4-Speed Survivor: 1978 Chevrolet Blazer

Great colors make this 1978 Chevrolet Blazer a standout, along with some interesting options from the factory. Mileage is believed to be genuine at 55,000, and the seller notes it’s basically spec’d as a base model with some power features, center console, Rally wheels, and the 350 V8 paired to a four-speed manual transmission. Whether that makes it rare or not is up for debate, but bidding is active here on eBay where it’s currently at $8K with no reserve.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader local_sheriff for the find. There’s a lot of eyeball appeal with this Blazer, helped by the fact that we don’t see this color combination too often. The body appears to be sound with no sign of rust in the arches, and a factory hardtop keeps occupants dry when open-air cruising isn’t possibly. Rally wheels look good on nearly anything, and they work well here. I can’t tell if the tires are up-sized a bit, as the Blazer has a great stance that may or may not be stock in appearance. Paint is said to be original.

The interior is super clean, and the colors mimic the outside with a few different shades of blue. Whether you can handle that much Robin’s egg or Smurf Blue or whatever you want to call it is a matter of personal choice; I don’t mind it as it’s totally period correct and nicely preserved. There’s some cosmetic damage to the center console and the dash shows some minor cracks, but both the door panels and carpets look to be clean and free of damage. The seller further notes the seats have no cuts or rips.

The seller claims the engine runs well and is free of any leaks or other running issues. The four-speed manual really is a standout here, and I can’t remember the last time I wrote up a Blazer with three pedals. The seller notes it goes through the gears without issue, and I imagine the stick shift makes an already fun truck more of a hoot to drive. The seller is open to closing the auction early for a reasonable Buy-It-Now offer, but I’d just let it ride, if it were me – square-body SUVs are where it’s at right now, and bidding will likely remain strong.


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  1. art

    Love the color combo. Cheerful vs todays’ drab, dark color palettes.
    Funny how often the survivor vehicles are the base models or ones with little optional equipment.
    For me, this Chevrolet looks like a truck, more so than the current plastic laden trucks with frankly bizarre grille and front end designs.
    This should sell well.

    Like 17
    • local_sheriff

      There’s a reason survivor vehicles often are strippers and that’s also why I like them – less extras mean less stuff to break = more dependability and owner satisfaction.
      This one looks to be the twin to Chief Brody’s cruiser in Jaws II less the TBR setup

      Like 7
  2. Clay Harvey

    This is a GMC Jimmy, brother the Chevy Blazer. I would have to have A/C being in Texas, but I like it otherwise, nice color.

    Like 5
  3. Camaro Joe

    Nice truck. I know that in 1977 the 4 speed got you manual locking front hubs. The “Chinese fire drill” running around locking hubs at a stop light used to be fun in 1970, but it got old as I aged.

    If you got the 3 speed automatic transmission in 1977, you got full time four wheel drive. That was 8 MPG on a good day. My 77 Chevy 4 X 4 half ton, 350/4 speed, 3.07:1 geared truck got 16 MPG going WAY over the 55 MPH speed limit in those days. My guess it the same thing happened in 1978 and the owner of this Blazer didn’t want the 8 MPG full time 4 WD so that’s why it has a 4 speed.

    One word of warning from somebody who has been there. The 1977 “top loader” 4 speed had an internal issue that would lock the transmission in neutral when you went across the gate from second to third gear. Mine did that a number of times and the dealer couldn’t fix it under warranty.

    After it was out of warranty they found a service bulletin that told them what to do to fix it. But it cost me a bunch of money and GM said that the paper trail back to warranty didn’t matter to them. They’re morons, don’t ever trust them.

    If you have that problem, the immediate way to get something done is to brace yourself against the passenger’s door and kick the s%&t out of the shifter handle. That did it for me most of the time.

    That was my first new vehicle purchase and GM can’t understand why I badmouth them to this day and haven’t bought another one since. DAAAaaaa.

    BTW – my 1999 Toyota Corolla has been around for 12 years and does fine. Not many people can say that for late model GM vehicles. They need to get better.

    Like 9
    • Dave

      IIRC, there were 2 manual transmission options for the Blazer/Jimmy. First gear was either a creeper like the trucks or more like a normal 4 speed.
      The only reason this one looks nice is that it hasn’t been driven in road salt. Drive this in a PA winter and you’ll have rust issues by spring.

      Like 5
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi CJ. I’m rather surprised that GM shafted you on that 4spd lockout condition. It was a fix-as-fails campaign change which our dealership saw only one of. And, being in the shift tower, it wasn’t a complicated fix. Of course, I’ll admit that I never did the one that came in but the guy who fixed it had it out the door in less than half a day. And that was with a severe hangover; I was at the same party the night before. I overhauled lots of 4 spds other than that. I heard lots of complaints about 8 mpg with full-time 4×4 but when I checked them I found that they were either driving with their foot in the rad or they needed to find a more reliable calculator. I found that there was a drop of maybe a mile per gallon between similarly geared full-time vs part-time trucks. My ’79 GMC K-1500 w/ 400/Auto/Full-time 4×4 started out pretty lousy but with some tweaking came out with a respectable 12-14 mpg, and that was with 3.73 gears. It did that for 330K miles. It was still running good when I took it off the road for a body-off rebuild; the spring shackles and the chain in the transfer case were loose to the point where it took a notion to start bunny-hopping without warning. Out west I’d say that the average vehicle is 12-15 years old and still going strong. Two of our daily drivers are now 18 and still giving good service. Had to replace a front wheel bearing in the ’02 Tahoe (288K miles) and the brakes on the ’02 Ford 3/4 ton need attention (240K miles). I drive only domestic (Ford/GM) but both of my brothers drive imports. We all put lots of miles on them with similar results. No one designed a vehicle to fail…

      Like 9
      • Scott Member

        I have an 88 blazer with the 350 4 speed manual combo. Never had any problem shifting. I assume they had this sorted out 10 years later.

        Like 2
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Hi Scott. You would’ve got one of the last of the Square Bodies. I don’t know why GM delayed getting the Burbs and Tahoe/Yukons updated but maybe it was too much to get off the ground. At least they had the benefit of a proven model. At least the transmission woes were long since sorted out…

  4. Bear

    Kevin Berry Dang! I wish I had $10K (or probably more) to spend on this right now!! :-O
    Nice lookin Jimmy! (y)
    4-speed is a HUGE Plus!!

    Like 4
  5. Steve R

    If I lived in an area where 4wd was useful I’d bid on this truck. It’s simplistic, in a good way and the 4spd seals the deal. Lack of AC is no big deal since retro kits are readily available.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  6. Jim in FL

    I always keep an eye out for 75 or earlier Blazer / Jimmys, as the full top can be removed. This one has a seam behind the driver and only the passenger portion comes off. If you’re looking for one of these, this is a great survivor. These don’t come along in clean, rust free shape often. Looks like it may have a small lift, but the 4×4 versions sit pretty high to begin with.

    As Steve R said retrofit AC kits are available. I had a 75 with installed aftermarket air. It worked fine. Although not needed here, pretty much all the interior pieces are reproduced as well. And yes, the 350 will get you 13-15 mpg. I daily drove mine for a couple years as a surf wagon with an aftermarket soft top.

    Good luck, someones going to get a nice ride out of this. I’ll be curious where the auction ends. I bet someone negotiates a price and it ends early.

    Like 3
  7. Howard A Member

    Nice. If I may correct the author, like Clay sez, this is a GMC JImmy, not a Blazer. These are still pretty common in Colorado, certainly not like this, however, and simply non-existent north of I-70. There’s at least half a dozen in my small town alone, and many more gracing the fence line of several homes. As the owner of a same period pickup, do yourself a favor and hold out for an automatic. I mean. these aren’t high revving sports cars, shifting is a PITA, more of a chore than fun. Still, an unbelievable truck here.

    Like 4
  8. Vance Mehlenbacher

    Very nice example. Not so nice that you are afraid to use it, but perfect to just continue to preserve as-is.
    Something I’ve always done with these squares is look at the gauge cluster first, just to see if it has a tach. And then the SPID sticker to see whether it has a Posi or more exciting engine than the ubiquitous 305/350. A find like that back when self serve auto wreckers were full of these was a good score because such a low percentage had them… I have a large collection of the SPIDs from out of the gloveboxes of trucks that were destined for the crusher

    Like 1
  9. Desert rat

    To Camaro Joe, I owned a 79 Chevy 1/2 ton swb, bought it new keep it for 9 years great truck. I have a 2000 Chevy 1/2 ton 4×4 for 12 years 225,000 miles and counting. My point is you can sometimes get a lemon from any make, but for me I always have had better good luck with gm cars and trucks than Ford or Chrysler and I won’t drive a foreign made truck, oh and by the way I like the blue Jimmie.

    Like 4
  10. Tom Bell

    A great one. I ordered a ’74 Blazer with a 4 speed. It was the standard truck tranny with a granny 1st gear so starting off in second was the procedure. I don’t recall an additional 4 speed being offered in’74 but a 3 speed was the base transmission and full-time 4 wheel drive was available with a manual tranny which is what I ordered–Camaro Joe’s references to the “Chinese fire drill” is indeed accurate.

    Like 3
  11. geomechs geomechs Member

    This looks pretty good. I preferred this plain blue color to the metallic ones our dealership seemed to attract like flies to a dead horse. We sold a plethora of Jimmies throughout the 70s; I would have to say that ’77 and ’78 Jimmies accounted for half our light truck sales in those years. Many of those are still in use today. I wouldn’t kick this truck off my driveway but if I ended up with it, the first thing that would be removed and pitched would be that plastic fuel filter and rubber hose. There’s a good sintered filter in the carb inlet and it’s fed by a STEEL line from the fuel pump; I have no idea why this got changed over but I always cringe when I open a hood and find this. If you want to run this arrangement, I’d strongly suggest carrying a good fire extinguisher.

    Like 5
  12. Robert Maxwell

    I have a 77 GMC Jimmy that was a Barn find. It has the 3 Speed tranny. I’m in the process of putting it back on the road. New Carpet an Front Seat Covers, considering repainted or leave surface rust alone. Most likely put it on E Bay as I have to many projects right now.

    Like 1
  13. Ken

    Why on earth are you calling a GMC Jimmy a Chevy Blazer? This entry needs to be edited.

  14. Chas Gaffen

    Since a lot of other stuff has been covered, just agreeing that its a Jimmy, not a Blazer and it is pretty obvious.
    This one has oversize tires and has been lifted. My ‘86 never sat that high and the original H78’s never looked that big. The ‘popular’ big tire on 4×4’s in those days were roughly a 31×10 which would have been designated as a N78 at the time. The Cherokee Chief made them famous with the Goodyear Tracker series.

    Like 2
  15. Neal

    I’m a Scout fan through and through, but this is a swell rig too!
    I remember checking these out on lots with my parents back when they were new. Comparing Chiefs, Ramchargers, Blazers, Jimmies, and Broncos. We ended up with a ’79 Scout that was our daily driver through 1992. Always liked all of them though. This looks like a good deal.

  16. JoeNYWF64

    Which rusted faster – this or the vega? Sure, the 60’s cars rusted too, but why were most of the 70’s ones so much worse? & not just domestic.
    One would think with advancements in tech, the reverse would be true.

    • local_sheriff

      There’s not really much that can finish off a squarebody other than body rot (unless one also includes bombs or wildfires). Having driven a ’77 Blazer as DD for years on wet’n’salty winter roads I don’t think C/Ks were any worse than other 70s vehicles rustwise; Japanese and European cars included. No vehicle is designed with immortality in mind; if so we’d have stainless steel cars!

      However, one should keep in mind how these were treated. Being trucks they usually saw heavy usage and hardly more than necessary maintainance – and if some costly repair was ahead then a dozen better and newer squarebodies could be found locally for a fraction of that repair bill. To the boneyard with it…! Chassis/ cavity coating to prevent corrotion in humid/ salty regions was unnecessary expenditure on a truck. We expected them to always be available in massive #s until they suddenly weren’t seen on the streets as they used to.

      18years of production should prove the C/K R/V to be a successful concept. I’m tempted to suspect GM during planning for the GMT400 to go for a lesser construction – not only to please the emissions crowd but also shorten the new C/K’s expected lifespan. Guess GM found the squarebody to be ‘too good’ a construction…

  17. Chevy Guy

    um… this is a GMC Jimmy..

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