During the “disco era”, the fight for fuel economy in the US was going in bizarre ways. In fact, by banning powerful passenger automobiles, the law restrictions opened the way for multi-liter all-wheel drive “monsters”. So, in 1969, the Chevrolet Blazer SUV was born to answer General Motors’ concern about the growing popularity of cars of this class. Buyers immediately appreciated the novelty – sales grew year by year.
Source: Garage Kept Motors
The Blazer was the first Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) produced by General Motors Corporation. Introduced in 1969, its mission was to compete with the International Harvester Scout and Ford Bronco SUVs. According to the American classification, it was considered a truck, based on the chassis of the C/K truck model with a wheelbase shortened to 104 “(2642 mm). Compared to other SUVs, this model had a comfortable interior and could be equipped with features such as air conditioning, radio, and automatic transmission, helping it to become the most popular SUV in the US in its first generation.
In the late 1950s, Vic Hickey, owner of several automotive patents and deep motorsport expert, joined Chevrolet. He was not known to the general public: only once did the press talk about him when he designed a special adapter for his Willys Jeep, with which these cars could be equipped with twin wheels. After several years of participating in many off-road sports activities, Hickey began to develop a light four-wheel drive car in the late 50s. While testing a new SUV, which he called the TrailBlazer, he invited the general manager of the Chevrolet division to ride it. The latter was so impressed with the design of the prototype that he immediately gave the go-ahead for further refinement of the vehicle. Under his leadership, a dozen SUVs were assembled, including floating ones. Ironically, in 1969, as the first Blazer rolled out of the factory gate, Vic Hickey left Chevrolet to re-engage in competition. However, long after his departure, work continued on the implementation of the projects he had conceived. Ordinary Americans were surprised by the first model’s size and unusual design. At that time, three small SUVs were widely known: IHC Scout, Ford Bronco, and Jeep Wagoneer. Slightly larger and more luxurious than all analogs of that time, this SUV was the admiration and delight of the automotive press. In the first year of production, about 5,000 vehicles were sold, but in the next year, the company increased sales to 15,000 SUVs.
Source: Wallpaper Cave
In the early 80s, Blazer was still at the height of its glory. The quality control was severe, all the details fit very precisely, and the coloring was top-notch. There was no longer a crackling and rattling sound. However, with the improvement of the Ford Bronco, Chevy’s SUV had a worthy rival. Interestingly, the company did not take it very seriously in terms of technology. Changes, if any, were minor. 1986 model featured a horizontal grille and twin rectangular headlights. In this form, the SUV was produced until 1991. From 1982, including the 1986 model, the SUV became all-wheel drive. There was a metal roof on the front seats, and the back of the body was still closed with a plastic “cap”. Blazer was equipped with an in-line 4.1-liter “six” (105 or 130 hp) and V8 engines with a volume of 5.0, 5.7, or 6.6 liters with a capacity of 160 to 210 hp. Also, an eight-cylinder 6.2-liter diesel engine appeared in the range of power units. The production of the model continued until 1991.
Source: GR Auto Gallery
SUVs and boxy trucks were all the rage in the 70s and 80s. No wonder General Motors cars of this class were produced in the millions between 1973 and 1987. Recently, these SUVs experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to films, TV series, restyling projects, and collectors. So, for three seasons of the iconic Netflix Stranger Things series, chief Jim Hopper drove the Blazer.
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