• Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
  • Image Credit: GM
The Chevy Blazer is back. It's different than before, but given it's previously been a full-size truck-based two-door convertible SUV and a compact truck-based four-door fully roofed SUV, let's cool it on any complaints that it's become a crossover. Variety has always been in its blood (and that's not even mentioning the TrailBlazer, be it this one or this bigger one or this other one from yonder).

I, for one, however, am not pleased that the Blazer has returned. I never liked the Blazer, wasn't for me. Neither was its GMC Jimmy brother, for I always thought GMC James had a much better ring to it. Nope, it was all about the Oldsmobile Bravada.

Here is my extremely flimsy rationale for this: First, I thought the Bravada was the best-looking of the bunch. OK, sort of. That statement applies to its original boxy iteration (1991-1994) and especially its rounder second iteration (1996-1997), but definitely not the horrid third iteration (1998-2001) that attempted and failed to apply the Aurora-esque new Oldsmobile badge to a truck that just wasn't meant for it. I definitely don't mean this thing even though it was the only member of its original family to carry its name to the all-new GMT360 platform.

Second, the '96 and '97 came with a floor shifter. A floor shifter! The others wouldn't get those until later, so it was technologically more advanced.



Third, and more personally, the original Bravada was exotic forbidden American fruit for this Canadian lad, as combined "Chev-Olds" dealers in Ontario meant there was no need to produce multiple GMT330 SUVs to placate dealers. With every sighting of a road-tripping Michigander or New Yorker, I must've surely declared, "Oooooh, it's an Oldsmobile truck. Cool!" No James, it wasn't, but it did have something called "SmartTrack." I know that because it said so on the tailgate.

When I moved to Indianapolis in 1996, that rounder version was everywhere. It must've been a good way for a city-dwelling Hoosier to demonstrate his or her more refined taste compared to the Blazer- and Jimmy-driving rural masses. This could also be accomplished by the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and Orvis, as well as the Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer and the fancy-pants monochrome Explorer Limited (preferably in purple). If you got a Mercury Mountaineer, you were just a weirdo. I kind of dug that, too.

Fourth, Kenny Bania was a spokesman for it. (I guess because David Puddy and Mr. Peterman were busy hawking stuff elsewhere?)


Well, could be worse. The 1991 Bravada's spokesperson was Joan Hemingway, the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and the less-famous sister of Margeaux and Mariel. Damn Oldsmobile, you really pulled out the heavy hitters. It's a shock the brand was discontinued with such celebrity clout.


Perhaps it should've turned to rapper and lean back enthusiast Fat Joe who referenced the Bravada in his song "What's Luv" f/ Ashanti. I mean, he was probably saying something else, but it sure as hell sounds like he's saying "wet on the hood of your Bravada." The Chevy Blazer was never honored as such, so there.

Man, I've really fallen down a rabbit hole here. Probably best to quit now while I still have time to climb back out. So yeah, poor Bravada.

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