Curbside Outtake: Chevy S-10 Blazer and Pontiac Bonneville – Suddenly It’s 1990!

Every morning when the dog and I go for our walk, we pass these just one block from our house. And I’ve been rather ignoring them, until I realized, hey, these are both like 30 years old. Don’t be so lazy, and pull out your phone!

They make a fine pairing actually, two GM products of the mid-late ’80s that were relatively successful, and quite different at that, obviously. The Blazer was a pioneer compact SUV at that, and helped usher in the whole boom for the genre. And there’s still a Blazer today. The Bonneville? Not so much so, but let’s check them out.

The Bonny is from 1989, according to its plate. It was all-new in 1987, joining its H-Body stablemates Buick LeSabre and Olds 88 a year after they first graced us. Its center section is of course essentially identical to those two, but that was the way of GM at the times. But the Bonneville did get a droopy nose and more aerodynamic front end to make it look a wee bit more, um, with it, given that Ford was eating GM’s lunch with its aero styled Taurus and Sable.

Not a bad looking car, but these really did look instantly dated after the Taurus and Sable arrived.

The interior reeks GM of the times. Seems they were all so much alike, except for some minor differences in size and detail. These H Body cars were roomy, no denying that.

The Buick 3.8 V6 was rated at 160 hp, and now called the “3800 V6”. There was an SSE model, but no genuine performance parts or optional engines. That would have to wait a bit longer.

This Blazer is a 1990, by which time it was already in its eighth year of production. But there was still no four door, and wouldn’t be until 1991. That was a GM DS if there ever was one. No extended cab pickups, no four door W-Body sedans, no four door compact SUVs. Somebody was asleep at the wheel.

At least the 4.3 L V6 had been available since 1988. The standard 1.9 and 2.0 L fours were badly underpowered in this none-too light SUV, and even the Chevy 2.8 V6 were none too perky in this application. But the 4.3 finally solved that, with its chunky torque band. The fours were blessedly gone by 1989, although one hardly ever saw one anyway.

These were popular enough, but were totally overshadowed by the Jeep Cherokee, and then in 1990 by the Ford Explorer. The Cherokee felt positively lithe compared to the Blazer, which really was nothing more than an S-10 pickup with an extended body.

Two reminders of the good old days, eh?