This is an original 1976 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne Chalet camper, it’s a rare vehicle nowadays from the 1970s golden age of RVs, and unusually, it could be ordered directly through Chevrolet dealers.
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 in total and far fewer remain on the road today.
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 move between.
- 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.
The 1970s: The Golden Age Of The RV
During the 1970s, the recreational four-wheel drive industry experienced a significant boom. What had started as a relatively obscure genre in the 1950s and 1960s had now gained firm footing, with Americans across the country embracing four-wheel drives with great enthusiasm.
The 1970s marked not just the rise of recreational four-wheel drives but also witnessed the growing popularity of dirt bikes and the American fascination with RVs. Among various attempts to capitalize on the RV sector, General Motors stood out with two notable offerings: the GMC Motorhome and the Chevrolet Blazer Chalet, catering to different segments of the market.
While the GMC Motorhome was a luxurious, self-contained home on wheels, the Blazer Chalet provided more simple accommodation but this was paired with the freedom to venture almost anywhere thanks to the vehicle’s 4×4 underpinnings.
Each Blazer Chalet began its life on the regular Blazer production line before being sent to Chinook Mobilodge Inc. for completion. Here, the rear portion of the original passenger cab was cut out, making way for the installation of a steel-framed, fiberglass camper shell.
This camper shell, though fixed permanently, limited the vehicle’s versatility to some extent. However, resourceful owners discovered ways to remove it for repairs or to revert the vehicle to its standard Blazer form if they desired.
“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.
The Blazer Chalet Fittings + Options
The Blazer Chalet came with an extensive list of options, although notably, a toilet was not included, leaving owners to rely on nature (or public restrooms) during their excursions. For those looking to upgrade their camping experience, the options list allowed for two additional fold-down beds, enabling the vehicle to sleep four, as well as an electric refrigerator with an extra battery.
Standard features included many of the essentials – as two beds, seating for four, a small dinette table, a sink with a five-gallon water capacity, a two-burner gas stove, and an icebox for those who didn’t opt for the fridge.
The world of four-wheel drive campers has undergone significant evolution over the past few decades. That said, the vintage charm of original models like the Blazer Chalet remains undeniable. With the recent surge in popularity of vintage four-wheelers, it’s only a matter of time before a new generation of enthusiasts discovers the allure of classic campers.
The 1976 Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne Chalet Shown Here
This 1976 Chevrolet Blazer is one of just 1,800 Chalet models that were built during the short two-year production run. It’s finished in a very 1970s two-tone tan and bronze over a tan upholstery interior. It’s powered by a 350 cubic inch (5.7 liter) V8 mated to a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission, and it has a dual-range transfer case.
This Blazer also includes the full Cheyenne Equipment package with 15″ rally wheels, in the rear you’ll find a dinette seating area, a kitchenette, an expandable camper top, air conditioning, and there’s an Audiovox AM/FM/cassette stereo in the cab up front.
Those 15″ wheels are fitted with 33×10.5″ Toyo M/T Open Country tires and stopping is taken care of with power-assisted front disc brakes and drums in the rear. This Blazer also came from the factory with power steering and manually-locking front hubs.
The factory-fitted V8 was good for 165 bhp and 265 lb ft of torque when new, it’s fitted with a four-barrel carburetor, an HEI-style distributor, Flowmaster mufflers and tubular exhaust headers.
It’s clear that the vehicle isn’t in perfect condition, though it has received some care recently, and it was refinished in two-tone tan and bronze with multi-color accent stripes under previous ownership. Not a lot of original Chevrolet K5 Blazer Cheyenne Chalets have survived, rust and scrap yards seem to have claimed most of them, so it’ll be interesting to see what this one sells for.
It’s now being offered for sale on Bring a Trailer out of Irondale, Colorado with a clean Montana title in the seller’s name and 57,000 miles showing on the odometer. If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer
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