Owner: Roy Asbahr
One of Roy Asbahr’s most special and unique vehicles is a just completed 1949 Chevrolet Suburban. After a 1 1/2 year restoration, it looks showroom new. Roy is a perfectionist in vehicle restoration and this is one of his best yet! The body and paint work was performed by Larry Swiggart.
This Suburban brings special childhood memories to Roy as it is like the 1949 his father bought-same year, color and accessories. It was the family car for many years and was even driven a few times on fishing trips to Canada and the Yukon.
Roy watched for many years for a restorable Suburban that could be made like the original family vehicle. He discovered this Suburban several years ago in Sioux City, Iowa. The prior owner had reached the age of 92. Little had been changed from the factory except a bargain paint job years before. Amazingly it was rock solid, rust free, and only 55,000 original miles.
Nothing was spared in the body off restoration. The factory exterior colors for Chevrolet Suburban’s, 1947-1949 was Channel Green-lower body and Fathom Green- upper body. This is just the colors of Roy’s father’s Suburban when new in 1949.
The seat upholstery is the ‘real thing’. It was carefully removed from the cushions, dyed, given new padding, and then put back in its original place. The seats now look as though they are just out of the factory!
Lucky for Roy the windlace surrounding the two doors was in excellent condition. He very carefully removed it, dyed it the color of the back side (never exposed to daylight) and placed it in its correct position. It appears new and with the unique Suburban only color. No tears or cracks!
The five piece headliner was not torn but had sagged and faded. This too was removed, re-dyed, and contacted to a piece of formica on the back side for strength. All were put in place with a new appearance.
There is gloss black paint on the inner fenders and upper radiator sheet metal. The shine in this area is often debated during a complete restoration. Roy remembers cleaning his father’s new 1949 regularly and has no doubt that it was gloss black, not flat or semi-gloss. However, all other items painted black are semi-flat black.
A final decision was made to add two hidden changes during restoration. To increase the speed on modern highways, Roy replaced the 4.11 ratio ring and pinion with a 3.55 gear ratio. All outside appearance is unchanged, except radial tires.
To also give extra highway speed, Roy installed a 1958 Canadian Pontiac inline 261 six cylinder which has hydraulic lifters and the 848 higher compression head. It is an excellent fit and even uses the same motor mounts. The original 216 valve cover is added on top to give an authentic look and an adapter was used to enable an early style 1954 water pump to be installed. The engine is the correct grey color and even the spark plug wires have the unprotected metal ends.
Little was ignored in this ground up restoration. Dealer installed accessories include fresh air heater, grill guard, radio, and rear turn signals lights, running board step plates and a GM locking gas cap.
This Suburban is an excellent addition to Roy’s fine collection of restored vehicles.