It's not often-as in this was the first time-that we run across an owner who has kept track of every dollar he ever invested into his truck, let alone the exact date he had spent it. To say we were impressed when the tech sheet for Browny Cooksey's '71 K5 Blazer arrived and the Mesquite, Texas-resident had accounted for every single detail would be an understatement.
Cooksey bought his two-wheel-drive Blazer-the third vehicle he ever owned-in 1973 for $2,400 and then sold it some years later to his grandfather for $600. At the age of 79, Cooksey's grandpa decided it was time to stop driving and returned the trusty workhorse back to Cooksey's growing stable of vehicles that include Cooksey's first and second cars: a '67 GTO and a '70 440 Six-Pack 'Cuda that he owns to this day. On November 15, 1992 Cooksey bought two shop manuals for $40 and the '71 Blazer's build was officially under way.
The next purchase Cooksey notated on the build list was on December 26, 1992, when he bought a gold-colored Blazer for parts from Azle Auto Salvage for $400. Once Cooksey had accumulated all of the best examples he could locate for body parts and set them aside, the next step was to strip the '71's original frame down to the last few bolts and then have it sandblasted. Ultimately, the Blazer's chassis and all of its components were powdercoated black, but that wasn't until a 4-inch narrowed 9-inch Ford rearend with an Auburn posi and 3.70:1 gears was adapted. Up front a pair of 21/2-inch AIM drop spindles were placed in between Air Ride Technologies Strong Arm upper and lower control arms damped with Shockwaves. The finishing touch to the '71's suspension was the installation of Classic Performance Products front and rear swaybars tucked closer to chassis with CPP's super trick, special mounting brackets. The steering chores are handled via a rebuilt stock Blazer power-steering box connected to an ididit steering column capped with a Billet Specialties Torque-thrust steering wheel. For stopping power, the Blazer relies on a front disc-brake conversion kit Cooksey bought on November 14, 2000 from Master Power Brakes. The rear disc brakes are from a Cadillac Eldorado adapted to fit the 9-inch Ford rearend. From front to rear, the wheels on the Blazer are 20- and 22-inch KMCs mounted on BFGoodrich g-Force tires.
On September 30, 2003 Cooksey paid Young Chevrolet $7,882.65 for an '03 Z06 Corvette engine to use as the '71's powerplant. As evidenced by the receipt dates, the buildup of Cooksey's Blazer wasn't an overnight effort-as it wasn't until March 27, 2006 that he bought an LS6 computer-programmed wiring harness from Street & Performance to be able to fire the engine up. To handle all of the other electrical duties, an American Autowire harness is in place. Cooksey modified the stock Blazer gas tank to work with the Z06 fuel-injection by using parts sectioned out of a fuel-injected Cadillac tank. The Caddy fuel pump, as well as the brake plumbing, rely on stainless steel lines from Inline Tube.
Predating the LS6 harness, it was on November 11, 2005 that a set of headers were bought from Street & Performance to form the basis of the A&B Muffler Plus exhaust system that was completed with mufflers and pipes ordered from Summit Racing Equipment. A 700-R4 transmission takes care of gear changes.
With the exception of the leather interior done by Wayne Bayless during the fall of 2007, the Blazer was entirely homebuilt by Cooksey along with his wife and friends. Cooksey credits Jerry Pike for pitching in the most, followed by Gary Waller, Matt Waller, Rodger and Bobby Garcia, brought up by John and Zack "during the very last days."
Some of the custom interior features include a billet dash cluster sourced from No Limit Engineering and then packed with Auto Meter gauges. To handle the Texas heat, Cooksey installed an air-conditioning system from Vintage Air.
Further interior amenities include a high-end sound system featuring the best that Pioneer, Alpine, Infinity, and Cerwin-Vega have to offer.
The finish on the '71 was Cooksey's first attempt at trying his hand at body and paint. After constructing a paint booth to provide a dust-controlled environment, he shot the Blazer in PPG Viper Blue. After more than a decade of intense work on the stubby little C-10-based truck, Cooksey's Viper Blue show truck is on the roll. The last we heard, Cooksey and his wife Pam were driving the '71 Blazer halfway across Texas to enter it in a show.