Our Under Construction issue is monumental for so many reasons. We give some of the best "almost finished" rides the inspiration to get back into the garage and come out of hibernation completed. To pay special tribute to the ones that really make our scene what it is today, we decided to do something a little different for this Under Construction special cover truck. We thought it would be cool to hear the story from the ones who truly lived it. So, rather than putting our own little twist on how hard it is to build one of the baddest rides around, no matter how long it takes - yeah, you know I've been there. Ha ha. - we're going to let Eric Saliba from Little Shop tell the story on how this Blazer came to be.

Would you believe that Mikey Phillips brought this thing to me in November of 2003 for a basic body drop, and our biggest decision was whether to run 18s or 19s? Why are we now staring at a truck with 22s, a V-8, a sheetmetal floor and interior, and a bodyline that's MIA? Couldn't tell ya, but I guess if there's one thing I've learned from this here jalopy, it's knowing when to stop. Sure, we could chop the top, try to cram 24s in the rear, and make all the doors open in different directions, but, folks, there comes a time when ya got to quit adding stuff to your project and simply finish the dern thing. After all, what's a truck in the shop, except not a truck at all? - Right, Alexander? - You're looking at a truck in a state of construction, where all the major components are squared up and the downhill slide toward something finished is at hand. This is the E! True Hollywood Story on Michael Phillips' Blazer.

Mikey had a nice-looking '96 Blazer in 2002. A clean set of Colorado Custom 18s, a two-tone paint scheme and flames from Billy Reid, and a 'bag job from Wicked Kustoms were some of the major perks. Why would anyone in their right mind cut up a truck like this? Well, you guessed it. Our good bud Mike is definitely not in his right mind. In the fall of the next year, a rough sketch was laid to body-drop his truck at the Little Shop of Horrors, which was at the time no more than a two-car garage in a deep corner of Tennessee. Not looking forward to patching up the stock floorboard after a body drop, I told Mike we should simply "cut the whole dang thing out." For some reason, he agreed and the plasma torch made waste of the stock floor in no time flat. Moving up to the engine bay, we both couldn't help but figure a small-block motor would save a world of time from having to rewire his 4.3. So, we jerked that V-6 out and sold it. Looking at the frame now, somebody had the gem of an idea to cut everything from the firewall back and use only the front frame clip in the build. By this time, the Little Shop had outgrown its home and moved into the back bay of a construction company's building, and on that concrete floor we were looking at nothing more than a body hull and a front frame clip. Now, this was around the first of February 2004. I told Mikey I'd surely have her buttoned up by Showfest that May. (Ha ha...yeah, right!) It took nearly 600 hours of work to have a rolling chassis at the All Chevy/GMC Nats, and then another two weeks' worth to show up with a smoothed and painted engine/tranny combo at Showfest that year. This was the first of many appearances at shows for the next two years, making sure to add something new each time.

From there, we took a couple of months and built the framework for the floor out of 3/4x3/4-inch square tubing and 3/8-inch rod. By the 2004 Mini-Nats in Nashville, we had the body mounted and started to get a little attention for the truck, now laying rocker on 20s and still wearing its original flame job. That fall at the first Relaxed Atmosphere All-Star Event, we wrapped some 16-gauge sheetmetal around some spare wheels to make a smooth and curvy firewall, which got welded in shortly before leaving for Millington, Tennessee.