(first posted 3/14/2013) Back in the day, nothing said “cool” like the personal-sport-pickup truck-convertible. Produced from 1969-1994, the Chevy K5 Blazer is iconic. Like its twin brother, the GMC Jimmy, it represented…something…for a solid twenty-five years. But now that we look back, it really isn’t such a useful vehicle at all, is it? It’s a pickup truck with a tiny cargo bed. A tall, thirsty, rough-riding–and expensive–two-door ‘vertible. This ain’t no Coupe de Ville.
Perhaps, however, its vices were exactly what made it so desirable; although it was a truck, it wasn’t the kind you actually needed, so you had to be kind of cool just to buy one. Since I’m not quite sure what to call this category of trucklet, from here on I think I’ll just go with “rig”, as in “That’s a helluva nice rig you got right there!”
Charlton Heston sure looked cool driving around Los Angeles in one of these – red, sporting a whip antenna (a nice touch) and no top (the vehicle, not Heston.- Ed.) — in the 1974 action-adventure movie Earthquake. Just like Burt Reynolds popularized the T/A “Bandit” with the mullet-hair, sons o’ moonshiners crowd (and me), Ole Charl made the Blazer extremely popular with the architect-cum-hero set. Unfortunately for GM, that was a much narrower cross-section of the buying public, and its movie role didn’t do much to boost sales.
Before we dive in to our featured CC, first a little Blazer history, courtesy of Wikipedia: The Blazer was GM’s answer to the Bronco and Scout. It debuted in 1969 with four-wheel drive only, and a two-wheel-drive model was added in 1970. The four available engines included two sixes, of 250- and 292-cu. in., and 307- and 350-cu. in. V8s.
The Blazer’s prime innovation was its being based on a pickup-truck platform, which lowered its cost of production relative to the competition. Score one for GM (I guess).
The two-wheel drive version came with an independent front suspension and rear trailing arms, both with coil springs. The four-wheel drive version had a solid front axle and leaf springs front and rear, just like the pickups.
The ’73 redesign brought many, many changes. The Blazer/Jimmy came with a wide array of engine choices throughout its lifespan: the 250 (4.1-liter) I6; 292 (4.8-liter) I6; 305 (5.0-liter) V8; 307 (5.0-liter) V8; 350 (5.7-liter) V8, 400 (6.6-liter) V8; and the 379 (6.2-liter) V8 Diesel. Several trannys were offered too, including the four-speed SM465 manual; the TH 350 and 400s, of course; and later, the old reliable, albeit with a welcome fourth gear (renamed the 700R4).
In 1981, Chevrolet and GMC used the 305 with a 9.2:1 compression ratio. These engines were known to be underpowered and prone to detonation, especially with the ESC module. To achieve the 9.2:1 compression ratio, the cylinder head chambers were bigger, measuring 76 cc instead of 64 cc. Despite a camshaft swap, some Blazer owners swapped out the 305s in favor of 350s.
1982 saw the introduction of the Detroit Diesel 6.2-liter V8. It was a noisy smoker of an engine that you could hear coming from about a mile-and-a-half away. Man, did it sound good. After 1987, when throttle-body injection was introduced in the GM light truck engines, the 350 became standard.
Despite its relatively short, 106.5 inch wheelbase and 185 inch length, the Blazer had presence. The good news was that unlike just about everything else the General made in the 70s, the K-5’s lovely proportions and wide stance really didn’t grow, relative to the first gen. All that really changed was color combos and crazy-70s tape stripes on the hood.
What was most interesting about this generation is that it was made all the way to 1992, well after the 1987 redesign of the GM pickup truck lineup.
There were at least a few, very minor styling changes to the front clip throughout the 70s (on which some of you fellow readers have commented in the past (What’s up, Junqboi and Zackman!), culminating in very handsome, clean-looking rectangular headlights. Interestingly, this style was produced only for model year 1980. That makes our CC a rare bird.
Nineteen eighty-one brought us a complete front-end redo, with a sloped, “aerodynamic” (I’m using the term loosely here) hood and stacked headlights that seemed to change, ever-so-slightly, from time to time throughout the decade. And let’s not forget the new, more contemporary badges and the obligatory paint scheme changes. Although the sloped hood looked crisp and clean, those stacked headlights were debatable, IMO.
In ’89, the front clip got the last of many redesigns, this time with handsome horizontal headlights similar to the GMT400 pickups. Also available was a stripper, work-truck variant with a single-headlight configuration if you were either extra-cheap or a government agency. After all, these did end up making fine Jeep replacements for our military – at least until the mighty HUMVEE was ready for action.
Throughout its entire model run, the interior layout didn’t change much. As with all trucks of the era, several marginal trim packages were available, including the Scottsdale, Cheyenne and top-o’the-line Silverado packages.
Sadly, there was no Rally Fun Pack option. Looking back on the era, the differences separating the trim levels were pretty few–a little cheap carpeting here, a little plaid cloth there, a gauge or two, and a shiny black and chrome “Silverado” badge on the dash pretty much did it. Outside, you’d be looking at nicer wheels and paint and a little extra chrome trim. Not very Broughamy, but at least you didn’t have to pay a lot for it. But hey–that’s the way trucks used to be–simple, rugged and pretty darned plain, just the way we liked ‘em. In 1980, nobody–and I mean NOBODY–thought about paying 65 large for a Chevy truck. How times change.
So just how popular were these…rigs? In 1979, Blazer production totaled a fairly sizable 90,987 units, but in 1980, it dropped to a paltry 31,776. That figure would prove to be the nadir for sales during the 80s and 90s, and although Chevy moved 40,011 Blazers in 1985, the post-1980 numbers never really improved much. Why the precipitous drop-off? Was it a hatred of the new rectangular headlights? No. Gas lines, rampant inflation and the coming recession = no fun for Blazer.
So who, aside from Mr. Heston, were Chevy’s target buyers? Mainly, the federal government, along with a handful of rich guys who also likely owned a Corvette or two and a Caddy.
And now about that top: The second-generation K5 incorporated the rear hatch glass and tailgate into a single unit, which allowed the glass panel to retract inside of the tailgate via a tailgate-mounted manual crank or an electric motor activated by either the key-operated switch on the tailgate or the one on the dash.
The weight of the large glass panel caused the manual crank gears to wear prematurely, and the electric motor was prone to frequent overheating. There were also problems with the safety switch, which prevented the rear window from being raised if the tailgate was lowered.
In 1976, GM rectified some of these problems by replacing the full-convertible body style with a half-cab design that was less prone to leaks and slightly safer in a roll-over. These half-cabs are convertible from a few inches behind the driver/passenger doors to all the way back to the tailgate. This design lasted until 1992.
By the mid-1980s, the days of full-size rigs were clearly numbered. The smaller, more nimble (and more comfortable) S-10 Blazer and Jimmy, Bronco II (say Paul, how many people can you fit in one of these?) and Cherokee were selling in numbers several times those of this dinosaur. And why not? They literally drove circles around them.
As for our feature rig, I’m assuming it has the carbed 350 and TH400 combo. As you can tell, this is an original California blue-plate, so it likely spent its whole life here. That would mean the engine is of the slightly detuned “CA Emissions” variety. Hearing it start up this afternoon, I can tell you it certainly isn’t running the standard-issue 4.1-liter I6, and it doesn’t appear that Chevy offered the 305 on four-wheel drive models or in California that year. So a 350 it is.
Finished in Mystic Silver and outfitted with the Silverado trim, including bucket seats sporting light-blue pleather, this is one fine ride indeed.
As far as craptastic interiors of the day go, this particular owner found a respectable way to deal with faded and cracked GM plastics by the ‘liberal’ (see what I did there? We’re over here on the Left Coast) use of diamond-patterned steel plates covering the trim areas around the doors and back. Nice.
Somewhere along the line, a lift kit was added, along with Big Ass Tires that help give it a tough stance compared to the standard skinnys.
This one clearly has the (part-time) four-wheel drive option, as evidenced by the locking hubs. Which, of course, raises the question: Who in LA needs four-wheel drive?
Here in La La Land, you don’t need a roof over your car all that much either. Our friend here may not even have the original top; if he does, I’ve never seen it. And in true Blazer-owner fashion he has, once again, developed a handy solution for this–a matching gray tarp that can be stretched across the back, canopy-style, for those few rainy days each winter.
It’s hard to tell whether this Blazer is a lucky survivor or whether it was originally some celebrity’s third or fourth car. Maybe it was owned by a little old lady in Pasadena. Who knows? But by the looks of it, I’d say the evenly faded paint is original as is its interior – with no apparent rips or tears in the vinyl bucket seats. So, it’s a clean driver, which probably makes it a pretty happy truck.
Charlton would be proud. And I want one.
Just a note…they made these until 99 as a 2 door full size Blazer.
Edit…don’t mind me..not awake yet…I guess the name changed to Tahoe 2 door at some point. A thousand lashes for me
PS, I want one too…with the diesel please.
Heard they can easily top 20 mpg in regular driving.
Before I lifted my 83 Jimmy 4″ and added 35″ BFGoodrich Mud Terrains, I got 20+MPG easily, but the vehicle will win zero races. Once I lifted it, I was still able to get 16MPG on the highway, even though the tired 700R4 wouldn’t stay locked up for better mileage.
If you find one, remove the emissions crap, as it chokes the engine down to the point of making it a sooty, stinky mess. Get an intake manifold from the C/K20 and C/K30 trucks without EGR and get an increase in power, mileage, cleaner exhaust and less stink.
Otherwise, I love these little diesels, even though they have a very undeserved bad rep. They just require some careful parts selection and thorough maintenance to get it running perfect and keep it there.
Right, the Blazer name survived the 1992 redesign that also brought about the newly GMT400’d Suburban. Sadly, the removable rear roof panel didn’t survive, but it wasn’t like owners frequently used it anyway.
The Tahoe nameplate came in 1995, along with an interior redesign,.. and the true moneymaker, the 4-door.
So the Blazer gets Charlton Heston while the Bronco gets OJ and Arnold drove a Hummer. It all seems entirely appropriate.
I wonder how it would have been if GM and the US military could have found a way to continue using a military version of the civilian Blazer (a military version of the Blazer’s replacement, the Tahoe, would worked just fine) instead of the damn HMMWV. At least it would have been a whole lot cheaper.
Along with the original Jeep Wagoneer and Cherokee, and the Ford Explorer, the Blazer also plays a significant role in the development of the SUV as a mainstream vehicle in the US, forcing Ford to move the Bronco to the truck platform and wiping-out the International Scout, leaving only the Jeep CJ-series to survive as the sole remaining small 4WD (at least until Toyota redefined that market with the car-based 1997 RAV4).
I always liked the early ones with the fully removable roof. But just like with the Scouts and Ramchargers, I would imagine that it was a real pain to actually convert.
I had not remembered that this front end was 1980 only. I preferred the look of these earlier ones to the post-80 models as well. Nice find, and an enjoyable guided tour of the late K5 Blazer. It is cool to see one of these so clean. In the midwest, they largely dissolved into a pile or ore a long time ago. Now, you only see them either beautifully restored or looking absolutely awful.
I presume that the K5 name came from the fact that it was smaller than a K-10 4wd pickup? If so, were the 2wd versions C5s?
Dad’s got one. It’s a laborious process of suspending 4-6 threaded rods from overhead beams (hopefully there are overhead beams or something strong), and then getting your buddies over and twirling up some wrenches in unison. Tons of fun. Literally, tons.
How much does it cost him in beer every time he takes the top off or puts it back on?
I owned a 91 silverado and loved it. The thing did absolutly every thin I asked of it. These truck where sold until 91 in this forum(Ive heard rumors of a 92model but have never seen one). In 92 they introduced the tahoe which was styled after the 88 redesign and was built with anindependant front suspension. While still a two door it was a totally different truck.
I have also owned an 86 suburban silverado with the diesel, while it was no powerhouse it was most exellent on feul and would return 22-23 mpg all month long,and 19-29 while towing a 18 foot tandem trailer which mine did dailey for the four years that I owned it. Mine was kind of a unicorn as the engine was never apart and only required a new injection pump at 420k km. The previous owner had to replace the 700r4 at 150k km because the tcm would not shift it out of overdrive and it stripped that tiny cog. The burb was stolen from my brothers driveway at around 575k km and other than needing s new starter was in great shape mechanically and only in need of a driver side rocker sill. If I hadnt needed to be taken to the hospital when it was stolen I would still have it. And it is one of the few cars I actually miss. Pic is not of mine but it is nearly identical sans roofrack.
We had an ’84 GMC van with the 6.2L diesel and 700R4 automatic. My dad bought it used. The trans had been replaced before we bought it, and never gave us any trouble. My dad gave it to me in 1998 when he bought an ’88 Suburban, again with the 6.2L diesel. He paid top dollar for the Suburban but it had been well maintained and spent its winters in Florida. Both the van and the Suburban were good purchases, as they were very reliable.
I gave-up on my van in 2001 because everything EXCEPT for the drivetrain was falling apart. My dad still has his Suburban but parked it 2 years ago when he bought a pickup with the Duramax diesel which is more capable for towing their house-trailer.
With a back seat these made for surprisingly practical family vehicles back in the days of cheap gas, no car seat,s and huge thirsty family cars. If you needed a truck that could fit the family, there weren’t many choices.
I would argue it is more practical than most CUVs, which are essentially cars on stilts with less economy. At least this truck was still a truck and quite capable hauling, towing, and off-road. If you don’t need any of that, why buy a truck at all? Maybe some people bought it for style, but at least it could deliver what its image promised.
I had a spiritual successor of sorts to this, a two door Explorer Sport. It fit my needs just about perfectly up until kids, but ended up selling it early due to horrible reliability.
“If you don’t need any of that, why buy a truck at all?”
CUV’s fit the need “some” of that – ie some ground clearance, some towing etc. Don’t forget that cars have less ground clearance now than 30 years ago, and the longer front overhangs exacerbate that problem. I’d say that most days I’d scrape the nose on my work car on a driveway or similar, luckily it has a black plastic strip at the bottom of the bumper for that purpose.
Some CUVs fit those needs. Few are bought for those needs. Most don’t have any more ground clearance than my minivan, which is pathetic.
I always thought the square lights on the 1980 looked tacked on, kind of like some cars in 1958 when they went to quad lights. I prefer the round lights for the 1980 and older Blazers. That said, I always liked the stacked rectangular lights in the 80’s, although the 1985+ grille looked nicest compared to the earlier versions. These trucks were something I always wanted to own and still would to this day, but probably never will. As already mentioned, they aren’t practical, but they sure look great! Thus I have owned more practical Suburbans and pickups in it’s place.
Great writeup on one of my favorite “rigs.” Also, since you mentioned it, both ‘tranny’ and ‘trannie’, while seemingly innocuous when referring to car parts, are both considered highly derogatory slurs for a transgendered person. “Trans” (as in, “a trans person” or “they are trans”) is the preferred shorthand.
I haven’t been on base in probably 3 years, but the last time I did, the Air Force still had plenty of these running around, all diesels it seems. My dad used to bring one of these in cammo or a crew cab mid-80’s Chevy truck in AF blue home when he was on “alert”. They’d call, and you had to be on base in 30 min, so they had emergency lights and sirens. I remember when I was about 7 he got one of the first Hummers, I nearly lost my mind….
Not much of a pick up fan but for some reason I like the Army green one.
Neighbor had one with the 6.2. Never broke. He tried to sell it to me when he was done with it. My Datsun King Cab fit my needs better so it was a “no go”. There wasn’t a whole lot of GM stuff I liked during the time frame they were building this. This, and it’s big brother the suburban were two that I did.
Here’s that Blazer which Charlton Heston drove in the movie ‘Earthquake’
Cool, someone found a pic from “Earthquake”.
In the movie, during one tremor, he and Ava Gardner [played his wife] get under the Blazer for ‘protection’. But, what if a big chunk of building lands on the truck? They’d get crushed too.
Great pic. I’m going to insert it in the post. Thanks!
Nice pic. Looked all over but couldn’t find one..
I’m intrigued by that Targa top.Was it a one-off for the movie, or was there some aftermarket outfit offering these?
I’ve seen a top like that in an old 4×4/Off Road magazine from the late 70’s, but they have to be pretty rare, never seen one in person.
Now we’re talkin’: nice rig! Trucks were appliances to me until my mid twenties and now there are eight of these guys on our property from ’77 to ’88 in various flavors: I love these things.
The sole 4WD unit is actually my wife’s truck: her grandfather (Mr. Hall) bought it new so it’s officially a family heirloom. It’s an ’80 Silverado which came standard with the Coke Bottle eyeglasses. Custom Deluxes (BOL) models got the round headlights which I slightly prefer. I’m not sure about the Scottsdales//Bonanzas/etc..
It’s a shorty but has a longer wheelbase than the Blazer which I find odd. Its ride is completely different than the 2WD versions and much more truck-like. I would love to have one of these Blazers though. One 4WD vehicle is enough so make mine a hard-to-find 2WD model please!
Finding one not beat to a pulp is pretty tough nowadays. FYI, the featured Blazer has the ’81-’87 style bumpers on it. Correct bumpers are shown below…right along with the incorrect side trim (which is being replaced with the old-school chrome).
I’m having a hard time on this site this morning. I tried to post and get “Invalid data, try again”. So I’m trying again.
The 6.2 diesel was used in the HMMWV, at least the first gen used in the late 80s early 90s. We were forever replacing glow plugs, alternator brackets, and plastic radiator fans with broken blades.
My uncle owned an ’82 Suburban with the 6.2 diesel and 700R4 transmission. The tranny broke so he had it swapped out with a TH400. Without overdrive, his mileage took a hit but at least the transmission was more robust than the 700R4.
Question: What are the real world differences between the Chevy 305 and 307 small block V-8s? I realize that they use the same block, have different bores and strokes, and were probably designed for different purposes. If so, what are the advantages and disadvantages of one versus the other? Are any differences in drivability noticeable?
Ditto on accessing the site on a mobile device. It was happening to me yesterday also, but thought it may be the location (hotel in downtown St. Louis).
While you’re in downtown STL, make sure to go over to The Hill and get yourself some gen-u-ine toasted raviolis.
Accessing the site is ok, but if I try to comment I get the following…
Error: Form elements must not have name or id of “submit”
The 305 like many other “smogger” era motor’s had a smaller bore and longer stroke. The 307 was more of an oversquare engine. Typically during the 1970’s and early 80’s manufacturers started to reduce bore size which minimized combustion chamber quench area and lowed unburned hydrocarbons. Look at the Chevy 267, it had a tiny 3.5″ bore, and a 3.48″ stroke. Other examples of this was the Olds 400 in 1968 where it went to smaller bore and longer stroke vs the 1967 400. The Ford 255 and the Olds 307, engines that were “debored” versions of bigger engines.
Nice utes some escaped US shores and emigrated to OZ I recall seeing what I now know is a K5 in Sydney in RHD converted I guess rusty as but a Blazer none the less no doubt NZ has some just not seen by me yet.
I, and many others would not call the 700R4 “old reliable” as they were particularly prone to failure in the first years. To GM’s credit they did keep updating it and after a dozen or so modifications it eventually became a fairly reliable trans and gained a new name 4L60 to protect the guilty.
I’d also disagree with the 305 being a detonating monster especially when equipped with ESC. ESC stands for Electronic Spark Control and was hooked up to a knock sensor to retard timing and the first hint of knock going a long way to prevent detonation.
Nearly every ESC-equipped computerless 80’s GM truck I’ve seen has had the feature disabled. I wonder if it’s out of ignorance or due to actual problems. The underdash module is quite small: about half the size of the GM ECM and it is standalone. Its power piggybacks off the HEI “BAT” lead at the distributor cap itself and there is no CEL light.
The earlier models..at least through ’83 still carried a vacuum advance canister which makes me wonder if I could experiment & retrofit one of these little systems on some of my older junk. Hmm…
Most disconnections were likely done due to ignorance of one form or another.
In the early models yes they were stand alone and worked with a basically standard distributor so it would not be hard to retrofit it. You’d just need the ESC module, knock sensor and the proper Ignition control module. The ignition control module may need to be moved to outside of the distributor and on to a suitable heat sink for clearance reasons. But in doing so you’d be eliminating a common cause of ignition control module failure, using a “heat sink” that is heated to 190 degrees.
interestingly enough it is still a very popular truck in brazil as long as its manual&v8.one real american iron that you do not see any more.nice article.thanks.
I bought a brand new Jimmy with a big I6, column mounted 3 spd manual, white fibreglass top and tan body in 1973. I’m not sure why. I was a recent architectural graduate and I thought it would sure be fun to have a 4WD convertible. And it was.
It was a stripper — no back seat and a hose out interior. I drove it into all sorts of trouble — 4WD just lets you do that. I bought a plastic convertible roof (it was a DIY deal and it never really fit properly) from the GMC dealer for $200 after getting soaked before I could get back to where I had left the fibreglass roof once too often.
The transmission would get stuck and I would have to open the hood and yank the linkage into place once in a while. I lived in a wintery place by the ocean and rust was abundantly evident after 4 years.
I loved that truck and I’ve had many convertibles since but that was one of my favourites. If I could find a clean one with the completely removable top I’d buy it.
My uncle had a ’75 that must’ve been made of Alka-Seltzer. I seem to remember him having it repainted and rust-repaired twice before 1980.
“I’m not sure why.” Classic.
I find it really hard to get my head around the appeal of these. A pickup truck I can understand, and I can even see a purpose for the car-based cute utes for somebody who needs a little more ground clearance and perhaps occasional AWD without completely sacrificing fuel economy or on-road manners or needs something more upright that’s easier to enter and exit for bad backs and strained knees.
I somewhat share your feelings. But then it occurred to me as I was looking at that picture of Heston: these were the modern day equivalent of a big car of the aughts or teens, like a big Mercer, Locomobile, or such, or even the later big classics of the thirties. Those cars were fundamentally trucks: big, tall, roomy, crude, noisy. I think that during the seventies especially, there was this sense that cars were going to all become little underpowered safety-mobiles. And the Blazer and its kind were the perfect antidote to that.
I can see both points; from a practical standpoint, an early Subaru wagon has it all over these – four doors, fully-upholstered interior standard, rides like a car (albeit a cheap econobox back when that meant something), decent gas mileage and that wonderful sound.
But Charlton Heston driving one? Nope, can’t picture it.
Are you saying you prefer the sound of a buzzy Subaru over a small block V8 Chevy?
Practical depends on what you need. Those Subarus were cramped, couldn’t come close in hauling or towing, and couldn’t handle real off-road use. Fine for what they were, sure, but definately no substitute for a truck if a truck was what you needed. Like, for example, driving survivors around a destroyed city after The Big One.
Yup. You drove one of these because either you were one of the few people who needed a tall offroader like this with compact dimensions, or (more likely) you wanted to create an image – you’re an independent, a cowboy, a renegade. Someone who bucks the system. This is your Iron Horse.
You mean like him?
The 1989 GMC Jimmy used in the first Tremors was Michael Gross’s (Burt) own personal vehicle.
According to IMDB: “Burt’s 1989 GMC Jimmy was Michael Gross’s real life vehicle. He bought it brand new in 1988, and kept it until 1997. In 1997, he bought a new GMC Jimmy, which he kept until 2006.”
That’s quite an rig and arsenal too. Just what is needed along the southern border. (What kind of rifle is it? Or is it one of those Hollywood prop/photoshop?)
I get the cowboy dress-up aspect, but I still think a basic F-series would have given 90 percent of the same effect while being a lot more practical. A pickup wasn’t necessarily any more comfortable in those days, but at least it was able to haul a reasonable load while not screaming “double Y chromosome” quite so loudly.
The Blazers were certainly capable of hauling a reasonable load. Without the back seat that’s about the same size box as a modern Crew Cab, bigger than some even. And it was covered most of the time. And an F-150 couldn’t seat 5, not back then.
There are things these could do better than a basic truck, such as take 4 or 5 people to a remote location fairly reasonable air conditioned comfort with their luggage enclosed instead of the open bed. Yeah image was a big thing, but these are big capable machines that can do plenty.
Um-minor point of fact: a “double-Y-chromosome” would not produce a viable zygote, as the y chromosome mostly carries genes responsible for sexual selection and development of the male phenotype, and lacks many other genes that are necessary for normal development. In order to produce a viable male phenotype, the genotype you need includes an X as well as a Y chromosome.
And now back to our regularly scheduled postings.
All Blazers, 2WD or 4WD, had rear leaf springs, not coils. The wheelbase is too short for the coil/trailing arm setup that the Chevy pickups used.
Fond memories of riding in my buddy’s 80-ish GMC Jimmy from Seattle to Potholes state park to go fishing. It was not a comfortable highway runner, but it was perfect for a weekend fishing trip. I think that’s what Blazers/Jimmys were for. Camping, fishing, Forest Service road running. Fun rig.
i own an ’82 K5. never had a problem with it.,. has a 305 , 5.0L engine. pretty reliable. runs like a champeen.
I have a 1980 Chev Blazer. Still has paper mats from dealer, one owner, 4428 Klm on it. original licence plate, never winter driven, blue and white with blue pleather interior. convertible with 350 engine, 4wd round headlights. Is this a rare find?
I have my 1980 GMC Jimmy and it’s in pretty darn good shape, interior is not so nice but engine & body is great.
For what it’s worth, I have a 1984 K5. It is on 4 inch lifts with 33’s. 305 with edelbrock intake, cam (rv cut) and old carter afb carb. I have pulled it behind my old class c rv (dropped rear driveshaft), and had to turn around and use it to pull the rv 100+ miles back home after an engine problem. It had no trouble dragging the 10,000 pounds of rv at highway speeds all the way home (with a “driver” to steer and brake the rv). My next plan is to build or buy a short bed sized slide in camper and use it instead of the rv…although the rv is going fine now after a christmas fix. There is not much I don’t like about my old truck…”Black Betty”, or just “Betty”.
I want one sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad baby
i love it
I have a 1981 silverado k5 the top comes off .it’s solid black .how much is it worth ? It does need torch converter 4×4 new motor
Was looking for 80 K5s , because mine had been hit and run in front of my house. Much to my surprise there were pictures and some brief notations about my ride . Thank you !!! Love my Truck !!!! It took 6-8 weeks for LAPD to track him down and still driver was in denial , even after he left front bumper with license plate . Need and appraisal if possible. The interior was all redone except for the steering wheel . Including steering column, door panels with diamond plate and Billet dress ups dash and vent covers . Dash and new head liner of acourse seats carpet with inch sound reducing mate . Drive Trans was a 10 over 454 with off road cam roller tepids heads redone edelbrock high raise and a 650 Holly to save gas . Year old TH400 Trans with replacing new drive shaft and yokes front and rear . Rebuilt rear-end that included Axel’s bearings and seals . Paint and body work done 7 years ago at that time replaced rotors , calibers and rear drums . Redid all window seals plus Factory tinted front window and door seals rear lenses and bumpers. 2 inch body lift on 35s with 6 lugs . Will try to send pictures of destroyed truck . Breaks my heart !!!! Did most of the work my self !! Oh forgot all diamond plate in bed and custom speaker boxes. HELP !!!!
Get back to me please. Need a appraisal. Or a referral. Thank you !!
FWIW, the military designation for these was ‘CUCV’ (Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle), pronounced ‘cuck-vee’. The term also applies to the Dodge pickup variants, as well.
A guy around here used to take Blazer chassis’s and add C10 cabs and shortened boxes, looked pretty cool.
The 4×4 Blazer Chuck drove in Earthquake was convenient because it had enough ground clearance for him to shove Ava Gardner under it when the “Big One” finally hit! I was 10 when this movie came out and it was quite an experience to go to the theatre and see it on the big screen with the “Sensurround” sound track that made everyone’s seat vibrate! Good times growing up in the 1970s!
Ummm, maybe I’m missing something but installing heads with larger combustion chambers LOWERS the compression ratio, it doesn’t raise it.
College roommate had a cherry one of these in the mid 90s with an aftermarket soft top. It was a beautiful two tone red on white. It was definitely a post-76 as the convertible roof was behind the passenger cab, and it was pre-GMT400 front clip restyle. Spent a lot of fun times in that truck. I’m not a truck guy in the least but if one of these showed up in good shape it’d be hard to turn down
I had a 1991 Silverado Blazer back in the day…350 with the 700R4….On Summer gas, it got 10 mpg city, 17 highway….On winter gas, it got 13 mpg tops.
It was the best vehicle I ever had as far as getting through snow…..Put it in 4WD and drive sensibly, and it had no trouble at all and rarely if ever got stuck.
I traded it in at 100,000 miles on a 6 cylinder 5 speed 2000 Silverado Pickup to lower my gas expenses when prices started going up.
The Full size Blazer was redesigned for the 1992 model year, but kept the Blazer name through 1994.
In 1995, it was renamed Tahoe, when the 4 door version was introduced…..The 2 door version was produced through the 1999 model year….When the Tahoe and Suburban were redesigned for the 2000 model year, the 2 door was no longer available.
Wow, the one year only 80 front end caught in the wild. For as common as these box body Chevy/GMC trucks are I doubt I’ve seen more 80s than I can count on one hand. There’s something uncharacteristically crude about this transitional facelift, since I feel GM had the tidiest styling of all the trucks at this time, but this nose reminds me of some of the clunky grille assemblies Dodge stuck on their D100s of the same period.
As to the Blazer, I totally dig the original full open top concept it had originally had, leaks and safety be damned. In a large truck format vs the rather small(relatively speaking) Bronco/Scout it’s like being in a big ol pontoon boat for the road. With the rear section removed on these later versions they look like an ultra short bed pickup you can’t put anything into without the risk of impalement and only allow open top fun for passengers – screw them (Heston had the right idea with his! Lol).
In reality though, I do remember Blazers being very common here in the Midwest, but being in in the Midwest I never even knew these, or later broncos or ramchargers, had removable tops. On the rare occasion I saw one with the top removed I thought it was a sawzall job. People more so used them as 2-door Suburbans, which was because the Suburban was as long as a house, and once the mini SUV took off with the Cherokee, Explorer, 4 door Blazers and the rest of the SUV boomers these had no viable reason to exist anymore.
I had a red and white one. We bought it new in Feb ’82. It was 4WD with the mighty 305. After some teething issues with the engine pinging like hell, it was a champ. Hands down, the most trouble free vehicle I’ve ever owned. Not counting my stupid move forgetting I had some 2×4’s in the back sticking out the window and breaking the track by trying to close it because the wind noise annoyed me, the thing was almost perfect. I had two issues total:
1. The trim on the handle above the passenger door came off two weeks after we bought it.
2, The passenger side headlight blew about 6 months after we got it.
We had it almost 4 years, with about 60K on it when we stupidly traded it in. Other than sucky gas mileage and a lack of power, I loved the thing. We replaced it with an ’85 Caravan, even more gutless, and I hated the way it handled, but the side door was nice with aging dogs. I was very happy to see it go away in ’88 for my second most trouble free vehicle, an ’88 S10 Blazer, which I had for 4 years, and a friend had until it rusted to the point it flooded in the rain. After the S-10, I wouldn’t have a GM truck until I got my ’00 GMC Sierra. It was perfect for almost 3 years until it was wrecked, except for rear brakes that were defective by design, and useless when trying to stop on rough pavement.
A 1984 version with the 305 was the family excursion vehicle when I was a kid.
Dad hated that smogged-up 305, especially once you got to high altitude on our Houston-Colorado treks. With camping gear on a roof rack and trailer hitch rack, handling could best be described as “interesting.”
The fiberglass shell rarely came off, but when it did, it was a windy treat. Dad bolted threaded rods into the ceiling joists of the garage, and painstakingly winched up one corner at a time until the truck could be driven away.
It was retired to the family farm, where it will still start with a hefty amount of ether. It has been sitting outdoors, with no doors or shell for quite some time and while it mostly belongs to spiders and wasps, it can still make trails once you charge up the battery.
As the owner of a fullsize 2 door SUV a few comments on owners. Back in the day crew cab halfton trucks didn’t exist (other then IH) lots of these were bought for hauling the family and a camper or boat. Mine was used that way and I had two neighbors with Broncos who did the same. They were also common with hunters and fisherman who again needed 4wd for logging roads or something to haul a boston whaler up a seaweed coated ramp but had little need for a bed. And of course you have image buyers. I imagine if there were 4 door versions smaller then the suburban (like the tahoe became) they would have been even more popular back in the day.
Love the K5’s. My Dad bought one new in 1972: 4×4, 350, TH350. It was just the ticket for a family of 5. They were very popular in my hometown, an area that got at least a little winter. I suspect most of the owners would be in a CUV these days, my Dad included, if he were still around.
Within 6-7 years, it was starting to see rust in all the usual areas. I bought it in 1984 and drove it a couple years. I think I’d like to have another one from the 1969-1972 generation which, IMO, were the best looking ones, but they’re commanding way too much money these days.
I found a rare 2wd, straight 6, 3 on the tree, GMC Jimmy out of Maine. Spent 10 grand replacing all four quarters and paint. Slammed it, spindles and coils, 5 inches in the front, 4” brothers leafs in the back. Great story, the guy and his wife bought it in august 1977, they were in there sixties, it was their last vehicle and kept into their nineties. when I got it had only 22K miles in 2009, all original paper work proved it. but Maine winters had done it in. Its a sleeper now, with late model high back seats. Looks and rides like A new truck. My every day driver is a short bed half ton 2wd Silverado. These short wheel bases are dangerous if you jerk the wheel to sharp at highway speeds you may not recover. The old Jimmy got 32k miles now 7 years later but no one would give me half of what I got into it so it will probably be my last vehicle as well.
Does anyone out there remember the choke light used on this generation of chevy trucks and vans? If you had the gauge cluster you had an amber choke light under the speedometer or fuel gauge; if you had the base warning light cluster the choke light was combined with the same light to indicate low oil pressure. I always thought this was odd and cheap as if the light came on one did not know if you had a blown choke heater fuse or critically low oil pressure.
Oldie but goidie