After last month’s Issue 8 hit the newsstand and was delivered to our dedicated subscribers, we received many inquiries regarding Rich Schriener’s cool, orange Chevy Blazer roadster that Truckin’ Editor Dan Ward captured in a rear three-quarter driving shot through the lens of his Canon 5D Mark II.
The Ford Motor Company first offered roadster pickups in 1925 with its Model T Runabout. The early hot-rod scene recognized the customizing potential of the ’28 through ’37 roadster pickups and in 1969 Chevrolet introduced the K5 fullsize Blazer that was offered with factory removable full fiberglass top. In 1970, GMC introduced the K5 fullsize Jimmy that was also available with a full fiberglass removable top. The Blazer and Jimmy were ideal for building custom fullsize roadster trucks. Unfortunately, their full fiberglass removable tops were discontinued in 1975. In 1976, GM introduced the half-cab fiberglass removable top for the Blazer and Jimmy models that were slightly safer during a rollover. The Chevy Blazer was discontinued in 1995 and was replaced with the introduction of the Tahoe SUV. The GMC Jimmy was replaced with the Yukon SUV in 1992. Neither the Tahoe nor Yukon was offered with removable tops.
We have seen a variety of ’20s, ’30s, and later ’50s, ’60s and ’70s roadster trucks at shows in past years. During the early ’70s, some mini-truck enthusiasts began removing the cab roofs of their custom pickups. Some of the hardtop roofs were capable of being removed and reattached. Others were made into canvas convertibles. The convertible scene grew so big that there were canvas convertible kits produced by aftermarket manufacturers. I am waiting to see this trend of open-air customs carry over to the newer-model pickups and SUVs.
The roadster craze has again raised interest among many custom truck enthusiasts. The Chevy and GMC K5 series have become very popular with their factory removable tops. When transforming a Blazer or Jimmy into a true roadster, the doors should be cut down to match the rear quarter-panels and tailgate. The A-pillars and windshield also need to be cut down and raked back a couple degrees to create a sleek, aero appearance. Late-model fullsize pickup roofs that have gone under the Sawzall treatment need to remember the cab should be flush with the bed and capped off, then smoothed. It doesn’t matter what model pickup or SUV that is scalped, they definitely reflect a unique identity. One major concern when committing to building and driving a roadster pickup or SUV is that you are exposed to the elements. Make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen before going for a cruise.