Automobiles BULLY: Ringbrothers 1972 Chevy K5 BlazerThe master craftsmen at Ringbrothers Garage turn a ’72 Chevrolet K5 Blazer into a 1200 HP monster.
- Words Gary J Boulanger
- Images Zach Miller
Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Highway splices Spring Green, Wisconsin just north of the mighty Wisconsin River. Home to Ringbrothers – the world-renowned custom car builder and parts manufacturer – Spring Green is a mere 80 miles or so northwest of Janesville, where from 1919 until 2008 it was the site of the Janesville General Motors Assembly Plant. Begun in 1919 – when GM bought the Janesville Machine Company and merged it with the Samson Tractor Company – the Janesville plant was the oldest GM plant in North America prior to its closing in December 2008, assembling light-duty trucks and SUVs like the Chevrolet K5 Blazer, which declined in popularity as gasoline prices increased.
The Chevrolet K5 Blazer – introduced for the 1969 model year and built in Janesville – was built on the K10 pickup truck platform with a wheelbase shortened to 104 inches to compete with the popular International Harvester Scout and the Ford Bronco. Because the Blazer was developed from a shortened pickup truck, this innovation both increased interior space and lowered the cost of production by using a shared platform, a GM hallmark. For the first time, it married the off-road capabilities of competing utility vehicles with “luxury” features like air conditioning and automatic transmissions that routinely were available on pickup trucks.
By 1970, the Blazer was already outselling both of its older rivals. The Scout and Bronco were originally aimed at the Jeep CJ series and consequently all three vehicles were much smaller than the K5 Blazer.
Today, Ringbrothers introduced BULLY, a custom-built four-wheel-drive 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer making 1,200 horsepower thanks to its Wegner Motorsports-built 6.8-liter LS3 V8 topped with a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger. Checking off everyone’s restomod dream build, BULLY includes a new chassis, four-link suspension, bespoke interior, heavy-duty drivetrain and many unique Ringbrothers custom parts.
Mike and Jim Ring invested over 8,500 hours in bringing the Gary Ragle Designs vehicle to life, and the Blazer features a multitude of one-off 3D-printed and machined parts. Its exterior features ample carbon fiber via the custom fender flares and hood, with machined billet supercharger covers, while a custom BASF Glasurit Waterborne mix called Bashful Blue covers the reworked body. Flares make room for 325/65R18 Cooper Discoverer STT PRO tires mounted to 18” x 12” HRE wheels.
“The aptly named ‘BULLY’ is a thorough reimagining of Chevrolet’s premier off-roader, and every aspect of this build was designed to push the envelope,” Mike explains. “We wanted to exceed current limits of what to expect in an iconic four-wheel drive while maintaining the extreme attention to detail we’re known for.”
A Bowler Tru-Street GM 4L80E automatic transmission rides on a fully custom Roadster Shop chassis. Currie Dana 44 front and Dana 60 rear axles tie to the chassis via a triangulated four-link suspension with FOX coilovers and bump stops where needed. Baer six-piston brakes scrub speed, while a Holley Dominator EFI system handles fuel management duties with Motul lubricants keeping the engine at peak performance. Custom Ringbrothers Flowmaster headers and mufflers deliver the brap sure to turn heads and make believers out of onlookers.
The in-house fabricated seats use an aesthetic based on the theme of “floating” and combine the Blazer’s rugged nature with supreme craftsmanship, featuring fully custom upholstery by Steve Pearson at Upholstery Unlimited. Three individual pods separate the dashboard and house the Dakota Digital instrumentation and custom Ringbrothers carbon-fiber steering wheel.RINGBROTHERS