Jim’s Blog: Buy That Classic SUV Now

When trucks started a march up in value, so too did truck-based off-road rigs. Now, Blazers and Broncos have eclipsed trucks in terms of value, and I’m not just talking about the first-gen rigs, either.

I’ve been looking for a first-generation Blazer project for some time now, and with auction sale prices often well above $50k, most all of the project rigs have either been snapped up by builders or they’re priced similarly high — even rust-riddled beaters. 

That started me looking for an early second-gen instead — the 1973-75 rigs had a fully removable tops, which makes them pretty cool. However, when I wasn’t looking, the market caught on to them, too.

Solid early second-gen trucks are now hard to find for reasonable project money — or at least, what I used to think was reasonable project money. The margins are probably about the same now as they were before — but while we can all sit here and marvel at how much these trucks bring when restored, it’s a lot harder to accept values also climbing on basket-case examples. I don’t really want to spend $5k-$8k buying what I consider to be a $2k project truck, but I don’t think they’re going to get cheaper, either. They’re just going to get harder to find.

The same thing will most likely happen with later versions of the same rigs.

So, if you’re in the market for an older SUV to restore or just to drive — specifically a 1976-87 Blazer or any second-gen full-size Bronco — now’s the time to buy.


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    1. Depends on what you’re buying. There are declining sectors of the market at any given time, too — I wouldn’t suggest buying a driver-level Tri-Five Chevrolet right now, for example, because I think they’re going to get cheaper. I still want one — but I’m going to wait a bit to see them come down from the current market level.