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Old 09-22-2016, 03:27 PM   #1
hewittca
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67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

I have been putting together a series of photo sets that I have obtained from the GM Heritage Center depicting the development of the 67-72 GM trucks. You may have seen the main thread covering the pickups here. I am just now getting to the Blazer development photos and wanted to share them here on the appropriate board. I have titled these Part 6 because I am indexing these pickup variant development photos and including them in a contents section on the main pickup thread. I hope everyone enjoys these!

Part 6, Blazers

The development of the 67-72 GM pickups reached the clay mockup stage by mid '63 lead by designer Harry Bentley Bradley. If you've looked through the pickup development thread, you already know all about this. Parallel to the development of the truck line, Bradley was also involved in designing a new vehicle called the Blazer and categorized as a "light utility truck". It was originally based on a completely separate and unique platform from the pickups and was set to compete with the Scout and CJ. Development really began to take off after the preproduction design for the C10 was finalized in late '64. By mid '65, the first Blazer clay model was ready which is were the photos begin.

-August 1965
The original Blazer design was on display on the patio. I will let these photos do the talking and set the basis for what the original Blazer was supposed to be. Note that this was to be released at a '67 model based on the license plate.










-September 1965
One month later, the model was back in the studio and the designers were experimenting with different grill proposal.



-November 1965
By the end of '65, they were finalizing the design for the Blazer, experimenting with a few more grill proposals, experimenting with top options, planning seating arrangements in the body bucks, illustrating removable body panel options, and laying out the dash configuration.











-December 1965
The last photo for the development of the original Blazer design illustrates another dash proposal.



At this point GM ceased development of the Blazer and this model never made it to production. Bradley mentions this in his interview and claims that the recent release of the Bronco prompted GM to hypothesize that the "light utility truck" market would now be overcrowded and continuing to introduce the Blazer would be a disaster. Therefore, this model was scrapped.

Much to GM's surprise, however, the public desire for utility vehicles began to grow drastically and the Bronco was a success. Of course, GM needed to get into this market now more than ever and began scrambling to revive the idea of introducing a Blazer to the market. With the original design scrapped and now outdated, GM decided to take the economical approach and modify the pickup platform to adapt it to a utility type vehicle. Development of the Blazer resumes in early '68 in preparation for a '69 model year release.

-April 1968
The new concept for a Blazer was to essentially shorten the pickup to a unibody type construction and add a top. Note that these original mockups used a '68 nose.







-May 1968
With the overall design and wheelbase set, the main focus was on top designs. This first top proposal was labeled as a "Trailmaster Convertible".






-July 1968
By this point the Blazer design was essentially finalized and GM was experimenting with striping options and another top design. Note that they have changed the nose to the '69 version here.




GM decided to scrap these striping options and top design, but overall the Blazer was ready for production. Development on the Blazer ends here because yearly updates were simply carried over from the pickups. In the Bradley interview, he talks about how upset he was that GM shelved his design and went with a modified pickup for the production Blazer. At the time, GM's decision was simply an economical decision based on the short time frame they wanted in getting the Blazer to production. In hindsight, however, it was a brilliant move. Ultimately, the Blazer was a huge success and led to all other competitors eventually succumbing to the fact that their light duty utility vehicle sales were dropping and they needed to also introduce a larger pickup based SUV.
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Last edited by hewittca; 09-22-2016 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:45 PM   #2
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

I see design features of the Trailblazer in that original design, namely the wheel opening shape.
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Old 09-22-2016, 04:55 PM   #3
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Sweet!

Great insight and photos, much appreciated
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Old 09-22-2016, 06:26 PM   #4
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Thanks so much for sharing this and the other thread on the trucks.

The early photos look a lot like the classic Jeep Commander to me.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

very neat stuff to see the progression.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:28 PM   #6
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

The original one had a little bit of a Jeepster look going.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:37 PM   #7
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Thanks for posting!
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:26 PM   #8
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Awesome info, thanks for the posting this thread.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:56 AM   #9
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Another awesome thread, thank you
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Old 09-23-2016, 02:15 PM   #10
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by CG View Post
The original one had a little bit of a Jeepster look going.
It definitely does! Especially after '72 when it dropped the trademark Jeep front end in favor of a more traditional front end. I think it would have been a cool little Chevy but it certainly would have died off with all the other small utility vehicles too, or at least morphed into the truck based Blazer that we did get.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:38 PM   #11
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Cool info. Started out as an ugly duckling and turned into a beautiful swan. Man those far out recreational drugs of the 60's just about ruined a classic.
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Old 09-24-2016, 03:42 PM   #12
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

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Old 09-25-2016, 07:30 AM   #13
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

I noticed the full frame doors on the first '68 with side markers, I like the chrome on the top and windows, they look bigger to. The next '68 had the doors crudely cut, no side markers.
The first 68 would of been nice if it went into production
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:57 PM   #14
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Very cool. Thanks for posting. I'm glad GM went with the fullsize 1/2 ton Blazer concept, and not the smaller 1/4 ton platform. I own both an early Bronco and Blazer, and chose the Blazer hands down for more towing capacity, more interior room, and overall ride quality and comfort. All the 1/4 ton SUVs of that era are pretty much like tin cans on wheels.
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Old 09-26-2016, 03:34 PM   #15
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

That is such awesome background info - thanks for sharing!!
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:53 AM   #16
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Very cool!
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Old 09-27-2016, 11:30 AM   #17
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Thanks for posting, love to read about the beginning of our trucks and blazers in the error they where created.....
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Old 09-28-2016, 08:37 PM   #18
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Awesome info.
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Old 10-16-2016, 12:46 AM   #19
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

these are beautiful pictures of the blazer,i'm a diehard first gen blazer guy and these are great!
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Old 01-03-2017, 01:38 PM   #20
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

You can see the influence of the IH Scout 80 in the first few iterations.
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Old 01-15-2018, 05:35 AM   #21
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

The Bradley design Blazer concept found its way to GM South Africa where it was badged as a Nomad and powered with the 4 cylinder used with the Chevy II Nova - it was slightly restyled and sized in shape (it pre-dated the S10 based utilities)
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:22 PM   #22
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Pic of said Nomad
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:55 PM   #23
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Good stuff
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Old 01-19-2018, 11:18 AM   #24
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Re: 67-72 Blazer Development/Concept Photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by montrosepatriot View Post
The Bradley design Blazer concept found its way to GM South Africa where it was badged as a Nomad and powered with the 4 cylinder used with the Chevy II Nova - it was slightly restyled and sized in shape (it pre-dated the S10 based utilities)
I didn't know that, thanks for adding that info! That's an interesting little SUV. I always found it fascinating that US auto manufacturers, even in their early days of exporting, saw the value in developing completely different vehicles and models for other markets.
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