By on June 27, 2018

GM churned out examples of the full-size, two-door Blazer well into the ‘90s, before relegating the nameplate to its littler brother. Traditionalists frothed at the time, just as we are now after viewing the 2019 Blazer. And the circle continues.

For ’94, Chevy offered the Blazer in a couple of different flavors. You know my pick, of course – base 5.7-liter V8 engine, 4WD, and a big ol’ baseball bat of a manual shifter sticking out of the floor.

Insofar as I can tell with the myriad of imperfect records I found (I’m pretty sure the images here are of ’92 or ’93 models; the ’94 grille was slightly more pronounced), the 1994 Blazer was offered in three styles: Base, Silverado, and a Sport model that added color-keyed trim and a very ‘90s red-outline bowtie. GROUND EFFECTS (remember them?) were often a dealer installed accessory around these parts.

Standard under the hood of all Blazers for 1994 was a 5.7L V8 with electronic fuel injection, back when EFI was still worth bragging about and advertised in billboard-sized letters on its tailgate. Total output was a whopping 200 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Consider for a minute that the Focus RS makes 350/350 out of just a 2.3L displacement. Yes, because turbocharger, but still.

A five-speed stick protruded through the Blazer’s floorboards and shifted with all the precision of closet door with one hinge. Magazines at the time said the 4,600 lb SUV could haul its way to 60 mph in about ten seconds. Fuel mileage? None to speak of.

Inside, the Blazer soldiered on with the C/K pickup’s interior. You’ll remember that as the one designed with a T-square, including a pod-style radio that put a knee squarely in the groin of aftermarket audio shops across the land. That is, until all hands figured out that a single-DIN head unit would fit very neatly into a storage slot located dead-centre of the plastic dashboard. GM itself would occasionally put a tape player and graphic equalizer in that same spot, but only rarely. I have seen two in my lifetime.

All-terrain rubber sized 225/75/16 might not sound like much today, but was plenty big twenty years ago. Anti-lock brakes were standard; it should be noted that, for years, the brake pedal of Chevy trucks had the words “Disc Brakes” molded into the rubber pad. The Blazer could tow 7,000 lbs.

Sure, the new Blazer is nothing like the old ones … and I would definitely be lying if I said my eye didn’t twitch when looking at its crossover styling cues, especially at the rear. However, like it or not, those are the machines that sell. GM is not in the business of losing money, or indeed catering to a small cadre of misty-eyed nostalgic gearheads who probably wouldn’t buy a new Blazer anyways (do the words “I’ll wait until they show up at auction!” sound familiar?)

But in 1994, Pulp Fiction was in theatres, R.E.M was on the radio asking Kenneth for the frequency, and the Blazer was a full-size SUV with a stickshift. Sounds pretty good to me.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.


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27 Comments on “Ace of Base: 1994 Chevrolet Blazer...”

  • avatar

    No tears here.
    New stripped Tahoe will be more car than this. Or a RAM with a cap.

  • avatar

    Was it ever possible to get the 96+ Vortec engine with a 5 speed? That would be the choice for me if it existed.

    • 0 avatar

      Guy I used to work with had a GMC like the top one (black paint, red accents IIRC) he bought new back then. He was always driving it hard, claiming it was like the ultimate AWD sports car, flooring it with 4WD selected on wet pavement. I just figured he had it because he was a freelance software contractor with a one hour commute; car and mileage can be deducted as a business expenses, but you had to show up (regardless of road conditions in the Chicago area) to get paid.
      Edmunds’ app shows the ’95 Yukon 2 door could be had with a 5 speed manual and a 200 hp V8, but the ’96 only had an automatic with a 250 hp V8. And they give it a trade-in value of $82.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        Yes, the 96-up “Vortec 5700” was automatic-only. You could get a 5-speed with the 305 V8 in C/K pickups but that engine wasn’t available in the Tahoe.

    • 0 avatar

      This combo is regularly swapped into the smaller S-10/S-10 Blazer these days.

      It’s a very simple and affordable conversion if a few criteria are met: you plan to turn the wrenches yourself, you’re comfortable with craigslist-ing the parts or have a well stocked self-serve wrecking yard nearby and you stay focused on how much you’re going to like the finished product.

      • 0 avatar

        Good luck finding an NV3500 at Pull-A-Part. Intact 4-bolt-main Vortecs are left laying on the ground, but a manual 5 speed transmission with a SBC bolt pattern gets nabbed viciously quick.

        • 0 avatar

          Good luck finding ANY NV3500 in a yard. My Ram 1500 5spd is the Dodge pattern NV3500. I’ve read they’re convertible between GM/Mopar but the input shaft is completely different and it’s a PITA.

          Those transmissions are *not* up to the rigors of V8 use. I’m on the 4th one in my Ram, and the first time I had a shop put a JY piece in he had to order two before he got one he considered usable.

          A sad irony considering I was adamant on the manual trans issue to avoid Chrysler’s automatic transmission plague.

  • avatar

    Handsome vehicle.

  • avatar

    I always liked these, but my favorite was the Yukon GT trim in that maroon color scheme that was similar to the 80’s Monte Carlo SS colors.

  • avatar

    The Blazer name on the “little brother” actually appeared in 1982 – the S-10 Blazer. A crap pile if there ever was one. My brother-in-law, a pulmonologist, bought an ’84 S-10 Blazer 4×4 as his first car after going into private practice, and it was nothing but headaches, especially the transmission.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have an irrational love of the full size Blazer/K5 and the GMC twin.

    These could also be purchased with the 6.5 turbo diesel as well, though not with MT.

  • avatar

    One of the best looking vehicles ever.

    • 0 avatar


      Anyway, I will just say, LOOK AT ALL THAT GLASS!!. My goodness they used to make cars with great outward visibility. Beltline on that would be a foot higher if designed today.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes seriously. Very clean lines. Beautifully proportioned. But then I love the looks of new Audis, which many consider boring.
        Wanted one of these real bad until I dove a used one.

      • 0 avatar

        A car that size and price with all that glass and no way to open a window in the back seat.

        A bad idea made worse.

  • avatar

    My boss had one of these. I drove it a few times and was shocked how cheaply built it was. The interior is still the cheapest I have ever seen in any production vehicle. It is amazing what GM got away with.

  • avatar

    Can’t look at these without hearing Bob Seger, Poet Laureate of the state of Michigan warbling: “LIKE A ROCK, OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH LIKE A ROCK!”

  • avatar

    On the stereo oddly most of the early GMT 400 trucks I have been in had the cassette deck. I know the silverado that GM donated to our school autoshop had the equalizer too. At an old job we had a 94 suburban as a shop truck and it had a CD player mounted in the cassette area factory. I can only find one picture online and it’s of one not installed.

  • avatar

    I think the 88-98 GM trucks were some of the cleanest designs ever in the pickup truck world. Very classy design that has aged well. The pre ’96 TBI versions, though, were pretty weak engine-wise, and the later Vortec equipped models from around ’96 and up were a lot better. I’m probably in the minority that prefer the early GMT400 dash, i.e. the one with the digital radio and climate control pod lower dash line, no passenger airbag, versus the later, “better” more conventional unit. My perfect GM truck of the era would be an early dash model, early quad small sealed beams (late 80’s I think), later Vortec engine.

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