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A 1971 Blazer gets a Kicker overhaul

Marine audio gear in a vintage truck

Walking up to Crutchfield Advisor Brooke's three-car garage is bound to be a thrill for any car enthusiast. Parked inside, you'll find a classic '68 Chevy Camaro, a '72 Chevy C-Series pickup, and the latest addition...a candy-orange '71 Chevy Blazer. Get all three engines running and you're gonna need ear plugs.

Brook in her garage

A family full of vintage Chevy fans

Restoring and upgrading these vehicles is a family affair. Brooke handles the audio side of things and her husband normally tackles the mechanical challenges, but this time was a little different.

Brooke describes the process, "This build was super-fun and certainly not like any I’ve done before. On this one, my husband, who can tackle anything when it comes to performance work on cars, got a full hands-on lesson installing a complete stereo system from scratch. He learned a lot."

wake tower speakers mounted on rollbar

Adding marine tower speakers — the spark of the system

Brooke had a vision for the Blazer: that roll bar was born for marine-rated tower speakers. And given the Chevy rumble, the wind, and the roar of those big tires on asphalt, Brooke thought of Kicker 45KMTC65W wakeboard tower speakers first to bring the loudness.

She said, "My husband and teenage son loved the concept as soon as I told them what I had in mind for the Blazer, so I was excited to bring it to life for them."

Kicker speakers

With the tower speakers on a swivel for more directional use, these enclosed 6"x9" speakers offer some consistent fill.


A great weatherproof solution, this Kicker sub in a tube enclosure adds to the Blazer's rumble.

Kicker gear from top to bottom

Power is the key to this installation. A Kicker 5-channel marine-rated amplifier drives the tower speakers, a pair of weatherproof Kicker 6"x9" 2-way speakers in enclosures, and Kicker's very cool, all weather 10" sub in a sealed tube enclosure.

Kicker's built-in gain-matching technology made it super-easy to set the levels properly on the amp. After downloading Kicker's test tones, Brooke turned the amp's gain up until the gain knob glowed red. Then, she turned it down until the light went out. After that, the amp's gain was set perfectly.

The amp also includes a Bluetooth® wireless remote control. So, Brooke can easily adjust the sub level from the front of the Blazer.

Brooke driving her Blazer

Sound loud enough for everyone

Brooke broke in the system with "Blue On Black" by Five Finger Death Punch on the truck's JVC marine-rated stereo. How'd it sound? "It's loud, as expected, but the clarity and the details are exceptionally good. It delivers with any genre of music you throw at it. Trust me, we've tried 'em all!"

The cherry on top? The tower speakers' built-in LEDs will definitely come in handy at the annual car show the whole family attends. And Brooke pointed out that, "adding in the Kicker KMLC marine remote to dial in the lighting on the speaker grilles was a great choice. It let me change the speaker LED color to match the vivid orange of the Blazer. Plus, the tower speakers swivel 359º so we can cater to the driver as well as the rear-seat passengers...and even the crowd outside of the vehicle when the top is off. This turned out to be everything we'd hoped."

Now, there's just the matter of who gets to drive it: "My son’s high school friends have all been over to the house already to hang out in the garage and listen to the system. He absolutely can’t wait until he can take it to the Smoky Mountains for 'Rod Run' where I’m sure you'll find it cruising up and down the street with music blaring and the orange lights glowing."

What's right for your ride?

If you're looking for ideas to gussy up an old ride with new gear, our team of Advisors is here to help. Just give us a call!

Last updated 8/19/2019

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