Owner: John Hart – Albuquerque, NM
I bought the un-restored Suburban in 1996 from a Kansas source I found in Hemmings Motor News. It must have been home to a thousand mice for 20 years or more; most of the stuffing from the seats was above the headliner, in the glove box, in the doors, etc. Where the mice had nested, the nearby metal was badly rusted from long term contact with urine; the shell was beyond recovery. Fortunately, I was able to find a solid Southwestern parts truck only about 20 miles from home.
The parts truck is a panel; it is identical to the Suburban except for the rear windows and seats. In fact, I checked the production codes and both trucks rolled out of GM’s Kansas City plant only one month apart. I cut the rear window panels out of the original Suburban, did the same on the panel, and welded and bolted the window panels into the panel truck shell. I turned a panel truck into a Suburban. The seats, interior window frames, fittings, and the like from the original Suburban were for the most part in fine shape.
I rebuilt or replaced everything down to the steering balls and spring shackles. It took me over a year, but I found 16-inch artillery style wheels. The engine is a rebuilt 235 with Mallory dual-point distributor and high performance coil. I installed Patrick’s 3.55-to-1 ring and pinion gears in the rear end and a Saginaw 4-speed transmission using Patrick’s adapter kit. This allows the use of the original torque tube drive shaft by shortening the shaft 2 inches.
The color is GM original Hollywood Tan with cream wheels and waistband. Fenders and running boards are black.
Many of the parts were purchased from Jim Carter. I have had it on the road now for about two years and it is lots of fun to drive. One thing about a pickup, you can’t fit too many people. With the Suburban, you can take the whole neighborhood.