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1961 GMC Suburban

Owner: Clyde McKaba

Another rare truck for our Feature Truck of the Month series!! A 1961 GMC is unusual in any body style but this style is now almost non-existent. Imagine this; a 1961 GMC Suburban with factory 4×4! It has the original 305 V-6 engine with stand alone transfer case (not attached to the 4 speed transmission).

The owner is Clyde McKaba of Abbeville, South Carolina. His love for GMC’s began in the mid 1970’s while working six years for a dealership in his home state of Massachusetts.

Clyde found his 1961 Suburban about two years ago in Spokane, Washington and had it transported to South Carolina. He has papers on the Suburban’s history including the past three owners and most repairs. Very unusual for all prior owners to have kept all their records. It is said GMC sold about 200 Suburban’s with 4 wheel drive during the early 1960’s. Clyde’s is one of the only survivors due to hard use, abuse, accidents, and the results of rust from damp air in most states.

It was purchased new in Springfield, Missouri with a list price of $4,146.75. Almost a $1,000.00 above the base price of the Chevrolet Suburban. See attached window stickers and invoice. Records show it was then licensed in Colorado, a popular state for 4 wheel drive trucks. As Suburban’s are usually people haulers, this unit was probably used by a family as a driver. The lack of air conditioning was no problem in the high country of Colorado!

Original Invoice

Original Window Sticker

The next owner kept the Suburban in eastern high desert country near Spokane, Washington. Once again it was kept by the owner in dry climate all year.

Clyde says in 2009 it had its one repaint and was kept the factory color; Mediterranean Blue and White. The upholstery now has cloth material on the three original seats. All 4 rear quarter windows slide open. It is difficult to believe the mileage is only 115,000 (about 2,200 miles per year) and records show no major mechanical repairs. The Suburban gets 10 to 12 miles per gallon, which is about usual for these large V-6 engines. No rust so no replacement body panels have been used. Thanks to Clyde, it is being kept in excellent condition and remains a part of history. An excellent example of how they were in 1961.

Clyde McKaba is also a recent proud owner of a near perfect 1966 GMC ½ ton with 351 V-6 engine. This was our company’s first feature truck July 2000. Clyde can be contacted at: cmckaba@centurylink.net.


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