We’re taking a deep dive into one of the most sought after classic SUVs that exist today
For a lot of reasons, trucks like the K5 Chevy Blazer can never, ever be built again. It’s all steel and iron construction, dual live rear axles, and sporting of only two doors are things that have fallen out of favor with what American manufacturers think the public wants to buy. In a way though, that only adds to the appeal of the K5, because you’re bound to never see some of its unique quirks ever again.
Happily, though, the fact these trucks were built so tough means there’s still plenty of them still out and about on American roads. Want one of these beauties from the mid to late 20th century for yourself? We think there are a few things you ought to know before you go ahead and buy one.
Get ready to hit the off-road trail, we’re taking a deep dive into one of the most sought after classic SUVs that exist today, and what you’ll have to fork over in order to have one of these early 90s time capsules in your own driveway.
25 Years With Only Two Generations
On an average car life-cycle time scale, the first generation K5 Blazer was gone almost as soon as it arrived. For just three model years from 1969 to 1972, this generation Blazer was built right alongside muscle car greats like the Camaro, the Chevelle, and the Nova. The Blazer came with many of the same engines that you could find in these muscle cars. Like the venerable 5.7-liter 350 cubic inch V8 most famous for its use in the Camaro. A Dana 20 rear end gave the Blazer part-time four-wheel drive and was used to great effect by the US military as well as regular civilians who all raved about how simple and easy the truck was to maintain.
With such a small production run in comparison to the second generation Blazer, it’s no wonder these first-gen trucks are worth a fair bit more than newer examples. Classic.com, a website that tracks the selling prices of classic cars. There are over nine pages of results of sales for these cars dating all the way back to April of last year.
Only one of them sold for less than $30 thousand dollars. In fact, most very clean examples easily exceeded $50 and even $60 grand for low mileage examples equipped with V8 engines. Safe to assume if you were looking for a cheap and cheerful Blazer of this vintage, you’re better off looking at a model from the 80s instead.
18 Years Of Minimal Changes
From 1973 till 1991, the K5 Blazer stuck to a simple formula and deviated little. In the era before SUVs ruled the road, this pickup truck chassis with a metal roof over the bed was the closest thing one could have to the modern SUV experience. That includes the abysmal fuel economy SUVs have become known for.
Fuel efficiency is a little bit better for rear-wheel-drive only examples, but they ceased production in 1982. Later models came with a throttle body injected version of the 350 GM small-block engine making around 200 horsepower and over 300 pound-feet of torque.
Many of these engines were de-restricted by their owners and boosted power figures into the 300 plus horsepower range. A four on the floor manual transmission was available to go along with the addition of the new 400 cubic-inch 6.6 liter V8. A 6.2 liter Detroit Diesel engine was optional on military spec K5 Blazers for added reliability and fuel economy. This generation of Blazer would also give rise to the GMC Yukon moniker, a name that got its start as an upscale Blazer and is still going strong today.
Plenty Of Trucks To Go Around
One benefit of any vehicle with a nearly two-decade-long production run is that you’ll never be without spare parts, or nice examples kept in good condition by their owners. K-5 Blazer drivers especially nowadays are well aware of what unique and special trucks they are.
So even though you can find one for a reasonable price unlike the first generation, expect owners to know exactly what they have and to stand firm on whatever price they offer. Even if they sold nearly a million K-5 Blazers, they still aren’t Toyota Corollas or Nissan Sentras. They occupy a niche that’s small but filled by people with deep pockets, that’s the biggest thing to remember when buying one of these trucks.
You’ll probably be able to score one of these cars on a site like Classiccaars.com for around $10 thousand dollars for one made in the late 80s with a V8 engine and light wear and tear. Of course, you could always buy one that’s been done up with a nice interior and a Coyote engine swap for $60 grand, but the option’s still open to go with the cheap route if you so choose. With classic cars, that’s a luxury you can’t take for granted. At least it will no doubt be better off-road than the crossover SUV revival of the Blazer.
Sources: Classic.com, Classiccars.com, Bring A Trailer
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