2001 Chevy Blazer
Port Charlotte, FL
Erik Barrett has wanted to own a minitruck since he was 12 years old. He grew up in Michigan, and he can clearly recall his many sightings of the local trucks from his early days. "Back at that time, most of the minitrucks in the area were static-dropped on 15-inch wheels and had solid camper shells filled with stereo equipment. I loved them all, and that was a reason why I started reading Mini Truckin' magazine years ago."
Erik picked up a Chevy Blazer Xtreme in 2001, and he was just itching to cut it up even before he drove it off the lot. One fact that he couldn't help but remind himself of is that the state of custom minis has far since evolved from the 15s and campers of the past. In order to build a vehicle that would get noticed, he was going to have to take his truck further than the builders of his favorite trucks from his childhood could ever dream of.
With the new evolution of custom trucks come sophisticated air-suspension systems that have set the new standard for modern-day minis. In the first years of customizing his Blazer, Erik battled with shoddy workmanship and had to rework his 'bag setup a good three times before he was rolling on a sound foundation. "The original four-link was welded on lower than the framerails, which caused the end links to drag. Needless to say, the welds that were applied with a 110-volt gasless welder failed on more than one occasion."
One such instance happened at the Blood Drag show in West Palm Beach and will always remain in Erik's mind the most humorous. "As I recall, nobody had ratchet straps to secure my broken Blazer to the trailer but someone said they had an idea on how to rig something up to get me and my truck to the nearest store 40 miles away. Let me tell you, it was a damn good thing nobody told me that my bar end was held to the frame with nothing but a camera strap!"
After a few more problematic suspension issues, as well as a small fire while on the road, Erik finally had enough and beefed up the Blazer with a more reliable two-link cantilever setup and ran hydraulic lines for good measure. Yeah, he's burned through the DOT plastic lines on numerous occasions as well. With a few major kinks out of the way, the Blazer was set to receive more modifications that would further increase its appeal as an aspiring feature truck. The new wave of customization included more bodywork, paint, interior, a huge stereo upgrade, and a stock-floor bodydrop, which have all come together to create a Blazer with a well-groomed, streamlined appearance.
"If I could do this all over with what I know now, I would have set a solid plan for the order of mods to take place, how much they would cost, and how long it would take to complete each step. I've learned that you definitely get what you pay for, and it's always cheaper to have it done right the first time. The more you know, the better off you'll be." Who could argue with those pearls of wisdom coming from a guy who has spent the last 10 years prepping his truck for the big show?
For more info on Erik's sanitary Chevy, take a peek at the Lowdown.