Skip the auctions and third-party re-sellers and buy this Chalet on Craigslist, instead.
Browsing Craigslist for a set of unique wheels and I came across this 1976 Chevy Chalet 4X4 advertised for sale in San Diego for $57,345. A quick search revealed these unique off-road camper SUVs were only made for two years from 1976 to 1977, only 1,800 produced.
This Chalet is #251.
“Nothing gets more attention than this rig!,” the ad description proclaims.
“Everywhere I go, I get crazy attention, and I mean crazy.”
Well, obviously this owner is hamming it up for the ad but, in a sea of crossovers and SUVs that all look the same, the owner has a point.
Regular Chevrolet Blazers were pulled off the production line and sent to Chinkook Mobilodge in Washington, the same Chinook that also collaborated with Toyota to make their own Toyota Chinook RVs from their compact trucks.
“These rigs were designed by the GM factory, in its joint venture with Chinook Mobilodge, to be inseparable complete vehicles; a mini-motorhome, in other words,” says RusselC in a Bring A Trailer auction for a Chalet.
“Thus, GM never offered an accompanying standard Blazer cap. They are not “slide-in” campers at all, and the wiring harness to the camper unit is spliced into the truck’s wiring harness with no quick disconnect.”
All Chalets I’ve seen so far have that beige/brown two-tone paint job, and this one’s no different.
Under the hood of these Chevy Chalet’s is a 300 cubic inch Chevrolet small block, good for 165 HP and 255 lb-ft. Compared to the 140 HP engines in the Toyota, these Blazer engines provided all the grunt you’ll need lugging around an off-road SUV with a mini living space behind the front seats.
All Chalets came with room for four and sleeping accommodations for two. Inside, there’s a small dinette table, stainless steel sink with five gallon water tank, a two burner liquid propane stove, and an ice-box. There’s no bathroom.
The pop-up camper allows for up to six feet of headroom.
Options including a bigger 5000 BTU LPG heater, a proper refrigerator powered by a reserve battery or LPG, and an additional overhead bunk for two (in a squeeze, for can sleep inside.)
#251 looks to be in good condition and even comes with four brand-new tires.
Chalet’s have sold on Bring a Trailer for as much as $125,000 and for as little as $45,000. You can guess what BAT ad screenshot is included in this seller’s Craigslist ad.
Regardless of the “bargain” pricing, $57,000 is a heck of a lot of money to spend on a near 50-year-old SUV camper. If you’re into these retro campers, it’s a small price to pay.
If you’re an average adventurous Joe looking for your own mini-camper, your money is better “invested” elsewhere on something more modern and fuel efficient.