Whenever a person or thing reaches a major milestone, reflection is in order. So when I told my friend Dave that the Chevy Suburban was turning 75 this year, he cracked himself up recalling the blue Sub that traumatized him in high school-every time he made a left turn, the horn would start up and get stuck that way for blocks. Another friend reflected on numerous family camping trips, with all the siblings and gear piled into the SUV. It seems that nearly everyone has a memory starring the Suburban.
Its history began in the '30s, when there was serious demand for a truck-based wagon. While car-based wagons already existed, truck versions were mainly for professional use. So Chevy popped an all-steel wagon body onto a commercial chassis, and the Suburban Carryall was the go-to machine of 1935. What you'll find on the following pages is a taste of the Suburban's life story-and one with no end in sight (tough, new fuel-economy standards be damned).
The '35 Suburban Carryall.
America's Next Top Models: Names and Nomenclature
The "styling era," as GM called it, referred to the Streamline Era, which lasted until 1940, and the Art Deco Series from 1941 through half of 1947. From late 1947 to 1955 was the Advanced Design Series, and 1955 to 1959 reflected the Task Force. From 1992 until 1999, it was called the GMT400 platform, while '00 to '06 models were built on the GMT800 platform. And since 2007, it has been the GMT900 platform.
The '54 model.
Meanwhile, the model/series was ever changing-like annually, it seemed. The Sub debuted as Model EB, and then the following year it changed to FB, then during the next few years rolled through GC, HC, JC, and KC. For 1941, it was AK, followed by BK from 1942 through 1945. CK referred to the Interim Series in 1946, followed by the Late Series DP that same year and through the first part of 1947. In 1947, when the Second Series kicked in, it was EP, then FP, GP, HP, JP, and KP, which brings us to 1953, or H. Model D was the '54 Sub, and then 1955 it was Model H again. By 1956, it was simply the 3100 Series, lasting through 1959. Come 1960, it was the Apache 10, which lasted through 1961. The following year, and in 1966, it went by the moniker C/K-14. In 1967, when the 1/2-ton Sub was joined by a 3/4-ton model, things went to C/K-10 and C/K-20, which lasted until 1984, when it was referred to as C/K-1500 and C/K-2500 through 1986. (Throughout this production run, "C" denoted a two-wheel drive, while "K" stood for the 4x4 version.)Then things went awry again in 1987 when the C/K nomenclature was dumped for R/V; by 1992, all was right in the world again, returning to C/K through 1999. After that point, the C and K notations were removed, and the Sub became just the 1500 and 2500 Series.
The '60 Sub.
How's It Look? Body Stylings and Designs
Two doors marked the first year of the Suburban Carryall, a design that hung in there until 1967. All-new sheetmetal brought exterior upgrades in 1937, and the following year saw the introduction of optional twin rear doors much like the panel wagon's. The next year, the front end got a makeover; ditto in 1941. Another major redesign in 1947 was to the Advance Design series, including a five-bar horizontal grille and unisteel cab styling. By 1949, a chrome grille was standard for the Sub. In 1954, the front end was again rehabbed, and the next year brought the Task Force styling, including an egg-crate grille. Yup, there was another new grille in 1957, and a new front fascia the next year. This repeated in 1960 and 1961, respectively-and again in 1962.