1977 Chevy Blazer Chalet: Home Away

1977 Chevrolet Blazer

“You can live in your house. You can live in your car. But you can’t drive your house.” These are words that I heard at a young age from who knows where, but I’ve always thought there was some wisdom to them. As a homeowner for the first time as of a few days ago, I realize the feeling of being “anchored” is very real, and this 1977 Chevy K5 Blazer with the factory Chalet package here on eBay is a tempting – and freeing – alternative.

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Of course, I’m exaggerating slightly. There’s nothing better than your own space, your own garage, your own yard. But the open road still beckons, and this Blazer looks like a much better alternative than difficult-to-maneuver (and expensive) motor-homes or the frequently overpriced VW Westfalia conversions. These Chalet packages were extremely limited in number, with only about 1,800 made. After rolling off the assembly lines, Chinook Mobilodge in Washington attached the camper shell.

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A lot of campers I’ve seen look flat-out gross after having been lived in for a few years and rarely cleaned. Fortunately, this K5 Chalet appears pretty well-kept with the beds, sink and other sleeping areas in decent condition. The camper shell addition included a propane heater and stove; water tank and sink; and either an icebox or a fridge. Thanks to BlazerChalet.com for the background info.

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For the $5,999 Buy-It-Now, this is a chance to have a truly unique, rare and usable weekend vehicle. The rig still has the typical Blazer underpinnings, like the TH350 automatic and 400ci V8. You’re likely to experience fairly abysmal gas mileage, but that’s not the point! Grab some paddle boards, kayaks and grilling accouterments and get camping. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jim S. for the find.

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Comments

  1. dj

    I think it would have been cooler painted back the original way. Not the late 80’s theme. And the funky stripes are not on the camper.

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  2. George

    It would have been nice if they had popped the top so that you could see the condition of the canvas.

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  3. Rich Truesdell

    These are very cool. A friend has the GMC version, the Jimmy Casa Grande and I did a short feature on his for Truck Trend’s September/October issue. The web version can be viewed at

    http://bit.ly/TruckTrend1976CasaGrande

    while a PDF of the print version can be viewed at

    http://bit.ly/1976GMCJimmyCasaGrande

    for those who want to learn more about these homes away from home.

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    • Scot Carr

      ~ Thanks for the link, Rich. Excellent article.

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    • jaygryph

      That’s a pretty neat rig. Saw one parked locally and wandered around it having a look. Have owned several of the Toyota based Pop top Chinook camper conversions (which outlasted the trucks they were on and became trailers) and a Newport and Omega version which were the same idea, but with a taller fixed roof and wider body.

      Thanks for the article link. Somewhat off topic but I don’t spose you’ve ever seen this truck before? http://imgur.com/a/LJCTi Trying to ask around truck fandom folks to see if anyone remembers it from magazines in the 80’s. You can email me back at my use name at gmail if by chance ya do.

      Again, thanks for the links!

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  4. rick

    Always liked those, especially how the taillights on the camper matched the truck exactly

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  5. Walter Joy

    I’ve only seen one. It was in Rehobeth Beach, DE

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  6. Bobsmyuncle

    I’m biased as I’m a big K5 fan but I really like these.

    Inevitably comments on gas consumption will arise but the affordability of running costs will far outweigh that concern.

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  7. KO

    Congrats Jeff!

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    • Jeff Jeff Staff

      Thank you! My wife and I are psyched…the move, however, will be a test of our marriage. 😉

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      • Jamie Jamie Staff

        Congrats! May the move move you even closer 🙂 I’ll let you know how ours goes in January…

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  8. rancho bella

    To bad the seller didn’t check the magnify button for the ad. The pictures are very hard to see clearly. No engine shots…hmm
    On the upside, it could be a peach. Parts are easy to come by (don’t know about the camper part). I like Blazers as well although I’m an early Bronco guy (you could also buy a Bronco specific camper as well back then, extremely rare)

    One this one the seller states fenders replaced and needs paint. Maybe not so peachy……..but the price is right.

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  9. geomechs

    I can’t say that I’m all that turned on by the camper conversion. Personally I’d rather take the Blazer and pull a teardrop trailer or equivilant behind it. The powertrain is good and reliable. Some problems with the 400 SBC in the truck application, and I admit that I’ve seen plenty of them come through the shop in the dealership I worked in. But overall, the 400 was OK. I’ve got one in my ’79 GMC and it went just fine for 300K miles before I took it off the road for a complete resto. I might add that with proper tuning, that engine could get 13-15 mpg which wasn’t any worse than a 350. The later GM 4x4s had a much beefier connection between the transmission and transfer case as this vintage sometimes caused the transmission case to crack. Pretty rare but we had a few of those (I don’t recall a Blazer/Jimmy though) come through our service department for a new transmission case. Overall, for this listing, the price is good.

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  10. Charles

    Cool 70’s camper! Rich, thanks for the link. Good read!

    We have been truck camper folks for many years, but never considered one of these because we wanted a fully self contained unit. When these were popular we had a Silverado G-30 crewcab dually 4×4 with a 11.5 Franklin slide in on it. It had all of the comforts of home with a water heater, full shower, flushing toilet, AC, furnace, stove with an oven, and an Onan propane powered generator. Not as good for off road as the Blazer/Chinook, however we towed a Jeep CJ3 behind ours for our off road adventures.

    I have seen a couple of these Blazer/Chinook rigs but is was a long time ago. I used to buy and sell Blazers, Bronco’s, and Ramcharger’s. Swapping a 350 for a 400 was common practice. The 400’s were prone to overheating, and if the owner neglected the cooling system for a few years it was a done deal. I have purchased a couple of nice Blazer’s with blown 400’s, only to swap in a remanufactured 350, and sell it on.

    Of the three brands of SUV’s the Blazer seemed to be the least stable. Blazers had a close ratio steering box and if you opted for oversize tires, they were a chore to drive on the highway. The Dodge had a wide ratio steering box and felt more stable. Bronco’s had coil springs up front and had a softer ride compared to the Chevy and the Dodge. Where I am going with this is that I have often wondered how a Blazer with its short wheel base handled with the Chinook camper on them?

    A friend of mine bought a 77 Blazer with the Chinook camper on it. The Blazer was non running and rusted to pieces. He transplanted the camper to an 83 Blazer that was heavily modified and made a nice rig out of it. The way he had it set up is that he could off load the camper top and load the factory shell by himself with a hoist setup in his shop. The bumper was telescopic, and the spare tire stayed on the front all of the time.

    His 83 had a built 454 with a built for power, a Turbo 400 trans, with 3/4 ton axles and springs. It made a nice rig but was about as non-factory as one could get. I got to drive it once. It was like a 3/4 truck, so handling was not so bad. It did ride awful rough though!

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  11. Jim

    Owned one in 78-79. Bought it new off the lot right after the Blizzard of 78 in New England. I liked how it looked so much I had the dealer dig it out of the snow banks. The wife and I took it around the country for two months on our honeymoon that summer. Used it summer, winter, spring and fall. On road and off road. Many fond memories!!! Except for one thing no one commented on, no toilet. I built in a small chemical one in rear closet. Worked for us…

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  12. Howard A Member

    Incredibly top heavy, especially in a stiff cross wind. My old man bought and sold cars, as a sideline, and picked up a camper exactly like this, only rolled. The Blazer part, which, if I remember was different than a standard Blazer, as it didn’t have that roof piece behind the front seats, that was all open.( or something. Something was different)( maybe it had an extra piece and the stock top of a Blazer wouldn’t fit) The camper was too far damaged to repair, and nobody wanted the Blazer part, so he sold it for parts, and junked the camper.

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  13. Russell C

    I’m the former owner of Chalet #1747, current caretaker / administrator of the blazerchalet.com web site, and in case folks here didn’t notice it at the home page there, we have a Yahoo Autos Group Blazer Chalet / GMC Jimmy Casa Grande owners & enthusiasts forum, free to join here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/ChevyK5BlazerChalets/info

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  14. Mark-A

    Another one I remember is “You can Sleep in your Car but, You can’t race your House!” I know it can’t really be applied to this but its a Thought?

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