“Tough Chevy trucks are taking charge”
1983 was the first year for Chevrolet’s S-10 Blazer SUV (along with its sister, the GMC S-15 Jimmy). Intended as a smaller complement to the full-sized K5 Blazer that had been in production since 1969, the S-10 Blazer found a ready market. Styling was good—derivative of the K5, but clean and appropriate for the size.
For 1983, the S-10 Blazer’s standard power was provided by the LQ2 83 bhp 2.0 liter/122 ci inline four with a two-barrel carburetor. Optional power was quite a step up: the $243 LR2 110 bhp 2.8 liter/173 ci V6 with two-barrel carburetor was available (and very popular) and required power steering (an additional $247). Mileage with the V6 and the four-speed automatic transmission was 17 city/23 highway by the standards of the day (15/22 by today’s standards). With a 20.1-gallon fuel tank, a Blazer owner could expect a range of between 335 and 360 miles with a 10% fuel reserve.
The S-10 Blazer buyer had a choice of two or four-wheel-drive, with four-wheel-drive costing an additional $1,194. The four-wheel-drive versions came with the all-new “Insta-Trac,” meaning the driver could shift into (or out of) four-wheel-drive High at any speed. Selecting four-wheel-drive Low (for very slippery, rough, or steep terrain) required stopping the Blazer.
Three trim levels were offered: base, Tahoe, and Sport. Standard equipment on base version ($9,423 with four-wheel-drive or approximately $22,400 in 2014 dollars) included P195/75R15 tires on 15-inch wheels, a heater, high back vinyl bucket seats, and color-keyed rubber floor mats. For $576, moving up to the Tahoe trim upgraded the truck with chrome trim, wheel trim rings, carpeting, and a gauge package.
At $944, the top-of-the-line Sport trim included features such as a wheel trim rings, two-tone paint, color-keyed bumpers, reclining seat backs, console, a sport steering wheel, a gauge package, and additional sound insulation.
Optional equipment included air conditioning ($690), cruise control ($185), a tilt steering wheel ($105), the Operating Convenience Package ($300 for power windows and power door locks), and an AM/FM stereo cassette ($555). Mechanically, you could get the Off-Road Package ($571 with the Tahoe or Sport trim), the Heavy-Duty Trailering Package ($193), and the Cold-Climate Package ($69 with the upper-level trims and air conditioning).
All of these options meant you could make an S-10 Blazer rather pricey—I fairly easily configured a four-wheel-drive Sport with the V6 and the four-speed automatic transmission to $15,039 or about $35,700 in today’s dollars.
First-year S-10 Blazer sales were quite strong, with over 106,000 sold of an all-new model that dropped over 1,500 pounds in curb weight compared to its big brother.