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1986 GMC Suburban - Super Sub

Posted in Features on June 1, 2002 Comment (0)
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Off-road enthusiasts may build their machines for any infinite number of reasons, such as trail blazing, rockcrawling, fully functional custom classics, and the list goes on. From just plain clean to all-out mean and ugly, these 4x4s share the highways and trails from corner to corner of this great country with all-out style and tenacity. For a long-time 4x4 enthusiast such as Tony Curtis of Lake City, Florida, there were no questions asked when this '86 GMC Suburban rolled across his path. He knew exactly what type of off-roader he wanted to build - flawless and functional. Tony has worked very hard at building the finer things in life, and the creation of this sano Suburban is no exception in his pursuit of excellence. Not only was this GM Sub built to satisfy his hunger for the sport, it was built for adventure and to become the family hauler.

The Boost
At a glance, the first thing you notice about this classic Suburban is the functional suspension. The high-performance suspension work and the intricate attention to detail certainly makes this Sub an off-road enthusiast's dream. Tony's first line of attack on the Sub was a boost in the height department. He installed a set of Superlift 12-inch lift leaf springs front and rear for optimum on- and off-road performance. The suspension components were stripped, ceramic-coated, and painted for durability and protection. Superlift 10-stage velocity-sensitive dampers were used on all four corners of the 4x4 for enhanced handling and control. With the adjustment in the height department, Tony was more than able to add big rubber under this monster's fenders. A set of 18/39.5-16.5LT TSL Super Swamper Boggers was mounted on 16-1/2-inch Weld wheels adding an ominous go-anywhere look.

The Push
The powerplant was left in its original state for reliability and performance. The '86 OE GM 6.2L diesel had an ample amount of power, and the 240 lb-ft of torque was more than enough to pull him in and out of any sticky situation. Power transfer to the wheels is made via the 4L60E tranny and the diff gearsets that were swapped out in favor of a limited-slip in the rear 14-bolt Corporate axle. Custom driveshafts were created and installed to account for the huge lift.

Better than New
Making an awesome statement is the quality work done in the restoration of this 4x4. This Sub was in good shape with a straight body before Tony took possession, making the bodywork a little less painful. The hard part was stripping, cleaning, and getting it ready for the paint shop. All emblems were shaved and filled, then the monster machine was shot with Laguna Green DuPont paint, and the bodywork and paint were completed by Jeff Raulerson of Sound Citation in Lake City, Florida. The Sub was completely gutted and dressed with an all-new interior including billet accessories. The interior was stitched by Jamie Tew from Jamie's Finishing Touch, also of Lake City. The topper for this 4x4 was the installation of a mind-thumping sound system, featuring some of the best sound components, such as Eclipse and MB Quart.

The End Result
Tony has put forth a great amount of time and effort on the buildup of this Suburban, something he couldn't have completed without the help of his family and the support of his wife Carolyn. This Sub is driven on a daily basis, hauling around family and friends, business supplies, and groceries. On weekends, the 4x4 transports the Curtis family on adventurous off-road excursions through the trails and swamps around his hometown. As Tony would say "purpose-built off-road machines are built not bought," and as evident from the way his super-clean Chevy Suburban was put together, it's no wonder 4x4s such as this keep the off-road enthusiast arena alive and well.

SPECIFICATIONS
Owner/hometown : Tony Curtis/Lake City, Florida
Make/model : '86/GMC Suburban
Engine : GM 6.2L V-8 diesel
Transmission : 4L60E automatic
Suspension : 12-inch Superlift front and rear leaf springs;
Superlift shocks and steering dampers
Wheels/tires : Weld 16-1/2-inch/TSL Super Swamper
Boggers 39.5x16.5R18
Additional features : {{{Phantom}}} grille; Grant steering wheel; Eclipse
and MB Quart sound system; custom paint
and interior; billet accessories

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