Updated: Nov 15, 2021
I’ve always loved cars. I think I got it from my dad and his love of cars and Americana. All thru my childhood, my father always drove different modified Chevy Suburban and Blazers. Each time a new truck would arrive, it would have an increased level of customization; tires and wheels, stereo upgrades, custom paint, you name it. But what I clearly remember most about all of them was they had a metal glovebox and he would put the same magnet on each truck in the same spot. “Keep on Truckin”.
As I got older and had kids of my own, they thought the older Blazers and Broncos were cool. So, I set out to find one for myself. I was born in 1971, and a 71 K-5 Blazer was quickly identified as my target My thought was something with newer components that was easy enough for the wife to drive. While on a trip to Denver with my real estate partner, I stumbled on a one owner documented 1971 in Ochre Yellow with the original steelie wheels still on it. We had our business meetings, then went to look at this mustard queen in all her glory. I remember looking over the truck for any obvious signs of issues; in truth this was the first truck I touched to since deciding this was my plan. While I’m an avid enthusiast, I’m not a mechanic, or an expert on 70’s Blazers by any means. But I could tell, without a doubt, that this particular truck was someone’s pride, and someone cared for this truck and wanted it to be an original garage queen weekend driver. I was pretty sure the removable top had never been removed from this truck and the original 1971 L78-15 spare was still in it! The documentation was all there including the “Protecto Plate” original bill of sale, and even the original payment receipt from the dealer.
After an hour or gawking, I decided to pass on the truck, mainly for my concern of its originally. I mean, how would I care for this truck and how would modifications affect it in performance, value, and reliability. When I got home, I shared photos with my wife and kids and explained it wasn’t the truck for me. Over the next few days, that truck stuck in my mind like no other vehicle ever did. I was dreaming about it, I kept visiting the online listing and envisioning my kids enjoying the truck. After three days, my wife encouraged me to make take the leap. I called the seller and asked them to ship it to Florida! I became the caretaker of the Survivor and the second owner after 46 years of original ownership.
Once it arrived, I took the truck to my very good and long-time friend Tom Argue of Tom Argue Designs. We discussed looking it over and changing all of the fluids on the truck. As a Chevy guy, a custom builder, a NCRS member and builder, and a self-proclaimed survivor lover, Tom was enamored like I was and was happy to take this on. Over the next 4 hours, I received 5 calls from Tom in complete amazement. “Its got the original markings from the factory”, it looks the original motor…” “Its got the original light bulbs in the dash lighting”. He just couldn’t believe how much of a time capsule survivor this truck was. It made me proud that I purchased this truck.
While it was getting a one over and some suggested work done to it, the online hunt began for a special magnet to put on the dash. After hours and hours, I found a lady selling 20 automobilia magnets all from the late 70’s and early 80’s and there was the “Keep on Truckin” magnet.
I’ve owned the truck now for 5 years and everywhere I take it, I get people commenting, remenicing, and wanting to sit in it (which is odd because I’ve had other amazing cars and no one wants to touch them usually). Recently, The Auto Den sponsored a car show at the Tampa Yacht Club, and there were about 50 mostly amazing cars on display including Ferraris, paint to sample Porsches, a one of one Corvette, etc. But the Blazer stole the show; people have a connection to it like it did. When we do open houses at The Auto Den, its always a conversation focus and is one of the main reasons for the launch of our Company. As the caretaker of this survivor and living in humid Tampa Florida, I wanted to keep this in climate-controlled storage and also in a place where others could see it as well.
The kids are now teenagers, and all they want to do is remove the top and ride around with their friends. They affectionately refer to the truck as “Mus-TURD” and laugh for its great 70’s color, but I have girls…And the story of the magnet is more emotional than anything at this point since I lost my dad in 2020.
After months on considering this, I’ve decided to sell this awesome 1971 Chevrolet K-5 Blazer to another caretaker. I hope it goes to someone who can appreciate its uniqueness and avoid chopping, changing or modifying this timecapsule. Owning it has made me smile more times than I can admit. And it has made me very proud to have her proudly sitting inside The Auto Den since we opened our doors. Stop in and check her out while she still lives in Tampa.