Why this reader's 1999 Chevrolet Blazer LT was so incredibly special

• The Blazer LT was an early SUV from Chevrolet

• It had a 4.3-litre V6 making 142kW and 339Nm

• Wheels24 reader Francois van Eeden reckons its the most comfortable vehicle he has ever owned

For the past few weeks, we've been focusing on older vehicles, especially SUVs and bakkies. Some have been long forgotten, and some of them never made it to local shores. Nonetheless, we love taking a trip down memory lane and visiting what these vehicles were about.

We've also had great little finds come through from Wheels24 readers, and this is one of them. Francois Van Eeden sent us some images of his Chevrolet Blazer LT and shared why this car was so unique. To think this vehicle once roamed the streets twenty years ago. If you do some online digging, you'll come across a handful of second-hand models of this vehicle available from R50 000 up to R170 000.

Chevrolet had some fantastic cars during its time here in SA, and they've been a front-runner when it came to American muscle cars, and pick-up trucks, and SUVs in the United States. But more relevant to us, they had little city cars, and people-movers as popular pickings such as the Chev Spark, and Aveo. There was also the Sonic and Cruze models which were just as favourable for many years.

1999 Chevrolet Blazer LT

Image: Francois van Eeden

The Sonic RS has a sentimental place in my heart, as it's the car my husband and I took our first road trip in and marks the weekend he proposed. My favourite vehicles of the brand though were the bigger, spacious ones perfect for large families, and road trips. These were some of the last models launched here in SA: the Orlando, Captiva, and the Trailblazer come to mind.

Then there were a few models we have even forgotten about. Before the Trailblazer, there was the Blazer, and Francois tells us about one he was fortunate to have owned almost two decades ago.

He says: "For a couple of years in the early-2000s, I've owned this interesting vehicle. Why was it interesting? You didn't see many of them on the road and not many right-hand-drive models with manual transmissions in particular.

"Underneath the bonnet of this SUV was the bulletproof Vortec 4.3-litre V6 engine, good for about 142kW at 4400rpm and 339Nm at 2800rpm. Not a lot given the size of displacement, but it was a very reliable unit during the time I owned it.

1999 Chevrolet Blazer LT
Image: Francois van Eeden

"This was by no means a nippy robot-to-robot sprinter (mainly due to the gearbox), but the torque at low revs was decent for off-road work. That said, I've owned the Toyota 3.4-litre V6 Prado 90 and the 4.0-litre V6 Prado 120 after this vehicle, so I have something to compare it with. Even the Prado 90 with the smaller V6 engine felt a lot nippier in traffic, but that was mainly due to the gearbox. I wasn't a fan of the manual transmission in this vehicle.

"It was a good-looking car, and very practical, very comfortable, kitted out with all the goodies from the era, and probably the most comfortable car I've owned in my life. 

1999 Chevrolet Blazer LT
Image: Francois van Eeden

"It was slightly lighter on fuel than the Prado 90 I owned afterwards and about the same as the Prado 120 at 6.0km/litre to 6.5km/litre on average. A real open-road cruiser. 

"The seats were big and plush, soft and comfy. Everything was electronic, even the 4x4 system. This proved to be a pain and the main reason for selling this vehicle in the end and opting for a Japanese brand. 

1999 Chevrolet Blazer LT
Image: Francois van Eeden


"The electronics were very temperamental, and maintenance (especially the brakes) on this vehicle was a nightmare; services and parts were expensive, and you needed proper diagnostics equipment to fault-find on this vehicle. 

"Eventually, I sorted out the electronics, and before I sold it, we took this vehicle on an amazing trip through the Southern Cape and Garden Route."  

chevrolet blazer
Image: Francois van Eeden

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