Owner: Doug Pielemeier
Model: '97 Chevy Blazer
Hometown: Upland, California
Ah, to be a teenager again, knowing what we know now. Dare to dream. If it were true, we probably would have been rollin' an ultra-clean ride like Doug Pielemeier's '97 Chevy Blazer back in high school instead of a bucket. We won't bother referring to Doug as a kid because he competes in the grownup world of custom vehicles and does quite well. Pulling Best of Show trophies is no problem for this SoCal player. To get the 411 on how Doug became so knowledgeable about building customs, we grilled him about his ride and club over lunch at the local skate park. Here is what went down.
MT: Let's start from the beginning. How long have you been in the sport?
Doug: I've been in it for probably three and a half years. I've had the Blazer for two years.
MT: And you bought it wrecked, right?
Doug: Yeah, it was hit pretty hard in the front. I got a good deal on it and then put on a new front clip.
MT: You and your dad did pretty much everything to your truck, right?
Doug: Everything but the interior. That was done by one of my dad's friends who works at the airport. We 'bagged, shaved, painted, and customized everything else in my dad's shop at the airport.
MT: Oh, that's right. I remember him telling me he was an airplane painter. So the new hookup spot for mini-truckers is at the Ontario Airport then? Doug: You could say that.
MT: So what made you buy the Blazer, other than the fact that you got a good deal on it?
Doug: Because it's not a very popular ride. Not too many people build them. MT: That's always a good reason. Kind of like wearing plaid pants because not many people do. I'm not saying that I do. I mean other people. Uh, I probably should have written down some questions before we came here. Give me a second. Oh, yeah, you can practically eat off of your undercarriage. Did you pull the body off the frame?
Doug: We pulled the body off when we 'bagged it. We also pulled the motor and the tranny. After the entire framework was done, we painted and striped it. The bodywork was done with the body sitting on a dolly.
MT: Your 'bags are pretty quick. What kind of valves are you running?
Doug: They are actually NOS solenoids from nitrous kits. The tanks in the back are nitrous bottles. One is for the 'bags, the other is for the NOS. My last truck was sponsored by Nitrous Oxide Systems and I got lucky and the solenoids worked for the air suspension, too. Everything is plumbed with 3/8-inch, steel braided line.
MT: I didn't know you had nitrous on this thing. Didn't you say you had to section the gas tank for the four-link, too?
Doug: Yeah. We had long four-link bars, so we sectioned about 4 gallons out of the tank with a plasma cutter to clear the bars. The fuel filler is now under a panel beneath the back seat.
MT: Wow. You worked hard to tuck those 20-inch KMCs.
Doug: I think the effort was worth it.
MT: So, you basically pour gas inside of your truck? Ever spill some and shout obscenities while at the station? I'll bet it would look funny as hell to see you pointing the nozzle into your truck and screaming.
Doug: I've spilled it once or twice.
MT: I didn't smell any gas when we were driving, so you must be pretty good at cleaning up the mess. Who came up with the idea for back-mounting the F-150 taillights?
Doug: My dad had a flash of inspiration driving home from work one night. We sectioned out the reverse lights from the center of the lens, molded it back together, then flush-mounted them into the body from the inside of the truck. MT: Did you build that smoothie cowl?
Doug: It's actually an APC piece that we filled the holes in for the wipers.
MT: The paint is really clean. I have to say that your truck was a pain in the ass to photograph. Getting those graphics to change to the colors we wanted was a ton of work.
Doug: I like them because they flip to nine different colors.
They're pretty cool.
MT: I like the inside of your truck because it's full of neat gadgets like TVs. Can we play with the PlayStation 2 later on?
Doug: It's a regular PlayStation. Dad's got the PlayStation 2 in his truck and a bigger monitor.
MT: I guess that's fair since he did most of the work on your truck. You gotta respect that.
Doug: Yeah, I credit him fully for building my Blazer.
MT: So, tell me about your club, No Sympathy. You guys are well known around Southern California as being ballers, but not so much outside of the state. How about clueing our readers into your roots?
Doug: No Symp has been around for about six years now, I think. I've been in it for about three years, and currently I'm the Vice President of Chapter 6.
MT: Cool. I see you guys around all the time.
Doug: We go to as many runs and shows as possible.
MT: So do you have any interesting memories from past events that you'd like to share with the world?
Doug: I don't know. So much stuff goes on at runs that its hard to remember everything. I've had a lot of fun at the last couple of Beat the Heat runs. Those are cool.
MT: I love that run! You can't go wrong throwing a run in Laughlin.
Doug: That's true.
MT: We are just about out of time, so why don't you give a shout-out to your friends.
Doug: I have to thank my dad, of course, Chad Breton for the stereo work, Crystal, Tsunami, KMC, and Klassic Interiors.
MT: Thanks for letting us shoot your truck.
Doug: No. Thank you.
A pair of Belltech 2-inch drop spindles and Firestone 2600 air springs suspend the frontend. The rear suspension also contains another pair of Firestone airbags and a custom TCI four-link. The front shocks were relocated in front of the control arm, and the rear shocks are mounted from the frame to the four-link. The gas tank was sectioned to allow full travel of the four-link, and the filler was relocated under the rear seat. The air suspension is plumbed with 3/8-inch line and is actuated by NOS solenoids designed for nitrous oxide. Two compressors and a 5-pound nitrous oxide bottle provide reserve air. The entire chassis is custom-painted gray with tribal pinstriping, and every bolt is chrome-plated. Doug and his father, Kent, completed all chassis work.
20x8.5-inch chrome KMC Stealths fill up the wheelwells and are protected by 255/35ZR20 Falken GRB rubber. The rear wheels required that a 3/4-inch spacer be installed to push the wheels out and fill the wheelwells.
Molded glovebox with custom aluminum paneling for air gauges and the head unit. Full custom center console with a billet top houses air suspension controls and a Sony PlayStation. Klassic Interiors in Chino, California, removed the seat headrests, the visors, and the inside door handles before wrapping the entire interior in gray tweed and vinyl.
An Alpine CVA-1005 plays host to a plethora of stunning equipment, including three AcceleVision monitors, an Alpine DVD player, five Tsunami amplifiers, and thirteen Crystal speakers. Chad Breton constructed the fiberglass sub enclosure, and the aluminum amp rack was built by Doug and Kent. A custom GM alternator charges three Optima Blue Top batteries mounted next to the enclosure, and Tsunami wiring was used throughout.
Ken Pielemeier sprayed the flawless black paint and graphics. The Chameleon tribal graphics were designed by 3-D Graphics. Body mods Features sectioned and molded-in Ford F-150 stepside taillights. Everything was shaved, including the rear gate, the roof rack, the wipers, the door handles, the antenna, the hood squirters, the rear body line, the emblems, and the gas filler door. The rear end was skinned in sheetmetal, replacing the factory plastic rear pan.
Nitrous oxide provides plenty of power on tap for the 4.3L Vortec V-6 motor, which is dressed with chrome pulleys, custom aluminum housings for the ABS and the fuse box, and mucho clean paint.