Home » Imagining If Chevy Built A Tahoe-Based Sporty Open-Top SUV To Compete With The Jeep Wrangler And Ford Bronco

Imagining If Chevy Built A Tahoe-Based Sporty Open-Top SUV To Compete With The Jeep Wrangler And Ford Bronco

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What’s that noise? Who could be making that kind of racket this early on a Saturday morning? Why, it’s your neighbor removing the top, roof, and even doors from his newer Jeep Wrangler to take advantage of this gorgeous August day.

Jeep2
Stellantis

 

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The guy in the house down the street is likely performing the same tasks on his Bronco.

Bronco
Ford

 

You know who isn’t transforming their SUV into a summer fun mobile? Anybody in your ‘hood with a large GM truck.

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There’s something wrong with this picture. It isn’t like General Motors didn’t offer some exciting open-topped off-road machines in the past. NO, I don’t mean a teal Geo Tracker with purple and pink drop shadow stripes (but that’s amusing in its own right today). I’m talking about the old K5 Blazer, the C/K truck-based sport utility offered from 1969 to 1991 with a removable roof section.

Old Blazer
Bring A Trailer

Likely the most famous appearance of the K5 was in the iconic 1975 film Jaws, where Roy Scheider’s hero character patrolled the beach for sharks in an early second-generation Blazer with the fully-detachable roof (after 1975 only the section from the B pillar back was removeable).

Watchthepledge Primevideo Googlechrome2 3 20206 01 29pm
Internet Car Movie Database (Screenshot)

Here’s one of numerous replicas being made by fans with the correct graphics, chomped surfboards, and BEACH CLOSED signs:

Jaws
Barrett-Jackson (car for sale)

Is there anyone that recognizes how damn cool these things were? Well, someone thousands of miles away does. We’ve mentioned the company Mitsuoka many times before, the coachbuilder in Japan that makes little Nissans look like old Jaguars; they also have a model called the Buddy which takes a Toyota RAV4 and makes it appear to be a shrunken down eighties version of the K5 with the stacked rectangular headlamps. Like most Mitsuoka creations, you can’t help but laugh at it yet at the same time seem to want one badly.

Buddy 2
Mitsuoka and GM via Jason Torchinsky

With this kind of adulation, you figure GM would do some kind of tribute. You’d figure wrong. Chevrolet did release a new Blazer a little while back in 2019, but it wasn’t what many enthusiasts hoped it would be. Instead of a Jeep/new Bronco type of tribute to the old vehicle, the new Blazer is a crossover that slots between the Chevy Equinox and something else I don’t care enough to look up. I’m too bored by this thing to keep writing about it. Suffice it to say, while Mitsuoka is making Toyota RAV4s that look like Blazers, General Motors is making a “Blazer” that’s like a me-too RAV4. Nice work.

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Nu Blazer
General Motors

 

Oh, and Chevy went ahead and discontinued the Camaro for the second time while they were at it. Come on, GM! What’s wrong with you? No fun at all.

Screenshot (843)
General Motors

The full-sized Tahoe replaced the K5 Blazer in Chevy’s large truck lineup many years back; the ones I’ve rented recently have been excellent, luxurious big SUVs.

Tahoe
General Motors

Still, like the recent 200 series Land Cruisers with refrigerators in the console, these four-door-only Tahoe wagons are very much machines for Ferragamo purse mom driving the kids to lacrosse practice. They’re a far cry from their more elemental predecessors like the FJ40 and K5 that really helped coin the term “sport utility”. Time for GM to have some fun with something silly.

I’m not suggesting a K5 tribute like Mitsuoka has already done so well. A small, me-too Jeep Wrangler or new Bronco ripoff is not on my agenda either. I want to see a full-sized K5-style SUV that can open up to the sun at the touch of a button or voice command (“OPEN FRONT ROOF”). If the Tahoe took off its suit jacket and put on a lumberjack coat, what would that look like?

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Here is the Tahoe SS Rally Sport, a name that reflects the different nose we’ll place on this sporting two door variant of the big SUV.

Blazer New 2
Element Wheels

Yes, it’s a Camaro face, but NO we will NOT call it a “Camaro Cross” since I just couldn’t bear to see that use of the name. I simply wanted the well-know beak to have one last gasp on another last gasp internal combustion engined beast; the SUV has killed Chevrolet’s pony car again it might as wear this as a victory mask. Honestly, that front end never looked much like a ’69 Camaro to begin with, and the most recent Camaro nose seemed too big and bulky for a sports coupe. It looked like it belonged on a truck, so here we are.

Blazer New 1

Two doors are a must, and the Rally Sport features a pillarless structure with roll down rear quarter windows. Over the passenger compartment, a fabric roof electrically slides back to the fixed “targa” bar that loops over the middle of the body. Like a Renault 17, a rigid hardtop could be offered to snap over the fabric roof for winter months.

Here’s a side view that also shows the roof action and an optional graphics package and big stamped steelies to really help you get your groovy seventies vibe on.

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Screenshot (849) Copy
Yellow Bee Designs

In the rear, there’s a fold-down tailgate in back like on the old K5, complete with power roll down backlight. Lower the tailgate window and then you can “accordion” fold the top over the cargo area electrically forward into the “targa” bar for open air motoring. Note the simulated Camaro taillamps.

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What’s under the hood? You can decide, but assume that it will have eight cylinders, two exhaust pipes, an automatic transmission, and the need for an owner that isn’t afraid of stopping at gas stations. The current 6.2 liter, 420 horsepower lump would do the trick, but the supercharged 650 horsepower engine from the Camaro LT1 might be a nice choice if we’re going all-out. Honestly, if it became popular, I would want to see lower level models as well, maybe something more stripped down to be like Chief Brody’s mount in the movie with the Great White.

No, you can’t take off the doors, but this isn’t that kind of vehicle; it’s more of a ‘sumo’ class off road (or on-road) sports machine. Imagine if an old B-Body Impala SS (or Mercury Marauder) decided one day that it wanted to become an SUV; that’s what this is. Would the SS Rally Sport two door be jumping the shark (sorry), or is this bigger boat (sorry again) a legitimate machine for Chevy to be back in the fun game?

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Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines Corvette Sedan And Wagon In 1978 – The Autopian

The Mitsuoka Viewt Becomes A Strange Jaguar-ified Toyota Yaris After Being A Strange Jaguar-ified Nissan Micra For 30 Years – The Autopian

Our Daydreaming Designer Imagines If Japanese Wacky-Car Company Mitsuoka Made A Tribute To The Second Generation Camaro – The Autopian

Our Daydreaming Designer Takes The Chevy Corvair Into The Eighties But In Van And Pickup Truck Form – The Autopian

A Daydreaming Designer Imagines The Corvair Surviving Into Days Of Disco – The Autopian

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rctothefuture
rctothefuture
10 months ago

Want to know why this is a bad idea? Look up the Renegade and the Jeep Patriot with the folding and removable roofs.

Mike B
Mike B
10 months ago

I love the idea, but sorry, the execution is terrible. I think die hard K5 fans would hate this as much, if not more, than the current “Blazer”.

This needs to be based on a single cab shortbed pickup. There’s a company actually currently building these that way, and they look fan-fawking-tastic.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
10 months ago

Hey Bishop, love your work as always.

I like the way you added the fold-down roof like the Camero already has. I had one as a rental earlier this year and the roof stores away nicely.
That said, part of me wants a hardtop option that would be manually removed, more like the Jeep. I only bring this up because of my distrust of electrical systems in modern vehicles.

Church
Church
10 months ago

Wow. That is just ugly. I think the amount of uncovered area is just too small to work for me.

Unclesam
Unclesam
10 months ago

Wasn’t there a shitbox showdown a while back where someone had tried to do this with their escalade? Hated it then and, while I appreciate the thought exercise, hate it now.

I don’t like big sedans, much less big sedan-based convertibles, but I understand why the people who like then do. That but a massive truck makes no damn sense.

Ron Bitter
Ron Bitter
10 months ago

The Camaro front looks shockingly good on a Tahoe. I’d drive this in a second but 2 door SUVs seem to be a non starter these days.

Cerberus
Cerberus
10 months ago

Too big for me, but I like it. I liked the Bronco, too, until I realized what I wanted was at most 4/5 the size of what they’re building. I don’t like driving trucks, but I like removable hard roof panels, like the Bronco (or at least the idea of it as they’ve had trouble with them)—even though I don’t care for actual convertibles—and love pillarless hardtops. The Camaro front doesn’t even look half bad. They’d have to also offer it as a pillar 4-door, though, and that’s the one the drones would actually buy, like nobody buys 2-door Broncos. (OK, not literally nobody, but I must see 10 ugly ‘80s discount stretched limo looking 4-doors for every cool proportionate 2-door. Wrangler is about the same.)

J Wamsley
J Wamsley
10 months ago

I like it, but to challenge the wrangler and bronco, you need a fully removable top and doors. I’m on my fifth wrangler, and I’ll freely admit it’s a mediocre vehicle for everything except topless odorless beach running. Considered a bronco, but still 5k over sticker. My wife ordered a manual gladiator, and although it hit the dealer lot in March, the clusterblank over manual stop sale has prevented her from taking delivery.

I would be more inclined to buy the flat out autos blazer based on looks. They need to do a version that strips the roof over the front seat as well. I owned a 72 blazer with an aftermarket soft top, and it was my favorite vehicle of all time. Agree though that gm needs to step up. My brother’s 2021 blazer is the most generic excuse for a competent SUV available.

Waremon0
Waremon0
10 months ago

Did we already forget about the Jimmy based on a GMC Sierra 1500 from Flat Out Autos? h

ttps://www.autoblog.com/2022/10/18/2022-gmc-jimmy-custom-convertible-suv-flat-out-autos/

Absolutely stunning custom work.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
10 months ago
Reply to  Waremon0

That really highlights the high beltline of the new trucks in a really bad way.

Gearhead GK
Gearhead GK
10 months ago

I think the closest you could get it you had to have a GM product would be an Avalanche even though they stopped selling them years ago. Unfortunately that’s as close as you can get to a removeable top. Just roll all the windows down, open the sunroof, and remove the back glass.
Now I miss mine. That was a good truck, er SUV… mutant.

Last edited 10 months ago by Gearhead GK
Cyko9
Cyko9
10 months ago
Reply to  Gearhead GK

I forgot all about those. Always thought the rear seat conversion was a little awkward, but I never drove one. It had 4 doors, though; maybe it’s the right vehicle for now? Add a huge sunroof and it’s in the running for this exercise. As for the remixed Blazer, I’d like it to have more purpose to exist, but I don’t think GM cares. They’d rather just sell more Tahoes.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
10 months ago

Wow. Twilight Zone time here. I was literally thinking about this very thing over the weekend. Like the Camaro nose on it as well.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
10 months ago

So… I’m not sure if we have any ex-GM folks here to verify this, but I worked with two older ex-GM engineers and they mentioned that as part of the Hummer brand (pre-bankruptcy) there were advanced designs for a wrangler competitor from the Hummer brand.

The details are foggy but one super unique feature that I distinctly remember them sharing is that it was going to have a De dion rear suspension setup. I thought that was odd since H2/H3’s had solid axles but also kind of a unique solution where it would have some solid axle-esque benefits.

Clearly this dream died in 2009.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

LOL GM will never do that. They’re already too stupid to sell us the international Trailblazer (basically a Colorado wagon):

https://img-ik.cars.co.za/images/2017/2/Chev%20Trailblazer/tr:n-news_1200x/IMG_8951.JPG

Also, this is obligatory in any article about the K5:
https://cdn.motor1.com/images/mgl/Np4l9/s1/2021-kia-k5.jpg

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago

This is fantastic. The nay-sayers in these comments are simply wrong and should sit and stew in their wrongness.

Where do I send a deposit?

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
10 months ago

I appreciate the design rear of the pillar. Its got an Envoy XUV look to it, and that’s great for GM “heritage”

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
10 months ago

Buddy of mine had an Envoy XUV he used as a work truck and it literally fell apart on him. The roof stopped working, it had electrical gremlins, and the drivers’ side door card just fell off when he opened the door one day.

Anxious John
Anxious John
10 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

Yeah, it was pre-2008 GM where everything was built like pure trash. You can have issues with what they build today but they are light years ahead of where they were.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

Been saying this for many years.

The original K5 was one of the coolest vehicles GM ever put on the road. Bringing it back to capitalize on the off-road craze is a no-brainer. The fact it’s bigger than the Jeep and Ford competition and has better on-road manners is exactly the appeal it had in 1969 as well.

I’d buy one if it was done right.

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I have been getting the feeling the new 4Runner may look similar to this design, or something along the same path in order to differentiate it from the Land Cruiser. While not a Chevy K-5 you may a chance at something similar in 2026.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

I always like to see more options, but the selling points of the “K5” to me would be V8 power and plentiful space for 5. I appreciate Toyota as a company, but dislike the mandatory downsized/hybrid powertrains in their trucks.

Last edited 10 months ago by V10omous
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
10 months ago

Still better than turning the Camaro into an electric crossover

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago

Ugh. This a two eye gouge idea. So, of course, it’s exactly what GM would build. No, bad GM. No more government loans for you. And somebody take The Bishop’s crayons away until his meds kick in.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  The Bishop

You’re going to need a bigger pill. Or I am.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
10 months ago

that doesn’t look like a Kia 🙂

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
10 months ago

+1 came here for this

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

I am usually entertained and intrigued by the Bishop’s fever dreams. This one, though, is a tequila hangover.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I hate GM shit deeply. But I even like the last 2 drawings and prefer this over any overpriced weak knee’d shit from Jeep or Ford. Maybe build these and rebadge as a new Toyota?

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