Kenda’s K5 Blazer

Kenda’s K5 Blazer

It’s not often you come across a K5 Blazer build. They are out there, just like Kenda Tire’s 1991 GMC K5 Blazer. Introduced in 1969, the K5 was the smallest SUV out of the GMC truck line. The final year of the K5 was 1991 before it was replaced by the Yukon. The K5 was built as a short-wheelbase vehicle with two and four-wheel drive options.

Kenda Regional Sales Manager, Mike Higgs spent years trying to find a K5 in just the right condition. His search came to an end in South Lake Tahoe when he found one. It had no issues starting and drove just fine. He paid the owner $1,000 for it. Higgs finally owned his K5 Blazer.

Just like how every garage build normally starts, Higgs wanted to keep things simple. Change out the suspension, new wheels and tires along with adding a lighting package and some other small things. Of course, the more parts you add, soon the project turns into a full-blown build. That is exactly what happened with the Blazer.

Higgs started out with a custom 4130 chromoly race cage from Wicked Creations. Next a Wilco tailgate was added. Higgs went to Can-Back to design a custom pre-production soft-top. Baja Rack stepped in with a roof rack system and integrated adjustable light bar. After sitting in the garage for months, Higgs moved the Blazer to Mikey Vanden Huevel’s race shop in Wisconsin. Vanden Huevel was between projects and agreed to work on the vehicle. Vanden Heuvel was taking on a build outside of his normal wheelhouse. This is where things went into full overdrive.

Vanden Huevel installed a customized carbon fiber dash for the interior from Fiberwerx . Higgs sourced a fiberglass body from McNeil racing. Adding all these parts increased the weight of the Blazer. New springs and suspension from Eibach were added to the Blazer along with Bilstein shocks to handle the increased load. The final weigh in came in at 5,600-lbs.

The new goal of the K5 Blazer was to make it as versatile as possible. Higgs could drive at high speeds in the deserts, or slow in rock crawling sections. The front hood assembly is all one piece and can be unbolted and removed when necessary. The fenders can also be removed with to bolts per side to turn the Blazer into a rock buggy. Higgs says for overlanding trips, he can add a rooftop tent. The Blazer has already proved itself on the desert terrain of the recent King of the Hammers.


1991 K5 Chevrolet Blazer

Power Train

GM DR525 LS3 6.2L Aluminum V8 Engine

CBR Performance Products-Aluminum Radiator 

Drive Train

Automatic Transmission Designs 4L80E, Differential/Ring & Pinion Install

Reid Racing Super SH80 case

Flying Dutchman Custom Dana 60 Front Axle W/Reid Racing HD Dana 60

Flying Dutchman Custom GM Corporate 14-bolt Rear Axle


Wilwood Brake System

Arizona Performance-Caliper Brackets


Flying Dutchman Off-Road Designed 4 & 5 Link Coilover Solid Axle

Bilstein M9100 2.5” Coil-Over Remote Reservoir & Bypass Remote Reservoir Shocks

Eibach Performance Suspension-Coil Springs


PSC Motorsports -2.5” Full Hydraulic Dual Ram System


McNeil Racing Fiberglass Conversion Fenders, Hood & Bedsides

Flying Dutchman Off-Road Designed Front & Rear Pre-Runner Bumpers.

Wilco Off-Road Products-Custom Swing-Away Rear TireGate

BajaRack Adventure Roof Rack

Can-Back Convertible Soft Top

Lightforce Performance Lighting

Warn Industries-Zeon 12-S Winch •

Freesprit Recreation High Country 63” Premium Rooftop Tent •


Fiberwerks Off-Road Fiberglass-Navi Full-size Race/Pre-Runner Dash • Aqua-Hot Heating Systems Inc.-WR13000 Auxiliary Heating System.

ARB On-Board High Performance 12V Air Compressor with 1 Gallon Forged Aluminum Air Tank.

Corbeau Baja XRS Suspension Seats Front

Aim Sports- MGX 7” TFT Competition Data Acquisition Dash

Lowrance HDS-12 Gen3 & HDS LIVE 7 Baja Touch Screen GPS

Rugged Radio-VHF Radio System

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