The Ford Bronco is the hottest classic SUV out there. That’s still true, only now it has company as the first-generation K5 Chevrolet Blazer (and equivalent GMC Jimmy) start to catch up with its popularity. At Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Scottsdale auction, several breakout sales suggest the Blazer is–and forgive us this pun– blazing hot.
Of the eight 1969-72 Blazers and Jimmys sold, every single one went for over its appropriate Hagerty Price Guide rating for the condition. All were restored, and some had upgraded or modern running gear. This 1972 example with its original engine went for $72,600, 25 percent more than #1 condition (Concours) and almost double that of #2 condition (excellent) value. The lowest number at Barrett-Jackson was $44,000.
Perhaps the most shocking Blazer sale this week was this 1969 model that sold for a record $132,000. In addition to the stunning quality of the restoration, it came fitted with a modern LS3 small-block V-8 with a claimed 430 horsepower. This high price is also reflective of a boom in restomod values, which jumped 22 percent at the 2019 Arizona auctions compared to the run lists of 2018.
By comparison, the two GMC Jimmys sold by Barrett-Jackson were in line with the Blazer sales, offering slightly better quality for similar money. You might now consider this LS3-powered 1971 to be well bought at $77,000 compared to the record Chevy.
The Ford Bronco, meanwhile, continued its strong performance, capped by this Coyote-powered 1968 soft-top which sold for $144,100—the second-highest auction sale for the model. “Broncos have shown no signs of slowing down and well-done modifications are bringing more than stock examples,” says Hagerty valuation specialist Greg Ingold. All but two Broncos that Hagerty tracks for value sold for more than their expected value.
Sales of the second-generation 1973-1991 K10 Blazers were more affordable. A 1978 hard top with a supercharged big-block 427 went for $46,200, a 1987 model went for $28,600, and two other went for $19,800. All three under $30,000 were deemed in the range of #3 (Good) condition. If you still want a Blazer on a Honda Accord budget, these later models are the ones to get.
Both the Blazer and the Bronco models shot up in value over the last 10 years. The median #2-condition value for the Bronco has climbed 348 percent since 2009, while the Blazer went up 164 percent. But don’t expect the Blazer to usurp the Bronco as the current king of vintage SUVs.
“I don’t think that we’re going to see Blazers pass Broncos in value any time soon. I think the Bronco still has a certain appeal that the Blazer hasn’t garnered yet,” says Ingold. Blazer values are still more dependent on the specific look, and quality of any custom details such as lift kits, than the Bronco. But if these sales are any indication, if you want a first-generation Blazer for less than $50,000, you’d better start looking soon.