OWNER: Bobby Philpot
RIDE: 1989 Chevy Blazer
HOMETOWN: Newport News, VA
If you've spent any time on the southeastern show circuit, especially in virginia or the carolinas, you probably already know the `89 blazer of bobby philpot.
He and his grandfather, Ted Yarborough, are active competitors and Bobby's truck is never done in their eyes as there are always more mods just around the corner. Ted retired from his body and fender shop a few years ago but still keeps his hands busy by making regular changes to his grandson's Blazer.
Ted bought the Blazer when Bobby was 14, telling him it would be his, once he got his license at age 16. During the two-year waiting period however, lots of changes occurred. Bobby suggested shaving the door handles, adding 17-inch wheels, and a few other upgrades. The first car show that they attended, they got beat and Ted said "I can't handle that!" That loss started the process of relentless refinement that is still in effect today.
The body man rose to the challenge beginning with a huge 5-inch body drop, 'bags, and 20-inch Pacer rims. A 3-inch C-notch provided clearance in the rear and trimmed lower control arms up front balanced the Blazer's profile. An air-conditioning compressor from a 1956 Ford fills the five-gallon reserve tank in 18 seconds flat. Once the Blazer was sitting pretty, it was time to update the power plant. Ted and Bobby chose a new 350 V-8 under the hood with just a touch of old-skool, using three 2-barrel Rochester carbs with progressive linkage. Hit the gas and all six throats open for max acceleration. Yet, while cruising around town, the central two-barrel provides great economy. A Turbo 350 automatic, equipped with a Hurst Slap Shifter, multiplies the power. Additional mods outside include shaved body lines, 1978 Caddy taillights, the rear hatch welded smooth, and the gas filler cap was hidden behind the license plate. The grille is custom-made, highlighting the fact that this Blazer is "Tuckin' 20s". The cowl-induction hood is a combination of the original metal hood with a 2-inch fiberglass scoop, providing both cooling and additional clearance for the multicarb setup.
The truck has had at least a half dozen complete interior changes over its lifetime. The suicide doors and front opening hood work from a distance, entertaining spectators thanks to the remotely controlled linear actuators. The 1997 Dodge Spirit seats provide the low profile necessary in the body-dropped truck, thanks to custom brackets that Ted fabricated. A fiberglass center console between the seats flows into the elaborate dashboard, fitted with Auto Meter gauges, an Alpine head unit, 7-inch screen, and a PlayStation II for entertainment at car shows. But the real activity occurs behind the seats. The radical rear stereo setup holds four 12-inch JL Audio subs, powered by a single 500-watt JL Audio amplifier along with a 15-inch Magnavox HDTV monitor. All the components fit in a custom-made fiberglass enclosure that hides the pair of Optima YellowTop batteries and all the air suspension components. Future plans include redoing the stereo system and modifying the suspension so that the truck will lay completely flat. Everything inside that is carpeted will soon be replaced with fiberglass and swivel seats will make entry even easier.
What is the best part? Both men say that they benefit greatly from the relationship and Bobby wants to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, eventually opening his own body shop. We have a feeling that he will keep his grandfather on call as a technical advisor. Ted smiles and says simply, "It ain't done yet!"