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.
22x9.5 Lexani Daggers
255/30/22 Nitto NT555
Suspension (front): Slam Specialties RE7 'bags, Belltech 2-inch drop spindles
Suspension (rear): Slam Specialties RE7 'bags, two-link cantilever setup
Control Arms: Suicidedoors uppers and lowers powdercoated cobalt blue
Shocks: Belltech Nitro-drop (rear only)
Compressor(s): Two Air Zenith OB1s
Air/hydro accessories: 12-gallon air tank, eight SMC 3/8-inch valves
Frame Mods: 2x3 square tubing from firewall back, frame notched for tie rods
Brakes: Classic Performance Products brake booster/master cylinder
Performed By: Owner, Kevin Holland of Kunfuzed Customs, and Will Collins
Door handles, gas door, antenna, hood squirters, wiper cowl, taillights, tailgate
Stock-floor approximately 51/4 inches
Removed all Xtreme package plastics and filled all mounting holes
Street Scene mirrors, Goodmark steel cowl hood
Frenched and angled tag box in tailgate, AVS 15.5-inch LED taillights mounted inside rear glass, Grant Kustoms steel three-piece rollpan
Kevin Holland, Fast and Easy Auto Body, and Will Collins
Brand & Colors: Sikkens GM Cobalt Blue with House of Kolor Ice Blue pearl, Sikkens GM Medium Silver metallic, custom-mixed lime green pearl 1/4-inch pinstripe
Performed By: Kevin Holland
Katzkin black leather
Various parts covered in tri-color tweed, Kaik Products billet dash grab handle
Nu Image platinum series
Billet Specialties steering wheel with billet hub adapter, Billet Specialties grab handles, Kaik Products billet window cranks, Autoloc black lap belts with billet aircraft-style buckles
Owner, Thomas "T" Thornton, and Lenny Kaplan
Head Unit: Panasonic CQ-VD7700U
Mids & Highs: Infinity Reference 61/2-inch components in doors, Infinity Reference 6x9s in B-pillar stock location, Infinity Reference 4x6 plates in the dash
Subwoofers: Two Kicker L7 10-inch
Amplifiers: Kicker KX1200.1 for subs, Kicker KX350.4 for mids and highs
Misc.: Custom fiberglass speaker box between wheeltubs covered in black tweed, full-custom amp rack covered in black tweed, two Metra car audio batteries
Performed By: Owner and Thomas "T" Thornton
Engine: 4.3L Vortech
Intake: Custom to clear hood
Header/exhaust: Removed catalytic converter, turbo muffler
Detail Work: Billet radiator hose, billet overflow tank
Performed By: Owner and Kevin Holland
Special Thanks From Owner
"First and foremost, I would like to thank my mom. She may not always understand the whole minitrucker lifestyle, but she is always supportive. I wouldn't be the person that I am today without her. I'd like to thank my club Explicit Devotion for all of their help and support, Jenn and Ryan Taylor, Jason Koski, Lenny Kaplan, and Forrest Briggs. Kevin Holland, Will Collins, and Thomas "T" Thornton, Jason Paige for the hook-up on my wheels and tires, Justin Pifer of Precision Tint and Design, and Jonathan Hawkins with underground-scene.com. Cory Bennett, Ed and Tina Eyster, Joey and Lisa Duncan, Jill and Brian Treadway, and anyone else that I may be forgetting that has supported and influenced me throughout the build of this truck."