From $1,800 Penny Severe search to $350,000 for evaluation

In 1971, Los Angeles-based Bob Bianchi picked the PennySaver newspaper, which was an advertising mailing letter filled with classified ads. A photo of a green two-door SUV caught his eye, and the listing showed it to the first person to appear on Friday with $1,800 in hand. Bianchi was number one, taking home a 1970 Chevrolet Blazer K5 CST. Five decades later, the same Blazer is expected to sell for $350,000 or more through Mecum Auctions this week.

As it turned out, Bianchi did not buy an ordinary Blazer. Years later, he searched the original ownership papers and was surprised to discover that he had bought it by “King Cool” himself, Steve McQueen, on Christmas Eve 1969. It appears that McQueen purchased a Blazer K5 CST for his Baja racing team as a support vehicle. After the DNF, the actor pulled himself out of several cars, including this one.

By the time he realized he had a piece of Hollywood history on his hands, Bianchi had taken the Blazer on a 13,000-mile road trip and used it as a family car for several years. In 2001, the Bianchi family moved to Big Bear, California and have used it lightly ever since. Today, the odometer shows that the Blazer has clocked 81,236 miles in total.

Built in St. Louis, Missouri, the 4WD K5 CST is equipped with a 350 cubic inch (5.7 L) Chevy engine and a TH350 transmission. McQueen and his company Solar Productions installed a front differential and replaced the grille with a GMC version with four headlights instead of two. The Blazer was sprayed acid green on the outside, and copious amounts of green were sprayed throughout the interior: the seats, dash, steering wheel, steering column, console, and carpet.

The Blazer is off-road ready, including a roll bar, spare tire, floor shifter for the transfer case, and dirt-fit tires. If I had to guess, though, I would imagine a new buyer would turn it into a garage queen and it would stay on the grounds.

If you’d like to read the history of McQueen, which is great and might put the historical value of this car into perspective, check out the writing on the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame website. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, a 1970 Blazer K5 could have been sold for $3,051 off the show floor. Mecom Auctions expects to sell for 100 times that amount ($350,000-$375,000) on Saturday, May 21.

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