When I was a kid, my Dad drove an orange 1975 Chevy Blazer just like this one:
The first generation of full-size Chevy K5 Blazers (1969-1972) were introduced to compete with Jeeps, Scouts, and the (then new) Ford Bronco. In 1973 the K5′s body style was updated to what you see above, and up until 1976, the entire top (including the part over the cab) came off in one single piece, making the whole thing a convertible.
After 1975, only the rear part of the roof (think “camper shell”) was removable and the part over the cab no longer came off. That makes the 1973-75 K5 Blazers pretty unique. There are slight grill differences between the three years, but unless you know what you’re looking for they all look essentially identical.
Because of their heavy duty build and 4WD capabilities, these K5 Blazers were often converted into police and military-style trucks, both in real life and in the movies. Chief Brody (played by Roy Scheider) drove one in Jaws:
And, survivalist Burt Gummer (played by Michael Gross) drove a jacked-up K5 in Tremors:
Since the entire top came off of our Blazer, that made it the perfect vehicle for two things: drive-in movies, and watching fireworks. The rear of our Blazer had a bench seat that could be rearranged to face forward, sideways, or backwards. It could also be removed completely. I remember going to the drive-in movies many times and lying on the carpet in the back with a couple of pillows and a can of Shasta Dr. Diablo in hand, watching movies with my family.
And, like I said, every 4th of July my Mom and my sister and I and a few of our friends would pile into the back of the Blazer, drive down to the local Community Center, and watch the fireworks explode overhead from the comfort of our own vehicle.
Every year on the 4th of July I think about that car. I’ve thought about buying one myself, but they’re at that weird age (30 years) where the ones I can afford are falling apart, and the ones that have been restored are out of my price range.
Chevy cancelled the K5 Blazer line in 1995 and replaced it with the Tahoe. The Blazer’s GMC twin, the Jimmy, was replaced in 1992 by the Yukon. Neither model is available as a hard top convertible.
Happy 4th of July, K5 Blazer!