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Monday, September 11, 2017

Johnny Lightning 1969 Chevrolet K-5 Blazer

The frenzy for the Jeep that served in World War II to the masses was in full swing, and other automakers wanted to pitch in on the fun.  International created the Scout, Ford created the Bronco, while Chevrolet created the K-5 Blazer.  This classic truck still looks good today and also predated where the Bronco and Dodge Ramcharger would be like in the next two decades.  Here's an excellent example from Johnny Lightning.

Being late to the party General Motors wanted to capitalize on the success of the Jeep CJ line, so unlike Ford who decided to create a platform of their own for the Bronco, Chevrolet used the C-10 pickup as the basis for the K5 Blazer.  Unlike the pickup the Blazer has the bed and interior combined together with a removable roof top and a rear bench seat.  Other than that it looks pretty much the same as the C-10 pickups.  1969 models were offered only with part-time 4-wheel drive with front and rear live axles with leaf springs.  GMC also got their version called the Jimmy.  The engine is a 350 CID V8 that produces and estimated 250 horsepower through a 3-speed automatic transmission.  The success of the Chevrolet Blazer prompted Ford to switch to an F-series-based Bronco in 1976 and Dodge to introduce the D-series-based Ramcharger in 1977.

Johnny Lightning introduced this K5 blazer in 2005 and since then it's been a popular truck.  I was fortunate to get the early ones as now they fetch high dollars on the secondary market.  The first release was a Classic Gold in green with white top and white steel wheels; at the same time the Chevy Thunder version arrived in red with brown off-road wheels and tires that look great on this truck.  The white roof is removable and allows for open top models, as shown in the yellow Classic Gold version with rally wheels.  The front has nice details that include the round headlights, split bar with CHEVROLET letters, signal lights at the ends of the letters, and detailed bumpers with nifty plate slogans.  The hood has the correct contour with blue bowtie logo, 350 and K5 blazer badges on the front fenders, and lower trim with upper gas cap on the left side.  At the rear is a truck-like look with a tailgate that has the CHEVROLET letters stamped and tallights stacked to the sides.  The details are incredible and realistic, plus the smaller length makes this truck very manuverable.

The base underneath does not show much from the axles but does show off the drivetrain details in the middle.  The hood opens up to show the 350 V8 with orange block, silver air cleaner housing, and even the A/C, battery, brake booster, and hoses are detailed along the fenders.  The interior has seating for four, with the yellow open top version sporting gray seats on a black interior.  The door panels are nicely detailed and lead to a dashboard similar to the Chevy C-10 trucks.  Gauges are behind the two-spoke steering wheel, glove box in front of the front passenger, and radio and HVAC controls in the middle.  The shifter in the middle is for the transfer case, not the transmission (same as in the Bronco), so the transmission shifter is on the steering column.  There's even enough room behind the rear seats for cargo.  It's interesting to note the differences between variations based on CHEVROLET letter size, plate design, and even the tires: note the not often-seen Uniroyals on the yellow Blazer.

Recently the K5 Blazer's reappeared in the Gone Fishing series; I obtained these two blue and orange trucks separately from an online retailier.  The black and white versions are sold separately as part of MJ toys exclusive.  Unlike other Johnny Lightning castings getting an impressive overhaul of details recently these K5 Blazers were good from the start and today still look good.  Details are a bit crisper, the off-road wheels on the red K5 Blazer return as chrome ones on these two, and the light blue and orange ones sport the trailer hitch at the rear.  As an added bonus the light blue one comes with a color-matching blue interior.  Of course there's more variants out there to this Johnny Lightning K5 Blazer, but so far the ones I have here are as good as they get.

Update 1/2/2018:  Adding to the mix is the return of the droptop K-5 Blazer, now in a nice teal blue with lower silver, tan interior, and chroem hubcaps, while the orange one gets a custom look complete with blacked-out off-road wheels, black front grille and rear tailgate.

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