Have you ever seen a unicorn? I’m not talking about the mythical beast with the horn. I’m talking about that one special ride that you would just love to own. Maybe it was that first car that got away, or it was the vehicle that was on a poster in Dad’s garage growing up. For me, it’s the first-generation Chevrolet Blazers. Once upon a time, I owned a 1985 Blazer. My friends and I had so much fun in that thing it should have been illegal. In fact, some of it was.
Sharp readers may have heard of the company Motor City K5. If you have never heard of them then check out some of the other builds we’ve featured of theirs. We first met the owner of Motor City K5, Mark Sopko, at the Detroit Autorama. Since then we have kept in touch. But even still, I was surprised when I received a call from Mark. He told me he had something I just had to see. Well, turns out Mark had just purchased the holy grail of Chevrolet Blazers. If you are a fan of first-generation Blazers then read on for one heck of a story.
A Bit Of Blazer History
Before we can get too far into the weeds we have to talk about Vic Hickey. Hickey was born in 1919 in Akron Ohio. He would go on to contribute to the design of the Chevy Blazer, Humvee, the Lunar Rovers, and the legendary Baja Boot. Actors Steve McQueen and James Garner raced the Baja Boot. The Boot was the first purpose-built vehicle for the epic and famous Baja desert racing events. The Boot was also the first-place finisher at the Baja 500 while piloted by Bud Ekins in 1969.
Hickey is known for designing innovative vehicles and in some cases, vehicles that were well before their time. He had a passion for off-road racing in particular. In 1959 Hickey designed an off-roader he called the Trailblazer. The prototype had a General Motors engine and was designed to be made available to the public. At the time Ed Cole was the general manager for GM. He came to California to check out the new off-roader. After some test driving he bought the name, rights to the vehicle, and offered Hickey a job as a research and development engineer.
After joining General Motors Hickey helped to push innovations for independent suspensions. He was also a major contributor to the designs of the Lunar Lander and Humvee before leaving GM in 1968. When he left he continued to maintain a strong relationship with GM. He also opened his own company, Hickey Enterprises. The company sold a variety of aftermarket accessories until Hickey sold the company in 1979. Vic Hickey eventually passed away in 2003 at age 84.
Why All These Details
So why does all that history matter? Well, what if I told you that the Blazer Mark from Motor City K5 called me about, was the very first Chevy Blazer ever built? It was built in 1968 and is a preproduction model specifically built by Hickey to race. When Mark discovered the truck existed he just had to have it.
Mark is not just a business owner that specializes in the Chevy Blazer. He is a true enthusiast. Mark has been aware of the history of the Chevy Blazer for decades. He is well aware of Mr. Hickey. In fact, Mark is the proud owner of Hickey Enterprises today. The resurrection of the business is currently in process. Soon Blazer aficionados will be able to purchase original Hickey Enterprises parts. The parts will be original Hickey designs with modern manufacturing processing.
One Of A Kind 1968 Chevy Blazer Find
Mark first found out about the truck from an Internet forum. He shares, “The lady that found it was up north of San Francisco. Her name is Michelle Woods. She told me her family had a cabin up in the woods. There was always a Blazer sitting out in this field with no top. She drove by it for 20 years. Then one day there was a group of people out in the field standing next to it. So she stopped and talked to them. She had owned Blazers in the past and asked if they would like a top for it. The group said they would prefer to sell it. All they knew about the truck was that it had been in a magazine at one time or another. She purchased the truck on the spot for $100.
After getting the truck home and doing some Internet research she went to a forum. She started by asking questions and posting pictures of this alleged 1968 Chevy Blazer. While many thought it was impossible, some pointed out details that matched.” Mark happens to be on those same forums and has many contacts in the vintage off-road racing community. One of those contacts was able to make the connection for Mark. From there, a deal was eventually struck. Mark remembers thinking, “I have to try and get this thing. Sure I can only afford so much. At the same time, I really feel like I’m probably the right guy for the deal.” Now that the deal was done it was time to decide how to move forward.
What Does The Future Hold For This 1968 Chevy Blazer Unicorn?
Mark explains, “I wanted to do a patina restoration. In theory, it would have been so cool. It has too much rot and there are too many problems. Now we will do a full restoration and be done with it. We’re going to make it the best it can be.” Once the truck is restored the question of what next will be explored. “I’ll never get rid of it, but I am excited and proud to have it,” Mark admitted.
Mark has already talked to GM. He reports that the heritage museum would like to be able to exhibit it there. “It’s exciting and so neat. To make that connection it almost seems like it was meant to be,” he exclaimed. From here the truck will be disassembled and all rust and damage from years in a field will be fixed. Stay tuned as we cover the next steps in restoring this 1968 Chevy Blazer unicorn.