Shark Bait: This 1974 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Is A Tribute To A Fan's Favorite Movie


Shark Bait: This 1974 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Is A Tribute To A Fan's Favorite Movie


Happy Fourth of July week to you all! In the spirit of this great American summertime holiday, we would like to look back on one of the first summer blockbuster films to ever to grace the silver screen, the incomparable 1975 flick Jaws. This Steven Spielberg classic has scared the snot out beach-goers across the globe and has kept plenty of people out of the water and safely on land for the past 40-something years. When it comes to thrills, chills, and especially the kills, nothing compares to this mid-70’s horror masterpiece.

Jaws Blazer Side Profile

John Lazzaro’s love of the 1975 blockbuster film “Jaws” led him to build this amazing tribute ride of the ’74 Blazer featured in the film. This particular Blazer is a Cheyenne edition, which gave you a leather grain buckets, a console and woodgrain trim inside, while the outside received chrome bumpers, bright hubcaps and special trim.

The Jaws Connection

One of the fans of the movie who greatly felt the impact of Jaws was then nine-year-old John Lazzaro of Lindenhurst, New York. “I saw the movie when it came out in the summer of ’75. That movie scared the hell out of me. However, it wasn’t just the shark that left an indelible mark on me, it was also the ’74 Chevy Blazer driven by the character Sheriff Martin Brody, played by Roy Schneider in the film. I never forgot that truck, and it remained in my mind for the past four decades,“ states John.

John was so enamored by this cult classic, that one day when the time was right, he set out to build himself a “tribute” Blazer that would mimic the onscreen truck to a “T”. “Every so often I would watch the movie, and it kept giving me the bug to build one of my own. I started searching for a good builder. Here on the east coast most of these builder Blazers are rust buckets. So I searched out west and found a good ’74 model in California."

Jaws Blazer underside rear shot

The Chevrolet K5 Blazer was offered in both two and four-wheel drive modes in 1974. Luckily, Lazzaro’s ride is one of the latter, made for beach hopping and off-road rumbling!

Blazer History

The Chevrolet K5 Blazer was General Motors' answer to the Ford Bronco and International Scout. International brought the Scout to market in 1960. Ford got the jump on Chevy, getting their all-purpose SUV out in 1966, while Chevy’s K5 made its debut in 1969. It was offered in 4-wheel drive only in ’69, and in subsequent years was also available in a two-wheel drive set up. It featured a short wheelbase like its competitors, as well as the fully removable top, which was available until the ’75 model year, when the top was redesigned to only be removable from the B-pillar rearward.

Jaws Blazer engine

In 1974 you could have your Blazer with one of several engine options. Luckily the original owner opted for the four-barrel 350 cubic inch powerplant for this K5. New owner Lazzaro thoroughly rebuilt the engine and its matching TH350 transmission.

You could build your Blazer with a variety of engine choices, from the 250 cubic inch straight-six, to the dutiful 350 cubic inch small-block V8. With more interior space and luxury items like automatic transmissions and air conditioning, the Blazer quickly rose to the top of the pack, outselling its competitors by the second year of production. With the top off, and with four-wheel drive capabilities, many of these Blazers were destined for beach towns, to be used as both municipal workhorses and privately owned recreational vehicles.

Jaws Blazer Interior

Lazzaro worked off the original Cheyenne interior and brought the cockpit back to stock. A period-correct citizens-band radio was sourced and installed to mimic the one used in the movie.

Back To The Beach

What John received was exactly what he thought was buying. “As soon as it arrived, I got to work on it. The paint was burnt, but rust was minimal. I wanted an exact copy, so I did the paint to match." From there the interior was built up with LMC parts. The small-block Chevy also needed some sprucing up, so the factory four-barrel 350 and its TH350 transmission received a full overhaul.

Jaws Blazer rolling stock

The Blazer's original 15-inch steel wheels and hubcaps were retained for that stock appearance.

John’s Blazer also had some cool options from the factory. “My Chevy was a Cheyenne model, so it came from the factory with all the trim and air conditioning. It was missing when I bought it, but we put a unit right back in."

Once that was accomplished there was one final hurdle to get over. “The roll bar is such a visual piece to this tribute Blazer. I searched all over the country for the one in the movie. When I couldn’t find the one I wanted, I had to switch gears."

Jaws Blazer roll bar

Lazzaro could not find an original roll bar like the one gracing the Blazer in the movies, so he hired a local welder who was an expert in aluminum. The finished product is not only exactly like the movie version, it also was built to fit under the hard top.

Amazingly, while John was hunting for that one last piece, he met a retired welder who had done aluminum welding on the Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969! “I gave him some pictures of the bar in question and some measurements, and he got to work. We built it so I could fit the top back on. It worked out perfectly."

Once the final piece was in place, the Blazer was lettered to perfection. From there it was out on the road, making the local cruise nights around John’s home in Lindenhurst, New York. “At first, I was worried nobody would know what it was. How mistaken I was. Wherever I go it draws a crowd. They know exactly what it is. It’s been an amazing experience building and showing this tribute truck in homage to my favorite movie of all time!"


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