Last month, we began a makeover of the locally world famous “Sublime Blazer.” It’s the ’72 Chevy SUV owned by Michael “Miguel” Happoldt , owner of Skunk Records, producer extraordinaire, and member of bands that include Sublime, Long Beach Dub Allstars, and Perro Bravo. After several years of heavy use and a string of mishaps, Happoldt gave the truck a break and parked it for about eight years. We talked him into getting the Blazer back on the road, and after it was used in Perro Bravo’s new video Four on the Floor, Truckin took possession of the truck.
We wasted no time getting it to Off Road Evolution for a 4-inch Skyjacker lift with all the accessories, Mickey Thompson wheels and tires, and a booster master setup along with brake and front end parts from Brothers Trucks. We did a lot of cleanup along the way, too. The frame and inner fenderwells got a fresh coat of Satin Black, we replaced the brakelines and bumpstops with new units and cut off old exhaust hangers. Fresh grease and fluid was added and even the engine got a once over. Some engine smell was getting into the cab, so we replaced the breather, PVC, and hoses and sealed up any open holes in the firewall. When we last left off, we had the truck aligned at New Century Tire and were soon riding around in style and comfort.
While the altitude adjustment and new shoes really helped the looks of the truck, we still had not achieved that mean look we were looking for. We decided some new trim from Brothers Trucks with just a few changes and general cleanup would really change the look of the Blazer. We didn’t want to overdo it. We just wanted it to regain its former glory around town. When the truck was back in shape, we met up with Happoldt and did a TV-style reveal at the beach just a few hundred yards from where the band Sublime played for the very first time more than 25 years ago.
Follow along as we get the exterior up to par with the underside on this SUV and check out Brothers website for all of your GM truck needs, and visit Trucktrend.com to see the reveal video, along with the intro and part one of The Sublime Blazer Rehab.
When we first got our hands on Michael “Miguel” Happoldt’s Blazer, it was still complete and running but starting to get rough around the edges. We wanted to turn it back into a reliable driver and make it look a little meaner in the process.
Last month, we got the steering, brakes, and suspension into shape, thanks to Skyjacker and Brothers Trucks, and added Deegan 38s and Classic IIIs from Mickey Thompson. A little paint and a lot of clean up and preventative maintenance later, and we were looking pretty good but still had big plans for the exterior.
As you could see in the last photo, the bumpers were dented and pitted due to rust. Brothers Trucks provided deluxe chrome front and rear bumpers complete with new bolts.
Up front, the outer grille was still in good shape, but the insert, headlights, and headlight bezels had seen better days. We upgraded to H-4 headlights and have a few more plans for the inner grille.
We also decided to go with fresh lenses all around. The deluxe, clear front lenses and ’69-’70-style side markers come complete with new gaskets and colored bulbs, so the lights look just like stock when they’re lit.
We started up front by removing the stock lenses from the housings.
Next, the housings were unplugged and removed from the bumper. They will be cleaned up before reassembly.
The bezels were removed and the headlights soon followed. This one was just crooked, but the other one had been full of water.
We moved on from the Phillips screwdriver to the 3/4-inch socket and ratchet and removed the six bolts that hold the bumper to its brackets.
Once the last nut was removed, the bumper was sent to our part’s pile.
Instead of clips, screws, or rivets, the inner grille was simply secured to the outer grille with nuts and bolts.
With the bolts gone the grille wiggled out. We’re going to hang on to this one, as it’s still in decent shape.
The side markers were the next to go. No more cracked and cloudy lenses for us.
That included the taillight and backup lenses, as well.
Most of the housings looked like this, so they were removed, cleaned, and sprayed with a coat of silver paint.
The last part of the removal was the rear bumper. After removing four more bolts and the license-plate light wire, we were free.
Pulling off the bumper revealed a handmade filler piece bolted to the brackets. We decided to keep it.
We started installing the new parts with the side markers. New red and orange bulbs, gaskets and ’69-’70-style clear lenses. Even under bright lights, they light up in their proper color when you hit the switch.
Next, we painted the cowl area and radiator to provide a clean black background behind the grille.
We did two major modifications to our new Brothers grille. First, we cut out the Bow Tie mounts molded into the center holes and filed everything smooth. Then, we painted the grille Satin Black. This will be the biggest part of our cleaner, meaner-looking Blazer.
With all that new paint, we had to be extremely careful slipping the inner grille back into place.
We used the nuts and bolts that were previously used to secure the inner grille to the outer grille, but the factory hardware works just fine, too.
The fresh new front bumper was next. We bolted it to the stock brackets with the six new bumper bolts.
We bolted in and connected our freshly painted turn-signal housings and installed our amber bulbs. Then, we added the gasket and screwed down the clear lens.
In the past, we have had to trim the headlight buckets in order to fit the upgraded H-4 headlights, but these slipped right into place.
Once the headlight was secured and reasonably adjusted, we installed the new bezels.
Back at the rear of the vehicle, we installed the housings, new bulbs, and gaskets, then snugged the new lenses into place.
We stripped the license-plate bracket and light from the old bumper, cleaned everything up, and painted it. Then, we bolted the lens back to the bracket and the bracket was bolted to the new bumper.
We also painted up the filler piece we mentioned earlier before installing the bumper. Blacking out all of these items really made the chrome and white pop once the SUV was back together.
Speaking of white paint, we spent a few hours rubbing out the Appliance White paint and touching up scratches. Happoldt had a new black soft top waiting at home, so our last step was to remove the hard top.
Time for the big reveal! We had asked Happoldt to wait on the beach in Long Beach, just seconds from where that Sublime sound was originally created.
With pictures snapping and video rolling, we gave Happoldt a tour of the revamped Blazer.
As you can see by the grin on his face, Happoldt was pretty stoked.
Under the truck, we achieved our goal of making the Blazer safe and reliable again, and we made it a few inches taller, too.
The black wheels, grille, and miscellaneous trim really stood out against the bright white paint. The clean headlights and clear lenses really change the look, as well.
The rear cleaned up just as well as the front, thanks to new chrome, lenses, and a little black paint.
When Happoldt was admiring his Blazer he thanked us for the hard work, and we returned the thanks for all the great music he had helped create.
And just like that, Happoldt and his dog Woody rolled off into the sunset. Check out trucktrend.com for additional photos, video, as well the intro and part one of this story! It was a fun one!