The popularity of the 1947-55 (Advance Design) Chevrolet/GMC Suburban continue to increase among truck enthusiasts. Their bodies will never be reproduced. What has survived is what we have!
Their capacity is eight adults in three rows of seats or the rear and middle row can be removed to haul merchandise. There has been little serious competition to challenge the Suburban’s superiority over the years.
The General Motors Suburban are one of the longest living vehicles in the world. Introduced in 1935 with the encouragement of the US Army to carry higher ranking officers in groups on large military bases. They have since been available from dealerships since that time 85 years ago.
With a GM pickup suspension and full steel frame, they have remained a favorite as comfortable transportation for groups up to eight. They can take a very hard hit from most of today’s cars and won’t reflect major damage to their occupants.
They were the choice of the Secret Service to transport recent US presidents (until recently) with their ability to carry heavy hidden bullet proof metal panels, thick glass and cover for all drivetrain components. Now the president’s limousine is surrounded by Suburban’s in a convoy.
Tim Plake of Kansas City, Kansas is the proud owner of this very attractive 1951 Chevy eight passenger Suburban. He receives credit of personally doing most all of the restoration from the ground up. This even includes the painting. Tim only stepped aside when it came to sewing the correct Spanish grain brown vinyl seat material into the finished cushions to look just like when it was new.
The following are Tim Plake’s description of the history and the numerous extras he did to make this Suburban a “stand-out” in any crowd.
”On September 6, 2008 at the all truck Nationals, in Riverside Missouri. I spotted something I’ve never seen before. On closer inspection, I discovered it was a 1952 Chevy Suburban. In my mind I knew I had to have one and the hunt started. A year later I finally found the one for me in Perryton, Texas, a 1951 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall, I borrowed a friend’s trailer and we went on a 448 mile journey to retrieve it. The original fuel tank was rotted out so the owner stuck a portable boat fuel tank in it. He hooked up some jumper cables to the 6v battery, and it fired right up, we were amazed.
Purred like a kitten and loaded it onto the trailer under its own power. I ended up removing the enclosed driveline and 4 speed granny transmission. I installed a 1956-1962 3:90 third member into my original rear-end housing coupled to a S10 T-5 overdrive transmission. I decided the 1956 235 passenger car engine would stay in it to power it. I drove it for a few years in its patina state before deciding to remove the body for a full blown revamp. I did all of the metal/body/paint work myself and it was a long journey. The paint is a base coat clear coat and I believe the roof was the hardest to paint of the whole project. My favorite hubcaps are the 1941-1946 Chevrolet style so that is why they are on my Suburban. I still need to install the headliner and rear side panels. I added a 2nd dome light near the barn doors for more illumination at night.
⦁ 1956 235 passenger car engine with water pump adapter plate installed for the earlier model 216 short pump.
⦁ 1983-1985 S10 T-5 overdrive transmission with mechanical speed odometer.
⦁ 1956-1962 Chevy ½ ton truck 3rd member 3:90 gear set. Installed in original rear-end housing for open driveline.
⦁ Duel reservoir master cylinder/power brake booster with Disc brake conversion on front axle.
⦁ Numerous new and nos parts bought for this project.
Suburban History: Tim states during the final years of this Suburban’s life it was actually used for hauling hay to livestock at a Texas farm. The owner could load many hay bales in the Suburban when two rows of seats were removed. No wonder the headliner is gone!