Four Wheel Drive Barn Find: 1979 GMC Jimmy

When I first heard that the Chevrolet Blazer was being reintroduced, I had high hopes for some vestige or linkage to the past and I don’t mean to the GMT 360 TrailBlazer of the early 2000s. I was thinking of something more along the lines of the ’70s K5 Blazer or its GMC cousin, the “Jimmy”. Well, I’m used to being disappointed so why not reminisce about the past? So here we go, a nice find in a 1979 GMC Jimmy located in Olivehurst, California and available here on eBay for a current bid of $4,050, no reserve and eight bids tendered as of this writing.

The two-door K5 Blazer was introduced in 1969 and the Jimmy version followed in 1970 (I always thought the GMC Suburban of this era should have been named the “James” to differentiate it from the Chevrolet version; doubtful GMC would have seen the humor). Both vehicles were based on the short wheel-based pickup truck frames. The earliest versions had a completely removable roof but after 1975, both vehicles were constructed with a half cab so only the rear section of the roof could perform the disappearing act.

This example is a four-wheel-drive equipped model with  “High Sierra” trim which is mostly an upgraded interior carpet/fabric selection, color-keyed mats, map pockets and other finishing touches to the door cards, better body insulators, and additional exterior trim. While we are on the subject of interiors this one looks about how you would expect, it’s worn but not worn out. There are scuffs, scratches and dirt in all of the usual places along with a famously consistent GM quality cracked dash pad. The seat fabric appears to be in good nick, however. The seller states that the gauges and radio work but not the A/C.

Outside this truck shows some bumps and bruises, missing trim pieces, things like that. Its oh so 1979 “brown” finish has held up surprisingly well. There is some rust in the lower passenger-side fender but the rest of the exterior is not too bad. This Jimmy is typical of the era with its two-tone paint scheme, an acquired taste I guess. The grille has some issues and there are other things to nit-pick but nothing excessive or out of the ordinary. The underside has a lot of surface rust but nothing that looks like rot-through. Being a life-long California vehicle, I wouldn’t be overly concerned about body and frame integrity. The seller states that this GMC has been sitting since 1999 but doesn’t elaborate much beyond that.

Under the hood, what else but a tried and true Chevrolet 350 CI small-block V8 engine developing 160 net HP. The seller states that after adding some fuel and cranking the engine over it started right up from its long slumber. Typical 350 Chevy engine, after the big one happens, we’ll still have cockroaches, Keith Richards and running 350’s. Apparently it runs pretty well, doesn’t smoke (nasty habit) but could use a tune-up and a replacement power steering pump. Drivetrain-wise, this Jimmy has a three-speed automatic transmission connected to a transfer case for four-wheel drive operation.

The seller has documentation available so this is a pretty original vehicle. He states that he acquired it as a barn find so it would seem that he’s trying to flip it. The mileage is listed as 51K miles but he’s not claiming that as the true mileage, silent to that aspect actually, so the odometer may have been once around already. This vintage Blazer/Jimmy is popular and this one may be a good buy if the bidding stays reasonable. You go could enjoy this Jimmy as is or go for a full-on rock crawling off-roader. I have to admit it might be fun to remove the top and do a little easy-going off the trail wandering so I think I’d leave it as is, how about you?

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Comments

  1. local_sheriff

    Jim; the GMC Jimmy was introduced in 1970 already. It should also be noted that while K5s are indeed based on the fullsize trucks, they ride on their specific frame with an even shorter WB than the short bed trucks. They are much more than just a truck with a fiberglass-topped rear compartment

    3
    • Jim ODonnell Jim ODonnell Staff

      I got a bum steer on research that indicated 1973 for the Jimmy’s inauguration. Date fixed, Thx.

      1
  2. 1980flh1200

    Cockroaches Mopar slant 6 350s there. Are so many. Some will have to
    Survive and Keith Richards looks like he’s already dead..

    3
  3. CCFisher

    The new Blazer is one of the bigger automotive let-downs in years. Not only is it nothing like the original, it’s expensive. There were two on the floor at the auto show priced at over $51,000, enough to put you behind the wheel of something from a more “sophisticated” brand.

    If the spy photos are any indication, Ford is showing much more respect for the “Bronco” name than Chevrolet does for “Blazer.”

    5
  4. Del

    Nice Truck…..

    But its not a Ramcharger tuff truck

    3
  5. Howard A Member

    This another great find, they simply don’t exist north of I-70. If they do, they are relegated to the hunting cabin up north, with a plow, and no body, ready to go, just in case. There’s a reason there aren’t many left, for many, it was the perfect vehicle, especially with people moving to the suburbs. It got the family home, pretty much, no matter what. I had a full size Bronco for my family for just that reason. For once, I’m surprised at the price, especially from California. This hobby just doesn’t make a lick of sense to me these days. And sitting that long, I’d take advantage of Autozones “Preferred Customer” bonuses and free tool rental, you’ll need it, trust me.

    2
    • RH

      Howard A, you usually have some decent input and information, but not this time. There are a lot more of these than you are obviously aware of North of I-70. One more thing, not every one is equipped with a plow and no body. I live N of I-70 so just stating a fact.

      1
      • Howard A Member

        Don’t take the “I-70” so cut and dry. I should say, in the north half of the country, specifically, the upper midwest. Any place these ran in the salt bath, was the kiss of death. This would be considered a good one up there.
        https://www.flickr.com/photos/eyellgeteven/29691632601

    • Steve R

      Mid-70’s Blazers/Jimmy’s aren’t uncommon in Northern California. What’s holding back the price on this truck is it’s location, it’s in the middle of nowhere. If it were in the Bay Area or Los Angeles it would sell for significantly more than whatever it’s final sale price will be.

      Steve R

      • RTS

        Lived in the Bay Area for years, specifically SF, and I can tell you that nobody around there wants these. Even at that size it’s going to be difficult finding a parking spot big enough!

        1
      • Kevin

        Just an FYI; Were Not in the middle of “no-where” We’re located just above(50miles) Sacramento, CA.(which is the State Capital). If anyone is seriously interested in it, they can reach us @ (530)415-7301. We get Auto transport rigs up here ALL the time..

  6. Tom Parti

    Picked up my 79 K5 Blazer with manual trans 20 yrs ago from a 1 owner in CA. Been using it for towing the boat and thats about it. Only 80K miles. Have not been boating as much as I used to so definelty going to keep an eye on this one. Keep getting notes left on my windshield. It is still running strong and original all this time and only got rear ended once by the boat when a driver slammed into my boat and trailer. Boat was pushed off the trailer and hit the tailgate. That really messed up the Labor Day weekend. The truck was fine except the window would.not.go down and the boat was hauled off on a flatbed Got a tailgate with power window an upgrade from the original crank. Not original any.more?

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