It’s rare when all the major automakers come up with a great new idea at the same time. The Age Of The SUV in the late 1980s and early 1990s was not one of those times.
Ford, General Motors and even the Japanese had all taken notice of how well the little Jeep Cherokee and its upper-crust sibling the Wagoneer (seen above with its big brother, the Grand Wagoneer), introduced for 1984, was doing in the marketplace.
By 1990, Toyota and Nissan were ready to release four door versions of their successful 4Runner and Pathfinder, respectively. Ford began leaking pictures of its coming 1991 Explorer, soon to be every Mom’s favorite hauler – and perhaps the biggest hit to traditional station wagons since the Caravan/Voyager twins. Naturally, GM wanted in on the action.
The S-10 derived Blazer and its near twin, the GMC S-15 Jimmy, although somewhat long in the tooth by the early ’90s, would have to be reworked into a four door for the time being. In March of 1990, the 1991 four door Blazer and Jimmy were introduced to the public with a 6.5 inch longer wheelbase than their two door brethren. The GM twins, despite their shortcomings were rather attractive little 4x4s, so GM decided to just stretch them out a little. The rear doors were designed to blend in with the original roofline so they would still appear to be two doors, just with a surprise!
The result of this onslaught of “family-sized” SUVs? Toyota and Nissan enjoyed increased sales, but the runaway sales success of this race was the Explorer. The GM models, while competitive on paper, were not much improved over the ones that debuted in the early Eighties.
The GM SUVs did offer a couple of things that you could not find with the other makes, though; the biggest difference being that they offered a luxurious Oldsmobile variant. The Bravada had a much more upscale interior and Smartrak all wheel drive. The other difference was that you could order any of the GM triplets with a digital instrument cluster.
These were really the only reasons one could use to justify purchasing one of these trucks over an Explorer or one of the other ones, unless perhaps said shopper was a GM loyalist. These continued in much the same form through 1994. 1995 would bring a heavily revised Blazer, though it would still be riding the earlier version’s chassis.
Our featured Blazer belonged to an elderly lady that my parents and I knew. She bought it new, and kept it immaculate. I doubt that it rarely left Tawas since she bought it from Schafer’s Chevy Farm. It only has 41,000 miles on it, and it was always garage kept. Once in a while the front fenders would start to rust a little, and she would promptly take it in and have them repaired. Sadly, she passed away a few months ago. She had no children, so her sister is left with the task of cleaning out the house and getting everything ready to be sold, which is why the Blazer is sitting outside.
Part of me wishes I had the money and the space to keep it, just because it is so well preserved. But I already have a small SUV, so I don’t need another one. Hopefully this one will find a good home. It deserves it.