Not wanting to settle for a fully optioned vehicle with unneeded extra weight, and a sunroof he would never use, Greg Hurlbutt was subconsciously in the drag mindset. Dealership hopping one afternoon, Greg was hunting for the perfect Trailblazer SS, back in 2007. Just as he was ready to leave, a particular parked beauty caught his eye. Greg instantly fell in love. Craving the Trailblazer SS for its practicality, making 395 horsepower [stock] mind you, Greg tried convincing himself to keep it stock, and use it for daily transportation. "I'm sure we've all done this," Greg explains. "We know it isn't going to last long." While this brute is now far from stock, at least he still uses it for daily transportation.
We've all had the bug. At some point, the bug will dig deep into the brains of all like-minded performance driven enthusiasts. Uncontrollably morphing into an actual physical reaction, the buying of parts, mod bugs will eventually strike again, just like one bit Greg on his way home to Gurnee, Illinois one afternoon. Having owned a fine assortment of rides, including an 11-second ‘65 Chevelle 300, Greg was no stranger to the pursuit of horsepower. He started out slowly, still trying to suppress the urge to modify, but Greg knew the "keeping it stock mindset" would not last long. Initially, a K&N air intake and Superchips handheld tuner held him over. At first, and for those with intense will power, little additions like air intakes will mask larger performance desires, merely delaying the inevitable. Needless to say, in a short amount of time, and after removing the exhaust resonators, Greg wanted to capitalize on the throaty Trailblazer's potential, shifting the focus away from stock.
The appeal of a modified Trailblazer was part of the thrill for Greg, as this would be his first foray into a late model EFI build. While searching for more performance avenues, he ultimately crossed paths with Brandon Alley, from Fast Motorsports in Woodstock, Illinois. Sometimes a simple confirmation from a concurrent thinker is all that is needed to pull the trigger on another upgrade, and Brandon was that guy. With the short introductions over with, Greg says, "It has been a friendship that has bled my wallet dry." But, hey, that's the cost of performance, right? Or something like that…
After some professional tuning, with the help of Brandon, the Trailblazer was hitting high-12-second passes, but Greg still needed more. It is safe to say that the "keeping it stock" idea was pretty far back in the rearview at this point (with our applause). When the SS was in the shop for an initial transmission rebuild during the winter, Greg capitalized on the perfect opportunity to add an upgraded torque converter. The snow season had come and gone, replenishing the pockets of Greg Hurlbutt, only to be emptied once again for the addition of a Bullet Racing camshaft, Pacesetter headers, and a new Pacesetter exhaust. Greg says, "The heads, camshaft, and other components work well to offer nice drivability, and ear-to-ear grins arise when the loud pedal goes down. The biggest problem is disciplined street driving when every other sense in my body is telling me to stand on it."
Reminiscing about the rear-wheel cars he'd previously driven, Greg had come to the next decision for the project–making it an even further cry from how it arrived at the dealership. "I had wished since day one that I had purchased a two-wheel drive truck, instead of an all-wheel drive one." It was time to make the transformation from all-wheel drive, to two-wheel drive, while adding a state-of-the-art carbon driveshaft. Dropping the front transfer case and elapsed times like a bad habit, Greg was instantly enthused about his decision, calling it "more fun than an amusement park ride." Greg's past hopes had been turned into physical outcomes with the emotional responses of a true performance fanatic. "It was no longer a run of the mill Trailblazer SS," especially with the addition of True Forged wheels and drag radials, "it now looked and sounded the part."
"There is nothing like the simple thrill of a naturally aspirated motor with just the right combination of old school rumble and modern scream, wrapped into a SUV." Greg has a good point, no matter the speed, although that does help, so long as personal project goals are reached, the mission is accomplished. "I spend less time at the track than I do street driving the truck," and with that being said, his no longer stock, daily driven 457 horsepower Trailblazer is something we'd like to be sitting next to at a red light. Not necessarily waiting to smash the pedal when the light turns green, but to witness the sheer excitement experienced by Greg, anticipating his no-brainer response, and the loud roar following the green.