Old School Chevy K5 Blazer PreRunner with Long Travel Suspension

  • Vehicle: Chevy K5 Blazer
  • Style: Prerunner Build
  • Owner: Scott Newhan
Old School Chevy K5 Blazer PreRunner with Long Travel Suspension
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Chevy K5 Blazer front Autofab fiberglass with a dropdown hood
Chevy K5 Blazer square body pre-running the desert cource +3
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With so many late model trucks serving prerunner duty these days, it’s refreshing to see an old-school Chevy K5 Blazer built to battle through whoops at high speed. Scott Newhan’s prerunner is the perfect blend of classic GM square body style, V8 muscle under the hood, and a custom long-travel suspension ready for desert running.

As someone who has had my share of adventures pushing older 4x4s to their limits off-road, I was excited to speak with Scott and learn more about this unique build. When taking on a prerunner conversion project starting from a classic platform like a K5, the objectives differ from more modern truck builds. Weight reduction and picking the right suspension and chassis components is critical to performance, while retaining the iconic look and feel you expect from a classic Blazer is a priority as well.

Key Facts

  • DIY-built Square Body Chevy K5 Blazer Prerunner
  • Built with assistance of a professional race driver Mark Newhan
  • Race-worthy custom long travel suspension
  • Caged and stripped interior to maximize safety & weight reduction

In my conversation with Scott, he shared valuable insights on how to balance all these factors with smart upgrades to create a prerunner that performs as good as it looks. For those looking to build their own classic V8-powered prerunner starting from a K5, Bronco or Ramcharger chassis, Scott’s K5 Blazer serves as an outstanding example of how to make it work. Let’s take a closer look under the sheet metal at what makes this vintage Blazer so capable when the terrain opens up.

Yellow chevy k5 pre runner on 35×12.50 General Grabber off-road tires

Build Specs

Engine specs and modifications

  • 383 Stroker from West Coast Engines (450HP)
  • MSD Atomic Fuel injected

Lift height and suspension modifications

  • All custom. 15 to 17 inches of front travel. Rear is linked with about 24 to 26 inches of travel

Wheel specs

  • 15″ wheels with 35×12.50 General Grabbers

Exterior mods

  • All front Autofab fiberglass with a dropdown hood.

Interior

  • Fully caged front to rear, built by Dok-tek Motor Sports(Viktor Doktor)
  • Mastercraft racing seats
  • Fiberwerx Navi Dash and center console
  • Wrapped in vinyl leather by Sickels Apolstry in Escondido

Chevy K5 Blazer square body pre-running the desert cource

K5 Blazer Heritage

The Chevy K5 Blazer was created to compete with the Ford Bronco and International Scout at the full-size off-road SUV market. The vehicle was introduced to the public in 1969 as a perfect vehicle for adventure seekers in the forests of the American West, swamps, and mud of the South and deserts of the West. In the early 1960s offroading in comfort was non-existent. You had to either hop in a rugged Jeep or use a bulky work truck to make it to your destination off the beaten path.

The second-generation square body Chevrolet K5 Blazer is a rugged and capable full-size SUV mashed with a pickup. The truck-based two-door vehicle gained so much popularity among drivers that it remained in production for eighteen consecutive years.

This tough and capable truck was so good, that it was widely used for military and law enforcement purposes in the 1980s. The 1977 version chosen by our today’s hero has a pickup-style fully enclosed cab, bed floorboard, detachable hardtop, and a tailgate with retractable glass.

Square body chevy k5 blazer prerunner

Prerunner Build

Scott Newhan from the San Diego area kindly agreed to talk to us and share his story. He decided to take this old school K5 Blazer and build the truck of his dream for exciting adventures in the desert with his kids. It took years to complete the project but the end result is astonishing. The suspension, drivetrain, and interior of the truck were upgraded and modernized while the exterior aesthetics of the classic square body Chevy was fully preserved.

Chevy K5 Blazer front Autofab fiberglass with a dropdown hood

Interview With The Owner

How did you become interested in off-roading?

My older brother Mark Newhan was building trucks and I started helping him with his early racing career. I always wanted to build one of my own but couldn’t afford it till later in life.

What inspired you to choose this modification style for your K5 Blazer?

I wanted a sleeper look that worked well enough to have fun with my kids.

Lifted Chevy K5 Blazer with 35 inch tires

What challenges did you face while putting it together?

Money!!!

What do you love about your vehicle?

I love how much fun it is to drive on or off-road. I love the way it sounds, smells and rides.

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Sleeper pre runner truck

Do you take it off-road? If so, where and how often?

As much as possible but at least two good trips per year.

What are your future plans for this vehicle?

Perhaps I-Beams to get more travel in the front. Also, a TH400 transmission and hopefully a whole new Rugged Radio intercom and radio system.

15 to 17 inches of front suspension travel. Rear is linked with about 24 to 26 inches of travel

Summary

Having seen my fair share of custom 4×4 vehicles in extreme environments, Scott’s K5 Blazer prerunner immediately impressed me. The smart fusion of a classic square body shell, stroked V8 powerplant, and custom long-travel suspension demonstrates thoughtful planning to create a capable yet comfortable desert runner.

In my 10 years writing for Offroadium, I’ve seen all kinds of prerunner builds – some all show with little go. But the extensive suspension travel and weight reduction efforts evident on Scott’s Blazer proves this rig was built to perform when the terrain opens up. My own days pushing vintage SUVs through whoops and washes taught me how essential these factors are.

Yet the hand-crafted interior details like the fiberwerx dash and racing seats shows Scott’s eye for aesthetics and comfort didn’t get neglected either. Finding that delicate balance is what separates ordinary prerunners from extraordinary ones. This K5 is undoubtedly the latter – it can bash bumps at speed with the best modern trophy trucks, then cleanly cruise the boulevard on the way home.

Scott and his builder’s vision came together flawlessly for a thoroughly capable and head-turning K5 prerunner. I can’t wait to see this Blazer charging through the desert – and turning heads around town – for years to come thanks to the care that went into its custom fabrication. Hats off to Scott for keeping the spirit of classic GM SUVs alive!

15" to 17" inches of front suspension travel. Rear is linked with about 24 to 26 inches of travel

Watch the progress and find out more about this Chevy K5 Blazer Pre-runner project by visiting the Instagram profile of the owner: @scottnewhan!

Stay tuned for more project reviews on Offroadium.com – Follow us on social media and share this write up if you enjoyed reading it using the share buttons below!

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