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January 1977: Scout Challenges Chevy Blazer - Trail's End

Posted in Features on December 13, 2013 Comment (0)
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January 1977: Scout Challenges Chevy Blazer - Trail's End
Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

Look out Chevy K5 Blazer, the International Scout II is coming for you.

Old truck and SUV advertising is fascinating, and while thumbing through the January 1977 issue of Four Wheeler we found this interesting ad for the ’77 International Scout II. The ad, which shows a Scout airborne on what appears to be a Colorado mountain trail, targets the ’77 K5 Blazer. The ad notes that the Scout had a tighter turning radius (“A mighty big difference on a dead end trail”), better approach angle (“You’re far less likely to dig in and hang up your front end”), narrower width (“Scout just maneuvers through those tight spots, while Blazer has to back up and go around”), and 35 percent more payload capacity than the Blazer (“That’s an extra 643 pounds worth of baggage, passengers and camping equipment”).

Rivalries are good for the 4x4 buyer.

As it turned out, the Scout would cease to be produced after 1980, killed by International. Meanwhile, the Blazer would go on to live a long and happy life through 1991, apparently doing multi-point turns at dead end trails, hanging up the front end, backing out of tight spots, and routinely having to leave 643 pounds of stuff at home.

After reading this old Scout ad, our mind began to wander (more than usual), and we thought about the Blazer/Scout rivalry. We imagine the ad fueled the fire of campfire arguments between owners of the two rigs. Brand loyalty was probably no different in 1977 as it is now in 2014.

We also thought about rivalries between auto manufacturers. One thing is clear in our minds: Rivalries are good for the 4x4 buyer. The diesel light-truck market is one example. It seems like every year at least one of the manufacturers bump up the horsepower and torque ratings of its diesel engine and the others are forced to match or beat those numbers. Max tow ratings for pickups are another example of an ongoing feud. And yet another example is the availability of manually-operated locking differentials in trucks and SUVs. Where they once were only seen in specialized rigs like the Wrangler Rubicon and Dodge/Ram Power Wagon, they’re now available in several models. Would this be the case if one manufacturer hadn’t made the decision to make them available, compelling the others to follow suit?

In the end, the 4x4 buyer is the winner in these rivalries. Trucks and SUVs get better each year, with incredible capability right off the showroom floor. With the rivalry between the manufacturers showing no sign of relenting, it looks as though things will continue this way for a long time to come. The Scout/Blazer rivalry was just a chapter in an ongoing story.

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