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The Brandy Build

A build taking a faded, rusty, 1988 k5 and transforming it into a more or less restored, 1974 full convertible.


Page 1-3 paint stripping and transmission cleanup
Page 4-7 transfer case cleanup, transmission swap (start), frame removal and cleanup with suspension.
Page 8-? Metal work and engine rebuild.
Hello to anyone reading. I figured it was time to start this build thread. So here it goes:

Here’s a summary of why I got the blazer to begin with: I’ve never really been crazy interested in fast cars, especially not new fast cars. My interests always lied in 4x4s, specifically old pickup trucks. For a long time my dream vehicle was a “70s style” (as I call it) Chevy pickup, single cab long bed. After I sold my last Jeep I started looking for a pickup. I just didn’t want rust, I was more than ok with faded paint and mechanical issues but I wanted a clean body.

This proved to be too tall of an order for southwestern Ohio. I had a $7000 dollar price limit and couldn’t find the right truck. I even would have settled for two wheel drive. I decided I would have to give up on this idea for now and maybe buy one when I was older with more money (I was 20 at the time and in college). Well somewhere along the way I discovered the K5 blazer and how it was very truck like. It became my new favorite vehicle but still there was no finding a decent one.

Well after doing tons of research on bodywork and paint I decided that if I could learn to do those things I could have a perfect blazer. Those were my biggest problems. So I went ahead and bought a 88 K5 blazer. It had hit a deer so it had no hood, one fender, and needed radiator work. Which was perfect for me. It was $2300 with a very decent body. The PO told me it was carbureted which shows he knew about as much as I did about it since it wasn’t. I found that out later. It’s an automatic (th700r4) four wheel drive (np208). I white-knuckled it home from Kentucky on a crappy trailer.

My plans were to swap in 70s style front end body parts including fenders, core support, hood, and all pieces for the grill. There’s a family friend that I found out has a square bodys only junkyard about 15 mins from me so it took no time to get the necessary body parts. All this happened in March of 2019. Since then I have gotten it running, put on the new body parts, driven it a little, then stripped the entire blazer down.

As it sits it has no top, seats, doors, fenders, tailgate, hood, windshield, no interior whatsoever. It’s about as stripped down as you can get. I took apart the doors and tailgate completely, got wheels for it which I will be painting white and had all new vinyl upholstery done on the seats. Where I’m at now is stripping paint off one body part at a time. LMC truck is helping me out and giving me a big discount on all the trim and interior parts I need and I have a large portion of those already. I won’t say the color I’ll be painting it but it will be 2 tone, with the white cab and white stripe down the side.

Most of the interior will be new and the old trim parts I have I’ll be dyeing tan. The whole interior will be tan. Recently I decided I didn’t want to settle for anything less than my dream vehicle so I bought an sm465 4 speed manual and a np205 transfer case. I’ll be swapping those in during the cold weather months while I can’t paint along with all the metal work and body work. I’m super excited to finish this project. I don’t plan on lifting it, I want it to look very factory.

I plan on getting an old chrome roof rack for the fiberglass top at some point. It will be, by far the coolest vehicle I’ve ever owned and it will mean so much more to me than one that i didn’t build and just bought and left as is. It will also be much much cheaper. I know this was a long story but I wanted to encapsulate the idea of the build. From here on out I’ll be posting updates and try to stay current. Here are pictures from when I got it to where I am now. Oh and I recently decided to name her Brandy. Because she’s a fine girl.

the day I got her:


New front end parts:

Top off:

Basically where it’s at now although it’s more stripped down currently:

View attachment 325358
Stripped body parts:

Seats redone:

4-speed and transfer case:


K5 Blazer
Trim Level
Factory Options
Power windows, power tailgate window, power locks.
Chevy smallblock 350 tbi
Transfer Case
Leafs front and rear, stock
10 bolt front and rear
Bfg 33”
2 tone, white and dark grey or black


These specs are how the blazer was when I got it. A lot of them are changing.

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