If the Chevrolet Blazer had a middle name, it would be fun. Families and outdoors enthusiasts took to the K5 Blazer in a big way when it was first introduced as a smaller full-size SUV by General Motors in 1969. There have been many types of Blazers over the years in addition to the K5 model. A full-size Blazer later evolved into the Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe, GMC Jimmy and Yukon. These rear-wheel and four-wheel drive trucks have lasted since 1969, but have adapted to economic and market demands along the way. Smaller versions have also been introduced, including the S-10 Blazer and S-15 Jimmy.
Until 1975, the K5 Blazer, and its cohort, the Jimmy, featured unique removable tops that made them a full convertible. However, problems with leaks and rollover incidents led GM to discontinue the convertible option and replace it with a half-cab design. By 1992, there were no Blazers with removable tops. These popular trucks could carry a good load and passengers comfortably. Early models were two- or four-door designs; after 1999 the Tahoe model only came with four passenger doors. Early model two-door Blazers from 1969 through 1994 were assembled at the Janesville, Wisconsin, truck plant. First-generation Chevrolet Blazers manufactured from 1969 through 1972 were outfitted with 250 CID through 350 CID engines with 3-speed automatic or 3- or 4-speed manual transmissions.
The Chevrolet Blazer was introduced in 1969 and was manufactured for many decades. In 1972, all GM full-size trucks were updated and redesigned. The development of rear-wheel drive trucks continued through 1982, but most sales had four-wheel drive options. Engine models grew to a 400 CID V8 and 6.2-liter Detroit Diesel V8 option, although a 4-speed automatic transmission was added to the lineup. The 350 engine became standard in the Blazer after 1987. By 1994, Chevrolet had renamed the Blazer to Tahoe. Another smaller Blazer, the S-10, also gained popularity for its size.
Blazer was admired for its off-road abilities and power. The 4.3-liter V6 engine brought 190 horsepower to the job at hand. Shifting was smooth in 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission choices. Interior and exterior trim was attractive and offered in three choices: base, LS or LT. The most popular features included the removable convertible top, folding and removable rear seat, tilt-forward front passenger seat, antilock brakes, air-conditioning, power driver seat, cruise control, tilt-steering wheel, power locks, power windows, overhead console and deluxe stereo. LT models offered luxurious leather interior upholstery.
By 2001, Chevrolet offered the Blazer Xtreme, which was outfitted for style, including deep-dish wheels. Safety features added after 1998 included antilock disc brakes, passenger front airbag and an AutoTrack system to assist traction. From the full-size K5 Blazer to the newer S-10 Blazers, the brand has been associated with hard work, hard play and family fun. Production was completed in the U.S. and Brazil until 2005.
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