When one man bought his 1971 Chevy K5 Blazer back in 1971, he felt pretty good about his purchase. In those days, the K5 Blazer was an absolute beast of a ride, with all the beefy power of a pickup, with the towing and hauling power to match. However, what this man didn’t know back then was that this Blazer was something extra special.
You’ve heard these stories before. Someone buys something for cheap, only to find a hidden treasure in it later or discover its iconic past making it worth far more than the original purchase price. This man’s 1971 Chevy K5 Blazer proved to be such a gem. He bought it for $1,800, and now it’s valued at $350,000.
A look at the specs on a 1971 Chevy K5 Blazer
In the 1970s, International, Ford, and Jeep produced off-road capable and multi-purpose vehicles. However, as Hagerty explains, General Motors “super-sized” those off-road-meets-on-road rides to the half-ton pickup platforms. The Chevy K5 Blazer was the pioneer in the truck-based SUV space. The Blazer came with two doors, 4×4 capability, and the option to include a hard or soft vinyl top. All Blazers had their tailgate configurations in the rear. Additionally, they came equipped with half-ton pickup powertrains and horsepower. Hagerty says you can find a six-cylinder, 250-cid/145-hp engine model today in good condition for about $26,600. However, when Bob Bianchi bought his Chevy K5 Blazer in 1971, it only cost him $1,800.
Bob Bianchi’s incredible find and buy of a Blazer
Auto Evolution tells the story of Bob Bianchi, who, back in 1971, responded to an ad in the Penny Saver about a Chevy K5 Blazer for sale. He showed up, handed over $1,800, and drove off the hunter green, two-door Blazer. Bianchi kept that Blazer all these years, and it’s a good thing he did.
After conducting a little Blazer research, Bianchi determined that his model was originally owned by Hollywood legend and car enthusiast Steve McQueen. McQueen had purchased it in 1969, along with a few others, to be towing power for his Baja racing team. Bianchi’s Blazer had been modified slightly for its original job, including Positraction front and rear differentials. A four-headlight grille was also added for desert visibility, as was a roll bar. The rest of the Blazer is fairly stock and is powered by a 350-ci, 5.7-liter engine with the TH350 transmission.
This Chevy K5 Blazer was worth about $3,000 new, back in the 1970s. Yet now, considering its famous past and Hollywood ties, Bianchi’s betting he’ll more than quadruple his investment. The Blazer itself is valued at $350,000 and in the Mecum Indy auction lane for sale.
Steve McQueen is an automotive on-screen legend
Usually, auto enthusiasts associate Steve McQueen with the Ford Mustang and his iconic movie Bullitt which inspired a special edition Mustang by the same name. However, he was more than just a Mustang fan. McQueen was a huge on-screen sensation throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, with a slew of iconic roles to his credit. Check out his IMDb profile to see if you recognize some of his more popular titles, including The Magnificent Seven in 1960, The Great Escape in 1963, The Thomas Crown Affair in 1968, and Le Mans in 1971. Fans say he’s most notable for being a car enthusiast, a racing driver, and an actor behind the wheel of some of the biggest and most iconic car chase scenes in movie history.
How would you react if you were like Bob Bianchi and found out an old vehicle you bought for less than $2,000 turned out to be the former property of a Hollywood legend? For Bianchi, he’s rolling his 1971 Chevy K5 Blazer down the auction lane, hoping to score $350,000 for his original find.