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1961 GMC Suburban

Buying a GMC truck in 1961 with this many special options is quite unusual.
Now 58 years later this GMC is about one of a kind survivor.

            Think about this: A GMC with a 305 cubic inch V-6 engine, Suburban body, 4 wheel drive, and the higher 3.73 differential. What a combination!

The proud owner is Joe Disanti of Shurly, Long Island, New York. This has been a part of his family for about 40 years. He found it in a nearby neighborhood front yard with a for sale sign on the windshield. It was love at first sight (and still is.)

Joe and family live on Long Island about 10 minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. It soon became a perfect weekend camping vehicle with then two young children. So many warm weather weekends all would head for the beach for a few days of fun.

Of course, that always included drives along the Ocean shore besides water’s edge. Great family memories but not good for the Suburban. Salt water and mist in the air on the metal body took their toll!

 

Actually, the body rust had become so bad there was no repairing it however, Joe was not about totaling his Suburban. There was just too many great memories of the good times his family had with the “old Suburban” plus by that time Joe’s family had increased with two more children. He really wanted these younger children to also share the same weekend camping trips the first two had experienced.

So, a serious Suburban body hunt began. Among the many dead end rumors success came in 2002 when Joe found a Suburban body in Texas, a long way from Long Island, New York. It had limited rust and resembled his Suburban when he found it in the late 1960’s.

With some transportation help and willing shop to help make some of the change-overs this was now a nice Suburban replacement much like it was 40 years ago. The two younger children could now experience the weekend fun as the other two had done.

No surprise it became another total body loss with beach salt working on the recently installed Texas body that already had some damage rust developing.

LET’S DO IT AGAIN! Now when the children were mostly on their own, Joe decided it would be great to do another body replacement and now give it a major restoration. This time it would be kept away from the beach salt! The GMC would be a wonderful momentum of his years spend with his children as they grew up.

It was much more difficult to locate a viable 60’s Suburban body. Joe wanted it to be from an area that had no winter road salt. This would be a last restoration and he would always keep it for memories but now going in a different direction! Joe would get acquainted with local early car and truck clubs. Having a now almost extinct GMC was certainly an incentive to make it special.

The body hunt was quite a project but now time would not be an issue. He would look until he located a solid body that would stay that way. It did not have to be only 1961 but must be from the 1960-66 series.

After a few years regularly looking though car magazines and on Ebay he found the expectable body. The state was Arizona. (Even further from New York) It was rust free 1965 body and chrome grill. It fit into his major body restoration plans. Yes the Suburban would keep its original V-6 engine, 4 speed transmission, differential and GMC four wheel drive. It now drives just like the early year except Joe added 1971 disc brakes and master cylinder. It has its own 30’x40’ garage so it never see the big winter snows that used to affect the other bodies Suburban bodies.

WOW look at the attached photos and see what the Disanti family have now. There is nothing even close to this GMC at the New York shows where it is seen.

 

NOTE: The 305 and 351 cubic inch V-6 were the one and only offered in GMC smaller trucks from 1960 to about 1963 and then as an option though 1969. This quality built GMC only V-6 engine really gives so many years of service.

The 4 speed transmission on this Featured Truck is often referred to as a “bullet-proof.” Millions were used in ½ to 2-ton truck from 1948 thought the mid 1960’s. They rarely need repairs and so often go to the crusher in good condition when the trucks and its other mechanicals are no longer useable. The salvage yards can only afford to keep so many in their stock!

This transmission is much overbuilt when placed in a ½ ton such as Joes 1961 Suburban.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Joe Disanti email jcepaint2@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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