Ricky Holly’s Incredible ’79 Unibody Chevy Pickup
Ricky Holly is a name that we’ve all grown accustomed to hearing over the years. He’s been turning out the craziest vintage Chevy trucks that have only gotten better. You’ve seen his builds at the biggest shows across the country. You’ve seen his trucks on the covers and pages of the industry’s leading publications. You’ve seen pictures and videos of his creations posted and shared across all social media platforms. At this point, you have also most definitely been inundated with the praise surrounding his latest project—this ’79 Unibody Chevy pickup that has been the buzz of the custom pickup community since its grand unveiling at SEMA ’22. If for some reason you don’t already have every square inch of this truck ingrained in your memory bank, let’s get reacquainted with all its glory.
While it is rather difficult to look at this truck and select one characteristic to claim as its most notable, we’d have to say that the unibody design is the most eye-catching. His ultimate goal was to have this particular modification blend right in with the truck’s natural styling, but it does shine bright as a huge accomplishment to keen eyes.
BLAZER PLUS A SQUARE
To get this effect just right, Ricky entrusted the job to his longtime go-to paint and body shop, Alamo Customs in Alvin, Texas. Together, Ricky and the team at Alamo have produced some of the baddest classic Chevy truck projects out there, and this one might just sit at the top of the heap. The guys successfully fused the body of a ’79 Blazer with that of an ’85 Squarebody C10 pickup to create the well-proportioned unibody shell.
With that major portion of bodywork completed, the guys at Alamo then started creating more one-off touches to make Ricky’s truck, which gained the name Lolita around this point, that much more unique. At the front, a custom grille with motorized headlight panels was fabricated. At the rear, the guys came up with a tricked-out tailgate and bumper that elevate the truck’s subtle yet highly sophisticated restyling. United Pacific was sourced to provide fresh headlights, taillights, and mirrors for cleanliness sake, but it was ultimately the way these parts were painted that really changed things up.
Custom-mixed PPG maroon and tan colors were stirred up to serve as the main two-tone paint scheme, which was to be broken up by replacement body molding from Mar-K. It was actually the other colors and effects used on the truck that made an equally if not more impactful impression. Both bumpers along with the side mirrors are not, in fact, brushed metal. The guys used paint to get the exact color and finish they had in mind, as there was no chance of running any piece of chrome on this truck per Ricky’s request. If you’ve been attempting to analyze the grain to figure out what type of wood was used for the flooring inside the full-custom bed, you might be surprised to know that it is also just paint—no planks. Actually, all of the wood trim found all throughout the truck has been specially painted to mimic the appearance of actual exotic lumber.
Just like the rest of Ricky’s previous high-profile Chevy truck builds, this custom unibody was slated to drive at the lowest altitude possible. Another Texas business, Acme Chassis Factory in South Houston, was contacted to create a custom frame for the build that would deliver on the low-slung appearance along with excellent ride quality. To assist in creating that ride quality, nothing but top shelf air-ride components were ordered from Slam Specialties ‘bags, Air Lift air management parts, Seamless air tanks, and more. While the pandemic did slow the delivery of certain items, DRU Custom Builds of Pasadena, Texas, was on-hand patiently waiting to piece and plumb the suspension system together as the parts steadily flowed in.
From the Snowden seats covered in Apex leather, the custom dash, flooring, door panels, and center console, the interior landscape has been kept very high-end at every turn.
The all-important decision of which wheel to run is always a tough decision for Ricky. He knew the roundabout size he could get away with once the chassis was in place, and he usually tends to gravitate toward smooth, timeless designs. Well, he most definitely chose a winner once again with the set of 22×8.5 and 24×12 Raceline Newport wheels he picked for this project. The hoops have been brushed, and the spoke centers have been treated to a splash of color that really spices up the exterior color palette.
UNDER THE HOOD
Ricky was interested in rooting down a big, powerful engine that he could really mash on when he gets the urge, which happens way more often than you’d realize. To make the most of the available space under the hood, LT Swap King in Crosby, Texas, was contacted to help lock down a supercharged 2018 LT4 from a ZL1 Camaro. This was the perfect powerplant for the situation, and once it was mounted, wired up, and outfitted with a Brian Tooley Racing camshaft, Sanderson headers, and a Magnaflow exhaust system, Ricky was looking at 750hp. This is an ideal horsepower count for the type of driving he likes to get down on at the track.
If you’ve paid attention over the years, all of Ricky’s trucks are designed and built to operate just as good as they look. To finish out the engine transplant, an amazing collection of panels and vents were fabricated and painted to elevate the whole vibe of the engine compartment, which is more posh and luxurious than should even be allowed under the cover of a hood.
The next phase of the build is what actually earned the truck an award at last year’s SEMA show. Chris Pate at MTI (Mobile Toys Inc.) in College Station, Texas, poured his heart and soul into the creation of this Chevy’s cab space. From the Snowden seats covered in Apex leather, the custom dash, flooring, door panels, and center console, the interior landscape has been kept very high-end at every turn. Other noteworthy amenities include Dakota Digital gauges, a well-rounded sound system, Vintage Air A/C, a one-off Raceline steering wheel, and plenty of invaluable style and craftsmanship. All of this was good enough to take home Best Truck Interior honors at the largest automotive event on the planet!
To circle back to what was said at the beginning of this story, it’s incredibly hard to crown one single facet of this truck as most notable. This truck might just be a milestone for classic Chevy truck builds as a whole. While Ricky Holly is used to owning super high-quality pickups, this one has to feel a tad bit different. As always, his best truck is always the next one to come, so we are anxiously awaiting seeing what on Earth he could possibly top this build with. Until then, we’ll go ahead and leave the bar right where Ricky and his most trusted shops and fabricators have left it.
1979 Chevy Blazer
ENGINE & DRIVETRAIN
- Shop: LT Swap King, Crosby, TX
- 2018 Supercharged LT4 V-8
- Brian Tooley Racing stage 2 camshaft
- Sanderson headers
- Magnaflow 2.5-inch exhaust system
- 2018 10L90 transmission
- One-off paneling under the hood
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION
- Acme Chassis Factory, South Houston, TX
- Custom-made frame
- Custom fuel tank
- Slam Specialties ‘bags, Air Lift air management, dual Viair compressors, Seamless air tanks and other air components installed by DRU Custom Builds (Drops ‘R Us), Pasadena, TX
WHEELS, TIRES & BRAKES
- 22×8.5 and 24×12 Raceline Newport wheels
- Lionhart tires
- Wilwood 14- and 13-inch brakes (front and rear) and master cylinder
BODY & PAINT
- Shop: Alamo Customs, Alvin, TX
- Custom mix PPG maroon and tan paint
- Made from a Blazer to a unibody truck
- Mar-K bed flooring and body molding
- Custom grille and headlight panels
- United Pacific Industries headlights and mirrors
- Mirror, bumpers and bed floor painted for effect
- Custom wrapped details by Pixelwerks, Houston
INTERIOR & SOUND
- Chris Pate @ Mobile Toys Inc. (MTI), College Station, TX
- Snowden seats covered in tan Apex Leather
- Dakota Digital gauges
- Raceline steering wheel
- Custom dash, floor, and center console
- Sony receiver
- Gladen/Mosconi audio components
- Vintage Air A/C
- Ididit steering column