THE K5 BLAZER WAS GM'S ANSWER TO THE FORD BRONCO.
By the time Ford and Jeep were manufacturing and selling the Bronco and CJ, GM were nowhere in sight in the 4x4 SUV game. Heck, even International Harvester had the Scout. Where were Chevy & GMC? It was time to bring the fight to the competition…
Enter the K5 Blazer.
Better late than never...
The K5 Blazer was the answer and GM’s in to join the 4x4 party. However, unlike its rivals, the K5 would be based on the already popular K10 pickup which gave it a couple advantages. For one, the K5 had way more interior space in the cabin. And with a longer wheelbase and wider track, giving it a much more comfortable ride on pavement. When it came to styling, the Blazer was virtually identical to its truck counterpart except for the removable hardtop, which allowed owners to cruise around with just the windshield sticking out giving it a pretty cool look. Soft-top models were available with the base trim and the early versions didn’t even include a passenger seat.
Mechanically, the K5 Blazer matched the K10 pickup, with first-generation trucks offering both 250 (110 horsepower) and 292 (125 horsepower) cubic-inch straight-six engines as well as the 307 (135 horsepower) and 350 (170 horsepower) cubic-inch small-block V-8s powerplants. Three-speed automatics four-speed manual gearboxes were offered. The auto came with an NP-205 part-time four-wheel-drive transfer case, the manual offered a Dana 20 design. Rear-wheel-drive models were added to the lineup a couple years later and offered an independent front suspension – the 1971 being the rarest 2WD model of the K5 Blazer.
Two of the same, but different and the end of an era.
The K5 Blazer was a massive success from the get-go, and it wasn't long it dominated SUV sales. GMC came out with their own version of the Blazer - the Jimmy, in 1970. The K5 Blazer and Jimmy were pretty much twins except for a few slight styling changes between the two.
The 2nd Generation K5 Blazer was based on the Squarebody C10 and continued to see success until sales slowed down in the 1980’s. In 1991, the new Tahoe came in and it was the end of the Blazer. Though the K5 Blazer is no longer in production, it paved the way for the SUV craze in the United States. If that’s not legendary, we don’t know what is.