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1972 Chevrolet Highlander Blazer 4X4

Monday, August 3rd, 2020

It is July 2020, and we were attending the annual South East Trucking Nationals in Lebanon, Tennessee. Over 1,000 trucks were on display at the Wilson County Fair Grounds, and so, so many people came just to walk through the many rows of special trucks. Even parts venders lined some aisles!

Of the very few 1969-72 Chevrolet Blazers at the show, one really caught our attention.

It was owned by Steve McDonald of Arab, Alabama. He always stayed nearby to be available for the many questions people asked. We certainly enjoyed hearing the numerous details of such an exceptional 1972 Chevrolet Highlander Blazer.

Steve is a wealth of information on 1955-72 Chevrolet trucks. There were few questions he was not able to answer on these early vehicles. His only hobby is these GM trucks. Most of all, he enjoys the search and collecting rare factory options and dealer installed GM truck accessories.

Over the years Steve has obtained almost forgotten GM truck items such as an under-dash CB radio and a truck 8 track stereo player; all pure factory extras with the GM logo on their front.

The Scottish Plaid is a Real Eye-catcher

He has eleven special Chevrolet trucks, of which three are his regular drivers. These are 1959 deluxe short bed ½ ton, 1966 deluxe ½ ton Fleetside with a rare yellow factory color, and this 1972 Blazer (Actually, the Blazer is his Sunday driver only, unless he drives it 250 miles one-way to this large Tennessee truck show). The interior and exterior are beautiful examples of how they were when new.

Carpeting Over Wheel Well

These special options came from the factory on Steve’s Blazer. The attached inside glove box sheets (in excellent condition) shows what came extra when this Blazer was new.

For details on his Highlander package, see beyond options list:
350 Cubic Inch V-8 With 4 Barrel Carburetor
350 Turbo Hydromatic Transmission
3.73 Geared Differential
Power Steering and Power Disc Front Breaks
Tilt Steering Column
Factory Air-Conditioning
Over Flow Radiator Tank
Hawaiian Blue paint
Yes, GM Offered a CB Radio for Under the Dash. So Rare! A Pure GM Eight Track Stereo!

The 1972 Highlander Option

A different twist! There was a new option in mid-1972 that few people know about, or were even aware of almost 50 years ago. When you see Steve’s Blazer, you know something is very different than normal. Steve’s Blazer came from the factory (last half of 1972) as a pure Highlander.

The focal point of this short lived Highlander is the attractive Scottish plaid nylon cloth seat inserts. Four plaid inserts were available depending on the exterior color.

GM used the 1972 Cheyenne Super seat but instead of Houndstooth inserts, they substituted this unique plaid material. The vinyl seat edging were off-white parchment with all four placed colors.

Actually, the more advertised feature of the Highlander was three pre-installed option packages. Chevrolet put together several popular factory options in the base package in the pickup and reduced the total regular price as much as $260.00. Original equipment option (standard on the Highlander package A) was chrome front bumper, upper body moldings, door edge guards, and Below-Eye-Line door mounted mirrors.

Package B included the above items plus Turbo Hydromatic transmission, power steering and tilt steering column. Package C added the above plus air-conditioning and Soft-Ray tinted windows.

In today’s world, Highlanders has been mostly forgotten. Unless you bought one new or located an original piece of sales literature, it is likely that even GM truck lovers were not aware they existed.

Blazer Trivia

It is said what encouraged General Motors to introduce the Blazer was the U.S. Post Service needs for local mail delivery.

The major car and truck U.S. producers were given the specifications on what was needed. This would be a very large contract for the winner! General Motors was already in the “driver’s seat” to win. The frame length on their short bed ½ ton wheelbase would be shortened from 115” to 104”. Modifying short Fleet sides saved so much in design and tooling. GM was already using the drive train, front sheet metal, seats, window glass, tailgate, dash instruments, and much of the bed sides in their pickups. The other US manufacturers did not have a chance! These Post Office Blazers were sold before production began. What a deal for General Motors!

The Postal Service required the wheel base to be reduced from the 115” on GM’s current short bed ½ ton to 104”. This would allow the Blazer better turning ability to maneuver tight corners on narrow streets in older neighborhoods. They could also back up more successfully in tight places.

Because of using US government tax money, the new Blazers were required to be what we call “Bare Bones”. The engine would be GM’s bullet proof proven 250 six cylinder, no back seat or passenger front seat and no power options. Most were ordered as 2 wheel drive and one color. Even their all stainless steel one piece full wheel covers were used a few years before 1970 on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.

Blazer Spare Tire Mount

A rarely seen view of the Blazer spare tire mount. When you preferred to keep you spare inside for security or just to lower the cost over an outside swing bracket, GM provided this special two foot mount behind the rear seat. It is secured by fasteners to the metal Blazer floor.

The old saying “Follow the Money” applies with the creation of the Blazer. General Motors saw great potential in this new postal vehicle. With many more options already on their pickup, it just might become a good seller.

The two wheel drive and the six cylinder engine would be standard equipment at no extra cost. GM sold about 10% of these as the base price engines but 90% of the 350 V-8 engines by the Chevy dealers.

GMC Does it Too

GMC also offered this body style so their dealers could be competitive. They are referred to as “GMC JIMMY”. Their name plate will attach to the same fender holes as the Blazer.

So the GMC Jimmy could be different from the Blazer’s Scottish plaid seats, GM turned the material 90 degrees to the side; thus, a slightly different look.

In summary, the Blazer has been one of the success stories in GM history. Today, a nice well-kept Blazer of the early years far surpasses their value of 50 years ago! Thank you, US Postal Service!

Oops! Let’s not forget the special Blazer made fiberglass top.

Blazer Top Facts

At a recent truck show a 1972 GM Blazer was so original that several special points should be shown on the vehicle’s unaltered fiberglass top.

Two dome lights are on the left interior side. This allows light for passengers on the front and rear seat. These lights are the same as in the pickup and Big trucks above their rear window.

As this fiberglass top is made to be removed, GM installed an electric plug warning plate. This was to remind the owner that when removing the top you must remove the electric plug from the top. This connected the main wiring harness to the wires in the top that lead to the two dome lights. As the top is fiberglass, there must be a ground wire in the harness to allow for current flow to the body.

A clothes hanger hook is behind the front dome light.

Another touch that added to the Blazer’s popularity was the removable fiberglass top. Two people could remove it, and you then had an open vehicle for nice days! Of course, if you were away from home base and a rain storm developed, you immediately looked for an overpass, parked in a coin-operated car wash, or maybe got under a tree!

Front Dome Lights Rear Dome Lights
Both Dome Lights Clothes Hanger behind Front Door
“Warning Plate” to Remind Owner To Pull Plug When Removing Top

The photos above are from “our” 1967-72 tech articles under Features. http://oldchevytrucks.com/blog/index.php/2014/09/blazer-top-facts/
You can contact Steve McDonald at: oldtrucks@charter.net

1940 Chevrolet Wiring Diagram

Sunday, July 12th, 2020
1940 Chevy Wiring Diagram

1954 Chevrolet ½ Ton Pickup

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

The owner of this month’s Featured Truck is Calvin Weaver of Churchville, Maryland. This 1954 has been in his family almost 60 years! Calvin’s father purchased it in the early 1960’s from a local farmer because he needed a pickup in his masonry business.

As his father used it every day carrying masonry products, he began to really like this little ½ ton. So dependable, easy to make repairs, and carried just the correct amount of supplies for a day’s work! Then he began to notice something happening. After over 20 year old work truck it was beginning to show it’s age. He hoped to have it after retirement so something had to be done to save it. He felt there was only one choice and still be able to use it. He parked it in his home garage at night and during the winter months. The family sedan now sat outside in all weather!

Fast forward to the mid 1980’s and Calvin inherits this pickup from his father. Maybe for sentimental reasons and remembering his father using and growing attached to this pickup, Calvin decided to do a major restoration on it. He was not experienced in this type of project but Calvin was determined to do it as a remembrance to his father.

The more he thought about doing this, the more he got excited. He talked to other vehicle restorers, read articles and ordered catalogs. He even attended some major annual swap meets such as in Carlisle, PA to add to his knowledge. Calvin by this time was in his late 50’s with so much enthusiasm. This “big project” in his life was completed about 1988.

Since that time more pure 1954 accessories were found and added gradually. Calvin now knew what to look for in 1954 options. His hunt was often successful so this challenging hobby continued over the years. Calvin is now 89 years old, he takes in local shows were he often receives trophies. This time in life he mostly enjoys local drives and keeping it clean and waxed. Every time he gets gasoline someone comes out with a camera and questions. His father would really be proud!

More on the Restoration:

It was certainly a learning experience! In his travels he learned the options that were available in 1954. Many his father did not have on the truck after all, the pickup was for work! Some items Calvin added were: a fresh air heater, radio, the dash mounted clock, turn signals, wheel rings, hood bird, the windshield and side window stainless trim, bumper guards, front splash apron mounted fog lights, chrome grill, wood bedside racks with a third stop light. He even added some non-GM backup lights.

Paint Trivia:

To paint the pickup just like Chevrolet did originally, Calvin used the correct Juniper Green. He used “single stage” enamel as they did on the assembly line. (The surface was never meant to be so slick a fly could not land on it.)

Yes, the finish looked just right and not like most two stage surfaces as today! Unfortunately, Calvin did not realize that spayed enamel should be applied in a paint booth, not in a home garage. The overspray covered almost everything in the garage while it was still wet!

Calvin did this painting personally. Very, very nice for a beginner. Few of today’s body shops will paint single stage enamel. Most cannot easily correct paint runs, dusty areas and drips until the mistakes have dried over many hours. Then sanding for a repaint in that area must begin!

1947-55 Chevy/GMC Park Brake Floor Cover

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Just in case, you have an interest in the Advance Design original brake system, this might catch your attention.

For ½ and ¾ tons, in the left corner of the cab floor, is the foot operated park brake. Here, the lever extends vertically up through the floor so the driver’s foot can lock the rear brakes when keeping the truck in a stopped position.

To prevent outside air from entering the cab GM used a rectangle boot cover preventing any leaks. To secure the boot, a metal plate with a long center slot attaches to the floor. The attached photo shows this as GM installed it.

A different metal plate is required when there is no foot brake. On 1 through 2 ton trucks the total hole is covered with the same plate but no center hole. Interesting! It actually then becomes a just blank-out plate to cover the now unused hole.

 

 

1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Friday, February 2nd, 2018
1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Owner: Bill Sanders

If you like the 70 year old body designs with the “creature comforts” of a modern vehicle, our feature truck this month might really catch you attention. It may appear very old but on a freeway it can reach a speed far above the legal limits!

This eye catching stand out in a crowd 1942 Chevy pickup is owned by Bill Sanders of Crossville, Tennessee. What a creation!  After 2 ½ years of building it has just been on the road only a month to check for little problems that need corrections.  So far, nothing has shown up that cannot be easily repaired.

Bill has been involved in other vehicle restorations but this is the first time using a late model drive train. His brother had stored this cab, bed, and front sheet metal for many years with no steps taken to restore it.  So, one day, Bill got the opportunity to buy it.  It was soon brought to his home but in pieces.  No frame or related suspension, motor, transmission or differential.  So what now?  Either gather original parts and create a “frame off” original or do what he has sometimes seen at local car shows.

A VINTAGE LOOK WITH LATE MODEL MECHANICALS

After much research and talking to others. Bill’s discovered a US Company that manufactures conversion kits designed to attach a 1939-46 Chevrolet ½ ton body to a Chevy S-10 pickup chassis. Why an S-10?

They are almost the correct wheel base as Bills 1942 and have a full frame to secure the older sheet metal and extra weight that may be hauled. S-10’s have repair parts readily available and they come from the factory with options like automatic transmission, independent front suspension, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning.

The company “Code 504” will even get involved to help you adapt your S-10 Chassis to hold a late model Chevrolet V-8 or most any tech question during the installation.

Bill was hooked! This is what he wanted.  A good friend with experience in this type work was retired but decided being off work was not for him.   Bill found him at just the right time.  Thus, John Leech, also of Crossville, Tennessee and Bill Sanders became partners.

Together Bill and John with 2 ½ years created the finished product. John did the chassis rebuilding on a 1979 S-10, adding the “Code 504” kit, and restored much of the 1942 body.  Bill says he became John’s assistant.  John’s so many years in mechanical repair business made him a natural on what needed to be done.

The easy part was replacing the worn out ½ ton bed. Fortunately, all bed parts are available and they fit and took just like the originals.  No repair panels required.  Mostly a light sanding, paint and the detailed assembly was needed.

The 1942 sheet metal was another story. It had been so abused over the many years!  Few, items are being reproduced and it became a hunt to locate better used replacement parts.  Thank goodness for John Leech!

The updated modern mechanicals from the radiator to the differential were not difficult to obtain. You just need some deep money pockets to take position and then get them to all line up together.

A few of the major items were a 350 Chevy V-8, 400 turbo transmission, (both from a 1975 Corvette) GM power steering and brakes, air conditioning, plus tilt steering column. Of course, the extra chrome and polished aluminum made the engine compartment a real standout.

Owners of special interest older vehicles are never completely done. Bill has some ideas that may take place in the future.

For sure, he plans on this to be a tribute to US Army Special Forces that include:

Delta Force * Green Berets * Army Rangers
(Bill’s son-in-law is a Green Beret and this had made a deep impression on his feelings for our US military).

He might even install an exact copy of a 50 caliber machine gun and mount it in the bed for local parades. What a parade eye catcher!  A non-military vehicle with a large machine gun!

Bill is even thinking of calling it his Hillbilly Humvee.

Special bed side boards will announce this fact during parades!

You can contact Bill at wildbillsanders@comcast.net.

1942 Chevrolet ½ Ton

Coming down the road

Side View

Nice Bed – Small Tubs Required

Satin Sheen in Red

View from a step ladder

Centerline 5 bolt wheels

Extra Bright work is just right

The kit installed on a restored chassis ”before the body”.

The Proud Owner, Bill Sanders

Early 1947 Chevy 1/2 Ton

Saturday, July 30th, 2016
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What a one of a kind early 1947 Chevy ½ ton! Joe Haney of Independence, Missouri decided to use his skills to create an older Chevy pickup that would be nothing like anyone had ever seen. At the same time he would keep the project to a level that would be within his budget. Fortunately, Joe’s mechanical talents and love of older vehicles allowed him to do so much of his own work over several years. Attending many local car shows gave him numerous ideas to pick from while making plans for his creation.

Joe purchased this little ½ ton in 1993 and then kept it in his large home garage 12 years until the time was right during his retirement. To make it so unique over other modified 1941-1946 pickups, Joe bought a 1985 Chevy S-10 just to get the frame. The only S-10 parts he used from the pickup were the frame, gas tank, master cylinder, tilt steering column, and disc brakes.

Some of the other items used from other sources were a 1991 Chevy 350 V-8, a 1979 350 hydro-matic transmission, and a rear differential assembly from a 1980 Chevelle.

The bed is home built except for the front bed panel and tailgate. At first adding a 1947 bed to an S-10 frame seemed next to impossible but Joe never gives up. Here the old saying applies “If you have lemons, make lemonade”.

The problem with the S-10 frame is the side rail rear hump over the rear axle. They and the shock towers raised the bed too high. Thus, using this S-10 frame raised the bed too high. The appearance made the truck look totally out of proportion. Joe made corrections that gave a great custom appearance. It makes this 1947 an eye catcher at all the local shows. He raised the bed floor almost 40% higher than original to be above these stock towers. The following photos show what makes it so unique.

When the full height tail gate is opened, a horizontal oak plank fills the created opening on the end. Nice touch!

The interior is a money saving creation that looks so good! Joe spent time in local auto salvage yards to find just the right seat cushion that fits correctly in the cab’s small area. He found the answer in the third seat in a 1990 Ford mini-van. It’s amazing how well it connects to the seat riser and is slightly away from the doors. He then found one from Ford’s top of the line mini-van which has a leather pleated seat. All the interior was then coordinated with the color of this seat.

Look at the texture coating on the two-tone door panels. What an excellent idea! Trucks had painted metal interior door panels but not this nice!

The oak bed planks are also a Joe project! And oak overhead and floor custom console he made greatly adds to the interior appearance.

Look at the very dark wood that secures the gauges. Yes, Joe cut and drilled it to just the right size. These later gauges look just like they belong there!

COMPLETE AND READY FOR SHOWS

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Complete plus the shop where it happened

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All fits just right!

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Headlight close-up

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These Alloy wheels certainly add to the appearance

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View from the back

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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Cab complete

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Nice firewall with no extra holes

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Fitting the new grill between the fenders

INTERIOR

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Leather seats do not have to be expensive!

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Lower oak console

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Upper oak console

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Joe’s special made gauge

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Insulating the doors

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Speckle Paint

BED CHANGES

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Raised bed floor. Its hauling days are over!

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The 1947 bed floor was raised because of the S-10 high hump frame

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Joe made his own bedsides

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Gas add location to S-10 tank

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Oak horizontal plank fills the gap

REAR FENDER REPAIRS

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Patching required if you want real metal fenders

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More patching. Joe did it all

JUST THE WAY JOE FOUND IT

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The end

Chevy & GMC Work Trucks

Thursday, June 1st, 2000

This section of our website gives honor to those Chevrolet and GMC trucks which earn their place by performing various duties. It is not limited only to larger trucks. Both large and small trucks, through the years, have provided continued service for their owners. They have towed, hauled, advertised, delivered, used as the family car, and even been a home away from home.

We would like to feature your restored Chevrolet or GMC working truck on this page. If you have used parts, acquired from Jim Carter Antique Truck Parts, to restore your working truck and would like to share your experience with other Chevrolet or GMC truck owners, we can do it here.

All we need is a few paragraphs about your experience, along with color photos of your truck. Try to keep it at 500 words or less. We can check spelling and grammar. The information may be sent by regular mail or you can use e-mail. If you wish to have your photo returned, please include a postage paid, self-addressed envelope. If we are to receive your photo by e-mail, send it as a jpeg (.jpg) file.

Please send your photo and information to our web master:

Steve Cox
5501 Cheshire Dr. #101
Ft. Myers, FL 33919

e-mail:
webmaster@oldchevytrucks.com