This modified K5 Blazer is all about reserved luxury | Top Gear
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This modified K5 Blazer is all about reserved luxury

Nope, not 1 April yet – we’ll explain

Published: 30 Mar 2023

This is... well, a series of drawings and mock-ups, actually. But what they represent is the latest in a long line of things we never knew we always wanted: resto-modified American 4x4s.

But if, like us, you have a soft spot for the K5 Blazer and like the idea of a modern reimagining, it might be an idea to prepare for a haymaker right to the middle of said soft spot. Because Velocity’s take on the K5 costs $380,000 US and up, or about £309,000 once you’ve converted to King’s English. For an old Chevy. This might take some justification.

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So let’s start at the heart of the matter.

For the transplant, Velocity chose a brand-new heart from Chevrolet – the 6.2-litre, fifth-gen small block, generally known as the LT. If you’re a bit unfamiliar, think an LS but with some added goodies out of the box – a forged crankshaft and rods, variable valve timing and direct injection.

As a result, the new ‘standard’ 6.2 V8 now pumps out 455 naturally breathing horsepower and the same in torque. Velocity, perhaps wisely, considered this to be ample, fitting Chevrolet’s factory-spec LT1 and 10-speed automatic without modification beyond a custom exhaust.

That 10L80 gearbox drives an industry-standard Dana 60 axle at the rear and Dana 44 at the front, which spin 17-inch polished steel wheels wrapped in 35-inch BF Goodrich All-Terrains. And, at least by modern definitions, there’s nothing overt, nothing that clamours for attention or suggests that this is anything more than a cared-for and gently updated K5. And adapting your car (or motorbike, or boat) exactly the way you want and without a care for what you should be doing, is an overlooked an underappreciated luxury. And as little as you might expect it, luxury actually suits the K5.

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Even when it was introduced, back in 1969, the Blazer was the luxurious choice in the segment. OK, that was back when air conditioning and automatic gearboxes were luxury items, but still.

So it stands to at least some sort of reason that a modern reinterpretation of the original would do its utmost to lend more modern luxurious touches to the vintage machine. And sitting in the cabin, you could point a finger wherever you’re most inclined and land on a piece or part that’s in line with modern tastes and standards.

Of course, that means high-end speakers (from the French geniuses over at Focal), bespoke bucket seats (Velocity’s own, apparently) and full climate control (from Vintage Air, the mainstay in de-sweatifying classic cars). But it’s also the parts that don’t jump out from a spec sheet.

The glass, for instance, is all-new, as are the weather seals. And if your experience of old cars is a bit thin, allow us to fill in the gaps here: old car glass is even thinner again, and the gaps around said glass are often enough to consider taking a can of silastic as part of your road-trip kit. There’s also a tilting steering column, which sounds like nothing to anyone who’s ever experienced the go-go-gadget steering column of a BMW 3 Series, but for an old 4x4 from the late Sixties? In the words of Monty Python’s Yorkshiremen, luuuxury.

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So, if you’d like one (we don’t doubt it), and have £300,000 or so ready to splash on a custom car (that one we’re less sure of), Velocity is... well, living up to the name, to be honest. It’ll apparently take just 14 weeks to go from signed contract to set of keys in your hand. At a rate like that, we have to imagine they got these mock-ups and drawings done in picoseconds...

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