Here’s something about me; I worked for an aftermarket parts company for four years. I’ve been to SEMA. It’s an interesting show where all of the automotive industry brings their versions of celebrities together. Parts suppliers try very hard to impress parts buyers.
The wheel and tire hall can be the most depressing. This is where the dead-eyed models come back to life every time the beat drops on the next song.
The amount of time that goes into SEMA builds is insane. Shops across the country vie for sponsorship dollars and parts to build their idea and display their prowess. For many of the shops, this means getting the daily work done and then working into the late hours. The goal is to impress potential clients with media exposure from SEMA.
I have a hard time crapping on anyone’s automotive build. It’s not money, after all. And who can blame them for building what they like. But I do have some notes about the latest SEMA build we saw.
Flat Out Autos of Jonesboro, AR has produced what they are referring to as a K5 Tahoe. The result has a large amount of bodywork to the front end including fenders and hood. The doors have been altered below the window line, and also in the rear quarters with the K5 period-correct tail lights added. The rear liftgate was adjusted to blend with the new rear quarters and then painted with the classic white-lettered “Chevrolet” across the rear gate. The interior appears to have been left alone as everything works in a 2018 Tahoe.
There is a crap ton of work in this truck and it is well done.
The modern, sharp lines of the windshield, roof, and windows do not blend with the curvy styling of a 1960s SUV. The first generation of Chevy K5 Blazer debuted in 1969 to offer a full-size alternative to Ford’s then-smaller Bronco. These short-wheelbase Chevy trucks had two doors and a removable rear section of the roof.
My issue with the 2018 K5 Tahoe is that it doesn’t stay true to the first generation K5 Blazers. Those initial trucks didn’t exist until 1969. The shop used a 1968 Chevy C10 grille and light setup (67’s didn’t have amber side markers), which never appeared on a Blazer. The 69-72 grille and headlights would have worked just as well. The 69-72 is the same width with less rake and the turn signals are located in the bumper instead of in the grille. This is a personal choice, but one that doesn’t appear to be in line with the rest of the concept.
Throwing the K5 on there makes people think of the Blazers they love. Blazers have two doors and it is definitely possible to weld the rear doors shut and clean up those door handles on the Tahoe. I’ve seen it done. Maybe they ran out of time, money, or both.
These wheels need to stop being put on classic trucks. LMC Truck did it with their ‘72 Chevy K10 and they were wrong there too.
Props where it’s due
This truck should have two doors and a removable top to be a proper tribute to a K5 Blazer, but the name K5 Tahoe means it isn’t meant to be a Blazer tribute. K5 really just identifies the shorter wheelbase and that it’s four-wheel-drive. Chevy hasn’t used “K5” since 1991 in identifying its models.
This is someone’s design concept that they came up with and executed really well. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of hours that went into this build. It’s not my particular cup of tea, but it is definitely a build that will be polarizing for everyone.