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Cheap Chalet: 1977 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

The K5 Blazer was Chevrolet’s smallest full-size sport-utility vehicle built from 1969 until 1995 when the Tahoe replaced it. Its second generation had a long production run, 1973 through 1991. In partnership with an RV specialist, Chevy offered the Blazer Chalet in 1976 and 1977 as a means of creating a cabin on four wheels that you could take to remote locations and have nothing to set up when you got there. This non-running example from 1977 is in rough shape and doesn’t run (some mechanical bits are missing), so a complete restoration would be in order. Located in Fairbanks, Alaska this project is available here on Facebook Marketplace for $1,700.

GMC also built a version of the Chalet called the Jimmy Casa Grande and across two years and both brands only 1,800 of them were said to be made. So that makes the seller’s SUV a scarce commodity after 45 years. These things were 4WD “adventure campers” that would be ready for a mountain trip at the drop of a hat. GM’s partner for the project was recreational vehicle builder Chinook Mobilodge Inc. The camper in the back was designed to stay permanently affixed and the space between the truck’s passenger cab and the rear accommodations was left open for easy access.

Each one of these vehicles started as a regular production line Blazer but was then sent off to Chinook for them to perform their magic. The 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 had a pop-top roof that – when raised – would accommodate humans up to 6’5” tall and two beds came as standard equipment with more available upon request. The Chalet had most of the comforts of home, except a toilet.

The seller bought this Chalet intending to restore it to its former glory but has no time to invest in the project so it’s now up to someone else to do the heavy lifting. Under the hood may be a 350 cubic inch V8 but it doesn’t run as the carburetor has been removed as well as the alternator bracket. There is also no title, so you’ll have to get it bonded to move it through Canada if you’re taking it to the lower 48. Rust seems to be abundant, and the interior and Chalet portion look to need a lot of help. But the asking price might appeal to someone interested in rebuilding this RV to look like the example in the last photo above.

Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    For crying out loud it’s in Fairbanks Alaska. Shouldn’t be a problem shipping to Florida! Explains the price.

    Like 4
    • Steve

      $1,700 includes shipping from Alaska to Florida?
      AHAHAHAHA!

  2. CCFisher

    The Blazer didn’t have a rear cab wall, so there was no cutting involved. The camper shell was bolted to the body in place of a normal Blazer’s fiberglass roof.

    Like 8
    • Russell C

      Correct, with additional bolts through the dinette frame down to the Blazer frame. At first I was thinking the line “cutting out the back of the original passenger cab” came out of the ad text for my former Chalet #1747 that I sold back in 2010 that’s being currently sold for the umpteenth time by the latest dealer/seller in Skokie Illinois. However, when that line is put between quote marks in a Google search, one of the results is from a Sept 2021 online SiloDrome article about Chalet #1221 — so, it was a leap of assumption by the SiloDrome article writer, which has been picked up and repeated several times afterward.

  3. Rw

    Correct CC basically a camper you could swap on to any Blazer.

    Like 2
  4. Claudio

    If it could be beamed up ala star trek it would be a great deal but since alaska is quite far , it doesn’t make any sense
    But there is a lot of money in parts here

  5. Big C

    This is one nasty looking hulk.

  6. chrlsful

    I must B w a y off as I thought the Chalet was a model that was permanent, unremovable and part of the rest of the truck. A slide in would be totally different. As such pretty rare – yet these come up all the time (chalet = limited production). I DID think there were ‘pop top’ (as here) and non. Serves me right for bein “a ford guy”.
    I’d lower a bit for even more remote excursions (already top heavy). There were at least 2 co.s that grafted 1 onto my 1st gen bronk. Diminutive is the descriptor.

    • Russell C

      Permanent, basically, since GM and Chinook did not design these to be easily removed and reinstalled. For one thing, the camper wiring harness was spliced straight into the truck’s wiring harness, no quick-disconnect. Second, the back bumper is out on a frame extension that is not easily moved inward, and third, the camper unit itself is not exactly self-supporting when taken off. The front cab-over section is held up by the Blazer roof, and the camper sides are held up by the truck’s bedsides. Take the unit (laboriously) off, set it on the ground, and over a span of several years the whole thing begins to cave in at the lower inner front areas. I’ve seen this countless times in orphaned camper units.

  7. James Walters

    I owned one of these it was an awesome vehicle now I couldn’t see a 250 lb person getting up in that top bunk part but the kids fit up there good and it was a lot of fun it would definitely get some traction I pulled many people out of the snow and mud with that extra weight mine had a 400 I got pretty good gas mileage too if I remember and roll out real nice but you catch a side wind and bow you’d notice that right now nice to see one again I miss that and it would get hot inside that if it’s set in the sun it definitely needed some type of ventilation more than it had

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