting to be bought on the cheap. That’s the dream anyway. The reality is very much different from that picturesque image, and to find this out firsthand, we had a chat with Wichita native Sean Puckett, who has owned more than his share of super cool, classic trucks. He’d be the guy who could put our finger on the pulse on the local classic pickup scene out his way.
“The intrigue behind it was getting much more intense, and the only question that popped up next was who the pro was who previously owned this thing?”
“I’ve had old Broncos, Scouts, Jeep CJ’s, Blazers, etc.,” Sean tells us. “I’ve been looking for another Chevy K5 Blazer, but they’re kind of hard to find where I’m at. Around here, they’re usually beat up and rusted out.”
With a guy who has owned so many older vehicles in the past, we pressed Sean a bit more to see if there was a secret that maybe he had been holding out on.
“Well, both of the K5s that I’ve owned came from California,” he says.
OK, so that’s the missing link in his story—he must not mind traveling or paying heavy shipping fees to get the trucks that he is really after.
Once Sean started talking about old K5s, he had a stranglehold on our attention. His latest build, the navy blue beauty seen on these pages, is obviously a damn nice ride, and so happens to be one of the trucks that has come to him from the Golden State. But he didn’t buy it from someone in California.
“I found this Blazer in Kansas City,” he says. “This thing was sitting in the back of a Ford dealership for nearly two years.”
This information sparked a whole other conversation of who the heck transported the Blazer from California to Kansas—it sounded like some random, freak occurrence at first.
“This K5 was actually built for a professional baseball player who played for the Oakland As, but he got traded or transferred to come out and play for the Kansas City Royals,” he says. “He was a pretty well known guy.”
Sean, yet again, held us in suspense with his story. The intrigue behind it was getting much more intense, and the only question that popped up next was who the pro was who previously owned this thing? Was it Conseco? McGuire? Did either of them get transferred to KC during their careers? (Are you picking up on the lack of baseball statistic knowledge here?)
Jason Kendall, that’s who the previous owner was!
Sean didn’t offer up the name right away, it was only after a little bit of prodding that we were able to squeeze it out of him. Kendall started his career in ’96 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and renewed his contract with them in ’00 that made him the second-highest-paid catcher behind Mike Piazza. It wasn’t until ’05 until he made his way to Oakland and then to KC in ’10 where he retired in ’12 (thanks, Wikipedia). This Kendall guy was no slouch on the field, and definitely had great taste in trucks.
“I still have his copy of the title with his name on it, and his parking pass, too,” says Sean.
So just how did Sean dig up all this information about his new-to-him ’72 Blazer?
“There was a GM Truck Center decal on the hardtop, so I called the number,” he says. That’s easy enough. “The owner of World Famous 4×4 in Burbank, where this truck was built for Jason Kendall, remembered the project quite well. His name is Henrik Hairapetian, and I’ve since flown out to visit the shop in California and have gotten to know him quite well. During one of my visits, I actually purchased an ’87 K5 from him, which will get sent his way for a refresh some day soon hopefully.”
Until that happens, however, we’ll bring the focus back to the ’72, and what Sean had to do to get it up and running and back on the road. The Blazer did require some attention, as it hadn’t really been maintained or looked after at least two years since Sean had noticed it sitting behind the dealership.
“It did take some work to get it going again,” Sean says. “A new crate engine was installed, and I shopped around for a different set of wheels and tires for it. I also put a soft top on it, and that’s pretty much how the truck sits now.”
Just like that, Sean had yet another lifted rig to add to his repertoire of built-tough trucks.
“I joke around and say that this one is my coffin,” Sean says about his latest K5 Blazer, which leads us to believe that he’ll be holding on to it for awhile—call it a hunch.
It seems that this particular truck has made a positive impact with Sean. Discovering that the truck had been built for a notable pro ball player and getting to know the original builder were both big bonuses that went along with it.
“Out of all the other types of trucks that I’ve had over the years, this one is my favorite, hands down,” he says.
It’s not hard to see why he is fond of this one so much, and knowing the unique history of the truck and where’s its been makes it all the more enjoyable.
1972 Chevy K5 Blazer
GM 350 crate engine
Turbo 350 transmission
Tom Woods custom driveshaft
DART cylinder heads
Chrome valve covers
Edelbrock intake manifold
Edelbrock 650 carb
K&N air filter
Flowmaster 40 Series muffler
Chassis & Suspension
Shop: GM Truck Center / World Famous 4×4, Burbank, CA
Atlas front and rear 6-inch lifted leaf springs
GM 14 bolt rearend
4.56 gear ratio
Front disc brakes, rear drums
GM master cylinder and power booster
Wheels & Tires
17-inch American Racing forged Moab wheels powdercoated black
37×12.50×17 BF Goodrich KO2 tires
Body & Paint
Shop: World Famous 4×4, Burbank, CA
Metallic navy blue paint
Interior & Stereo
Shop: All Elements Auto, Wichita, KS
Factory seats covered in new fabric and vinyl
Black carpet kit
Grant steering wheel
Late model K5 Blazer consoles
Vintage Air A/C
4-point roll bar
Alpine heat unit
JL Audio amplifier, front and rear speakers and 10-inch W7 subwoofer