Forgotten Lessons: Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 (1987)

Forgotten Lessons: Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 (1987)

Surname: Chevrolet Blazer XT-1

Premiere: 1987 Chicago Auto Show

Technical specifications: 4.3-liter V6, 202 hp, 339 Newton meters of torque, four-speed automatic, independent suspension, all-wheel drive, steering-by-wire system, four-wheel steering


The name “Blazer” has taken many forms since its inception in the late 1960s, but few remember this elusive and strangely shaped off-road concept.

Returning to business for the 2019 model year as a stylish SUV with Camaro looks, the Blazer began its career back in 1969 as the original K5 model before moving on to a second generation in 1973. For the 1983 model year, the S compact car The -10 Blazer was launched for those who didn’t need all the space that the K5 offered. A few years later, Chevy tried something different by writing the name “Blazer” on what basically looked like a van.

Thus the XT-1 was born, a concept based on graphics with great off-road capabilities and a lot of clever engineering. It offered more ground clearance and generous suspension travel of up to 25.4 centimeters and a turning circle of just 4.26 meters thanks to four-wheel steering.

Bespoke 225/65 HR17 Goodyear tires had to be developed specifically for the Blazer to support the drive-by-wire system, which does not require a direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the actual drive wheels.

An automatically controlled transmission provided power to the 4.3-liter aluminum Vortec V6 engine found in the aforementioned S-10. The transfer case was also electronically controlled and had a self-sensing module that automatically engaged the Blazer’s four-wheel drive upon detecting wheel slip. The concept’s intelligent engineering was also able to transfer torque to the front and rear axles as needed to reduce wheel slip.

Chevrolet Blazer XT-1 Concept (1987)

The interior was unusual, although we are talking about the 1980s when many concept cars crashed on it. A digital instrument cluster, which is increasingly popular in the modern automotive industry, was installed in the Blazer XT-1, but it is clearly in the form of a CRT instead of the more advanced LCD. At the time, Chevy called it “Futurevision” and described it as a “three-dimensional display of driver information and services.”

Then there was the rudder, though “wheel” doesn’t exactly describe its shape, more reminiscent of an airplane’s control stick. Most of the centrally placed buttons stayed in place during operation, and this fixed module was connected to two groups of additional controls. The center console also housed a plethora of buttons that provided quick access to many of the concept’s features.

Chevrolet opted for small seats with great lateral support that don’t look bad even after more than three decades. The Blazer XT-1 was more than just a show, as the four-seater concept was fully operational with a production-ready design, complete with a large greenhouse and glass roof.

The Chevy Blazer XT-1 was developed by GM Truck & Bus Group’s Advanced Vehicle Engineering team as a research vehicle and was not intended to enter production as it was developed as a technology demonstration.