One of the first in the market was Chevrolet who introduced their Blazer in 1969 to compete with the Jeep, Ford Bronco and International Scout. Styling, if that is the correct word, was truck-like and seemed to emphasis the sheer bulk of the Blazer with its two-door cab and integrated style side utility body. Initially the Blazer was only available with a short wheelbase and four-wheel drive (4WD) with the choice of four engines—two in-line sixes (250 and 292cid) and two V8s (307 and 350cid)—and both manual and automatic gearboxes. Here the options were a regular three-speed manual, three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic (TH350) or four-speed Saginaw Muncie (SM465) manual. Two transfer gearboxes were on offer as well: the Dana 20 and NP-205, both being gear driven part time units. It very quickly established itself as one of the biggest selling vehicles in North America because it offered buyers the go anywhere capabilities of the International Scout with the wide and roomy cabin of a truck. It was also available with a range of accessories that were from the car side of the Chevrolet family, such as air conditioning, automatic transmission, carpets and various sound systems. For the 1970 model year Chevrolet offered a two-wheel drive (rear wheels) Blazer for those who used their vehicle mainly in suburban environments. For the 2WD versions there was an independent front suspension by coil springs and a coil sprung live axle at the rear; the 4WD versions used live axles front and rear with semi-elliptic leaf springs. At the same time the GMC division introduced their version of the Blazer and badged it the Jimmy. Only in America! In 1973 came a full model restyle that seemed to further emphasize the bulk of the Blazer, the front now sporting four rectangular headlights with large parking/direction indicator lights underneath. Mechanically most of the components were carried over although the range of engines on offer was increased to now include a 400-cid version of the famous Chevrolet small block V8 and a 6.2-litre V8 Detroit Diesel engine for those for whom too much power and torque was still not enough. The TH400 Turbo Hydra-matic gearbox also became an option in the new range. The Blazer (and its rivals) soon became a symbol of a new breed of buyer in North America as it was a huge seller for GM and generated huge profits per unit where the car side of the business was declining and losing money. This trend has continued to this day as the AWD segment based on light commercial chassis continues to expand even though many critics consider them to be environmentally damaging and generally politically incorrect for the times in which we live. While the engines meet all mandatory emission requirements it has to be acknowledged that we are talking about large vehicles that cannot in any way be considered economical in their use of fossil fuel and there are concerns being expressed about the damage done to the countryside. Large interest clubs have been formed all over North America by people who enjoy getting away and out into remote areas of the country where they can exploit the off-road capabilities of the Blazer to the fullest extent. Included are road & comparison tests plus owner's surveys. Models covered: K-5 & GMC Jimmy with both 2 & 4WD.
This book covers an interesting period of Chevrolet's history. The Blazer in all its forms offered physical size & big power units combined with All-Wheel Drive. Included are road & comparison tests plus owner's surveys. Models covered: K-5 & GMC Jimmy with both 2 & 4WD. A total of 136 fully illustrated pages.