The Chevrolet Blazer Chalet and its sibling, the GMC Jimmy Casa Grande, were only built in 1976 and 1977 in relatively limited numbers – it’s believed that just 1,800 were made and far fewer remain on the road today.
The thought process behind the creation of the Blazer Chalet was simple enough, the designers seem to have wanted to create a cabin on four wheels that you could take with you to remote locations, so you didn’t need to set anything up when you arrived.
Fast Facts – The Chevrolet Blazer Chalet
- The Chevrolet Blazer Chalet was built between 1976 and 1977 as a collaboration between General Motors and recreational vehicle manufacturer Chinook Mobilodge Inc.
- The camper on the back of the Blazer Chalet is designed to be permanently affixed, and the space between the Blazer’s passenger cab and accommodation in the rear is open, allowing people to walk through.
- The camper has a pop-top roof that allows it to accommodate people up to 6’5″ tall, it comes as standard with two beds however additional drop down beds were available as an option.
- There are thought to be a few hundred surviving examples of the Blazer Chalet and the Jimmy Casa Grande, with values varying wildly based on the condition that they’re in.
A Four-Wheel Drive Cabin In The Woods
By the mid-1970s the recreational four-wheel drive industry was booming. From its relatively obscure origins in the 1950s and 1960s the genre had found its feet, and Americans across the country were buying up four-wheel drives in their droves.
A few other revolutions were happening concurrently, the dirt bike craze was sweeping the nation and showing no signs of abating, and the American infatuation with RVs was taking off. In the 1970s General Motors was showing significant interest in the RV sector and they tried a number of approaches to capitalize on it.
Two of the most memorable were perhaps the GMC Motorhome and the Chevrolet Blazer Chalet, both vastly different types of RVs, designed to appeal to both ends of the market. Whereas the Motorhome was a large self-contained home on wheels the Blazer Chalet offered more spartan accommodation, but it also gave owners the ability to go almost anywhere.
Each Blazer Chalet started life on the production line with all of the regular Blazers, they were then sent to the facilities of Chinook Mobilodge Inc. who completed the build process. This build process included cutting out the back of the original passenger cab before the installation of the steel-framed, fiberglass camper shell back.
The camper shell was designed to be permanently fitted, which did limit the versatility of the vehicle somewhat, though some owners have found a way of removing them for repairs or to convert the vehicle back to a standard Blazer.
“Did you ever notice that the toughest places to get to usually turn out to be the nicest places to stay? Too bad you couldn’t have a neat little cabin right in the middle of it all. With a new Chevy Blazer Chalet, you’ve got it.” – Blazer Chalet advertisement, 1977.
Chalet Fittings + Options
The options list when ordering your Blazer Chalet was long, though none of the options included a toilet, so owners had to make do in the woods on that front. When placing your order you could choose to have two additional fold down beds (allowing the vehicle to sleep four), and an electric refrigerator with an extra battery.
The standard options included everything you really needed, like two beds, seating for four, a small dinette table, a sink with a water carrying capacity of five gallons, a two burner gas stove, and an icebox (if you didn’t opt for the fridge).
Four-wheel drive campers have come a long way over the past few decades but there’s an undeniable charm to these older original models, and with the recent explosion in popularity of vintage four-wheelers it’s only a matter of time before vehicles like the Blazer Chalet are discovered by a new generation of enthusiasts.
The 1977 Chevrolet Blazer Chalet Shown Here
The Chalet you see here is a 1977 model the final year of production. Amazingly this vehicle has been owned by the same family since it was new, and it’s still wearing its original paintwork.
When it was ordered almost every option box was ticked, including power steering, cruise control, and air conditioning. It was also fitted with the top-of-the-range 400 cubic inch V8 mated to the Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission, which sends power to the wheels via a full-time four-wheel drive system.
This Chalet has recently received a refurbishment and all items that needed restoring were seen to. The listing explains that it has no body or chassis rust, and it presents in excellent original condition throughout.
Images courtesy of Garage Kept Motors
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