Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1970 Chevrolet CST Blazer 4x4

Car Culture / 9 Comments

It couldn't be more different from today's reborn Blazer. And that's a good thing.

The SUV craze may have become mainstream in America starting in the 1990s, but SUVs existed for decades prior to that. Unlike today's crossovers, the so-called love children of SUVs and sedans, original SUVs were really nothing more than pickup trucks with a covered bed. Some didn't even have a proper rear seat, but rather a bench (of sorts) that had more in common with a rotting park bench than an actual seat for a human's bottom. Yet despite their general lack of comfort and luxury, we still have a soft spot in our hearts for true SUVs, such as this 1970 Chevrolet CST Blazer up for sale on Craigslist Los Angeles.

Chevy launched the K5 Blazer in 1969 (the GMC Jimmy arrived the following year) and until 1975 it even had some wicked cool removable tops for a convertible like experience. Despite the open roofs, the K5 Blazer was a true truck, although one with a short wheelbase and four-wheel drive only. 1970 also saw the introduction of a rear-wheel-drive version. Buyers had a choice of four engines: a pair of inline-sixes and two V8s. Transmission options were also very simple with a choice of either a three-speed manual or automatic, or a four-speed manual. That's it.

The K5 Blazer was only on sale for four models years, until 1972. The following year it was replaced by the second-gen Blazer that remained in production until 1991.

So why did the original Blazer have such a short lifespan, especially compared to its immediate successor? Simple, GM quickly needed to get something to market to compete with the International Harvester Scout and Ford Bronco. Both of those automakers, interestingly enough, were keen to take on the Jeep CJ, so the Blazer can also be considered as an early competitor to the famed CJ series.

Automakers are always on the lookout for new body styles and related trends, so it only made sense for GM to jump into the match as well against its fellow Detroit resident, Ford. Over the ensuing years, both the Blazer/Jimmy and Bronco evolved in similar ways, at least until 1991 when the Chevy Tahoe was born. The Bronco was killed off in 1996.

While GM decided to retain its full-size SUVs by adding luxury, Ford switched gears, so to speak, and did away with the Bronco nameplate and replaced it with the Explorer, adding the larger Expedition a few years later. Today, the Blazer is back but as a crossover and the Bronco itself is about to make a comeback as a proper SUV.

But for $7,500 this first-gen Blazer can be all yours. The seller claims it's all original and he bought it not long ago from its second owner, who purchased it back in 1972. This Blazer was well optioned when brand new, featuring power brakes and steering and the slushbox. Although there's little rust and the rear bench seat, dash pad, and original glass are all in good shape, a full restoration is very much needed. Mechanically, well, that's a slightly different story.

While the original 350 cu in 5.7-liter V8 (sourced from the Corvette) is still there, the vehicle currently does not run. The engine was dissembled in the 80s because of timing chain issues and remains in pieces to this day. Fortunately, parts are abundant and, heck, a complete engine swap is totally doable as well. The only items not original are the aftermarket radio and wheels.

So do yourself and this 1970 Chevy Blazer a favor and bring her back to her original glory. Even a restomod, perhaps?Either way, this is a fun project for any SUV fan.

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