With the help of some close friends, Dean Duncan accomplished his P40 Warhawk build in an amazing 32 days. When he first got his Chevy Blazer, it was really shiny and clean, like those 4x4 trucks they used to feature in '70's 4x4 magazines. By the time he was done with it, it looked more like the Blazer that Arnold Schwarzenegger destroyed (with great style, I might add) in Commando.
For the Blazer part, jump to 4:35 into the clip.
Dents all over, rockers literally ripped right out of it, floor was full of holes, etc. (Wheeling a full convertible is hard on the truck because there is no floor or cab support.) Besides the general wear and tear, other reasons for rebuilding it included:
Before, w-a-a-a-y before. Back when it was a happy, shiny Blazer.
After a few years in Dean's hands, the poor Blazer was a husked out shell of its former self.
The first task they faced was removing the pieces they weren't going to keep. That included removing the front part of the Blazer's tub, as well as the front fenders. The twisted and cracked frame also required some work. Sections of it were removed and replaced with frame pieces from a 2wd 1-ton frame. While they were at it, the area around the steering box was beefed up and a heavy duty engine cross member was built. Probably a good idea considering the torque of the new motor, a Chevy 468 big block.
A cab from a pickup truck was installed. When equipped with a bench seat, it would provide the three-person seating Dean wanted. To protect his family, a tight-fitting roll cage was fabbed up. The cage's tubes went right through the dash to provide maximum space for the occupants.
The P40 Warhawk theme began with the flame painted hood and fenders that Dean got from a buddy who abandoned some other project. Black pinstripes were added to simulate metal panels. Since Dean couldn't afford a custom paint job, he had some decals made to simulate rivets. The gauge panel got a similar pinstripe and sticker job to continue the aircraft look inside the truck. After putting the bench seat in and having a sit, Dean decided that the roof wasn't going to suit him at all. So out came the Sawzall and the roof was gone.
With the roof gone, structural rigidity was restored (and increased) by gussetting the windshield frame and parts of the cab to the roll cage. The Sawzall was also employed to remove the rocker panels, which were replaced with heavy wall square tube steel.
Next, the rebuilt big block was assembled with a host of improvements like a dual roller cam chain, MSD ignition, Holley 750 cfm double pumper carb, high flow fuel pump, Hooker Pro Comp long tube headers, etc. On paper it came out to 400hp and 535lb-ft @ 2000rpm. Mmm, torquey. After the motor was installed, the build was finished off with the addition of some eyes to complete the Warhawk look. Not bad for 32 days.
(Some of the photos near the end show work that was done on the Blazer after the 32-day period.)
Removing the blown 355.
Twisted and cracked frame.
The cab and front clip were junked. The damaged parts of the frame were removed.
Parts of a 2wd 1-ton frame were grafted onto the old frame.
The steering box section of the frame was beefed up.
A heavy duty, custom engine crossmember was built.
The new cab installed.
A tight-fitting cage was fabbed up to provide protection for Dean and his family.
The P40 Warhawk theme began with this hood. To simulate rivets without spending a bunch of money...or putting in a ton of rivets, Dean had some stickers made.
Ready to receive the motor.
Dean's redneck garage, in case you think he was lucky enough to have a big shop to do all his work in.
After putting a seat in the cab and sitting in it, Dean decided that the roof had to go.
With the roof gone, more tube was added to the cage for both safety and an aircraft look. The windshield frame and parts of the cab were gussetted to the cage as well.
Rocker panels were cut off and replaced with sliders.
The 468 in its new home.
With the hood, fenders, and teeth painted on the flares, the P40 Warhawk is looking like its name.
The Blazer roof was hacked up to provide a roof for the new cab. Bullet hole stickers and fighter plane exhaust pipes add to the Warhawk look.
Eyes on the front fenders complete the look.
Grooving the Boggers.
Replaced the exhaust with 3" Flo Pro race mufflers.
The finished product.
The doors were converted into half-doors.
Half doors all done.
Of course, the build didn't simply stop after 32 days. It's an on-going project. Dean has since built some half doors, installed a kickin' stereo system, crossover steering, and some other goodies. Oh, he also rolled it off a dirt road. For all the sordid details and even more photos, check out his build thread on the BC4x4 message board.
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