1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

This blue and white 1972 4x4 K5 Blazer has a 350-ci V8 motor, power steering and power brakes. The interior is a beautiful blue with front bucket seats. Excellent condition. From the Riley Hogan Jr. Collection.


SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer
Years Produced:1969–72 (first generation)
Number Produced:83,567
Original List Price:$3,456
SCM Valuation:$15k–$25k
Tune Up Cost:$200
Chassis Number Location:Tag in door jamb
Engine Number Location:Pad on passenger’s side of engine, forward of cylinder head
Alternatives:1966–71 International Scout 800, 1966–77 Ford Bronco, 1974–80 Dodge Ramcharger

This 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer sold for $24,750, including buyer’s premium, at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction on April 5–7, 2012.

“Chevy Blazer is the best way to get where you’re going,” claimed a Chevrolet sales brochure from 1972. “Not just over an old logging road and through two streams to get back where the big fish are, but to the office, grocery shopping, the dentist and anywhere else you need to go… All the comfort and driving ease of the kind of family car your wife likes. And all the toughness and utility of the kind of pickup truck you could use.” Typical ad speak for what was essentially Chevrolet’s version of the Jeep CJ, Ford Bronco, and International Scout.

But the Blazer was a little late to the 4×4 party when it was launched in 1969. So what’s so special about it?

What made the Blazer unique was GM’s approach to building it. The Bronco, which Ford had been building since 1966, and the Scout, which International had been producing since 1960, both sat on short and relatively narrow platforms. This gave them good off-road abilities, but also limited interior space, on-road handling, and towing. But it was by design — both were introduced as competitors to the popular Jeep CJ, which was even smaller.

Truck component revolution

The Blazer’s designers took the personal 4×4 idea from Ford and International and ran with it, and they killed two birds with one stone by utilizing a shortened K10 truck chassis instead of starting from scratch. It was a cost-saving measure, since most of the parts required already existed, and it gave their 4×4 abilities the competition didn’t have — namely a wider and slightly longer track for better handling and towing, more interior space, and available truck options such as a/c and automatic transmissions.

The result was a 4×4 SUV that was suited to a wider variety of tasks than the Bronco or Scout, and the buying public loved it. The revolution and sales numbers didn’t go unnoticed, either — by 1972, Ford was in the process of switching the Bronco to an F-series truck chassis to keep up, although the oil crisis kept them from getting it done until 1978.

Blazing a new market

I’m a fan of 1969–72 Blazers. And I’m not alone — the market is waking up to them the same way it has to their GM 4×4 pickup cousins, which are now solidly in the $30k range when well-optioned and all-original. The 1967–72 GM truck and Blazer/Jimmy designs have clean looks, basic mechanical components, and they offer that bare-bones work-truck feel without beating down modern truck users’ sensibilities. No, you don’t get heated leather seats or cup holders here — instead, you get comfort within reason, sort of like a pair of old leather work gloves. Nice, but not plush. And the truck-happy market seems to love that.

Simple and effective

These trucks have metal dashes and big, easy-to-read gauges like those used in trucks since the 1940s, but you also can have power steering, air conditioning, power disc brakes (after 1971), and more as optional original equipment. So these trucks are very usable, even today. The 350-ci V8 is solid, and parts are everywhere. Both the available 4-speed manual and TH350 3-speed automatic are basically bulletproof. The same can be said for the NP205 gear-driven transfer case and both the 12-bolt rear axle and Dana 44 front used in the half-ton truck and Blazer applications.

The hard tops come off, which is nice in the summer months, and they’re substantial enough to be weathertight, so you can drive a Blazer all year if you feel like it. And an endless supply of reproduction parts at reasonable prices (compared with similar car parts) makes that really tempting. Snow? Rain? 100-degree August afternoons? None of that is a big deal in a Blazer.

One of the best

As off-road vehicles, a lot of these have been modified over the years. But this Blazer was in excellent factory-delivered condition inside and out. Barrett-Jackson’s auction text didn’t specify if it had been restored, but from the looks of the photos, I’d say it was. The body panels, paint, trim, chrome, engine compartment and interior components all looked fresh. The engine featured all-GM components, at least visually, including the factory Quadrajet carburetor with anti-dieseling solenoid, exhaust manifolds and air cleaner assembly. Save for a few modern hose clamps, everything was in order.

The builder installed Dunlop Mud Rover radial tires, which are a little aggressive, but they have a great look on the Blazer’s stock steel rims. And you won’t likely get stuck in the mud with them.

Stock rigs are king

When it comes to truck values today, stock rigs tend to bring the most, and this Blazer fit the bill perfectly. No aftermarket performance goodies or massive lift kits here — just a purposeful OEM off-road look. And as for the price, I’d call it spot-on for the quality of the truck in this market — although the restoration likely cost more. Just a few weeks after Barrett-Jackson, this Blazer appeared again at Auctions America By RM’s Spring Carlisle sale, where it was a no-sale at a reported $27,000. That seller was looking for a higher price, and if the recent boom in truck prices is any indication, I think he’ll eventually get it. In the meantime, he got a great drivable collector truck for a good price, and it’ll be right at home hauling his family to the store, the dentist or out to the sticks where the big fish are. Well bought

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