Ringbrothers Raskal reinvents Chevy K5 Blazer

Modified SUVs tend to be contentious – unless they're as good as this

By Matt Bird / Friday, 15 September 2023 / Loading comments

Ringbrothers aren’t really like any other restorers. They don’t specialise in one manufacturer or even vehicle type; they invite commissions, however ambitious, then make something spectacular from a customer’s vision. That might be a Hellcat-engined Dodge Charger for a touring car legend, or it might be a 1948 Chevrolet Pickup with 1,000hp. Like the best box of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get with a Ringbrothers build – but awesomeness is guaranteed.

This then is the Raskal, a 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer that’s been subjected to thousands of hours of work to make it look absolutely superb. Co-owner Jim Ring says the car is “all about having fun, getting into trouble and causing some mischief”, a noble cause that we can surely all get behind. Motoring it into mischief is the legendary Chevy LS3; as is Ringbrothers tradition, however, this is not an engine swap done by halves, as the 6.2 V8 has been built by Wegner Motorsports. The 425hp/430lb ft motor is married to a GM auto.

And if that seems quite a lot of performance for a 50-year-old 4×4, Ringbrothers would agree, which is why Raskal is underpinned by a custom RS4 chassis built by Roadster Shop. So there’s not really much Blazer here anymore, but as is tending to happen now with more extreme restomods. It looks cool in Bashful Blue, most importantly. Supporting hardware includes six-piston caliper and 330mm discs, Dana axles and Fox Racing coilovers. The Nitto Ridge Grappler off-road tyres wrap around 18-inch wheels designed to look like the factory originals.

That sort of attention to detail is what tends to mark out a Ringbrothers build (along with a honking great V8). It’s in abundance with Raskal, a testament to the 2,800 hours spent on the body. The quarter panels and tailgate of the Blazer have been raised to match the height of the door, so the profile is smooth; the hardtop and standard windows have gone, too, replaced by a removable aluminium canopy with a roll cage incorporated. The side panels have been straightened, the wheel wells enlarger and even the floor lowered to improve the driving position. For hand-shaped bodywork, the finish is incredible. And it very cleverly manages to refresh and tidy up the Blazer, while remaining instantly recognisable as one.

If anything, the interior is harder to identify as having any roots in an old Chevy SUV, because it’s flawless. The trim has been done by Upholstery Unlimited (is there anywhere tan leather doesn’t look good?) and the cabin features a host of Ringbrothers bespoke parts, including the seats, dash and steering wheel. Of course, there are now also modern amenities like climate control and a modern sound system.

Furthermore, while Raskal is a one-off (presumably a very expensive one, too), Ringbrothers has created a range of upgrades suitable for any old Blazer. They include ‘a number of billet aluminium parts’, carbon steering wheels and, er, light bezels. “This build is less about the numbers and more about character,” added the other Ringbrothers co-founder, Mike Ring. “Every piece of the build was designed to embrace the fun sport-utility aspects of the original K5 but enhanced to be better and more capable in every way.” Sounds like the ideal way to approach such a project; the video really is well worth a watch to get a better idea of just how much time and effort has been invested – 2,800 hours almost sounds a conservative estimate. It’s not clear yet what’s coming next from Ringbrothers, but we can surely all rest assured it’s going to be brilliant.

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