Is This One Of The Most Awesome Barn Finds Ever?
The Suburban, in production for a staggering 78 years, holds the record as the industry’s longest-running model and the large GM SUV has stomped other would-be competitors who have came and went through the years. A fine example of a classic Suburban is this incredible ’72 GMC 2500 Super Custom model owned by Henrik Hairapetian, proprietor of GM Truck Center and World Famous 4x4 in Burbank, California.
Hairapetian had always wanted a ’72-or-older Suburban. As luck would have it, a forest ranger friend told him of an 87-year-old man who lives in the mountains above Los Angeles who had a “GMC 4x4 of some sort.” Hairapetian procured the man’s phone number and set up a visit. Hairapetian tells the story:
“After getting lost twice and almost going down the side of a cliff, I finally came to this small house, which was overshadowed with a huge shed/storage building. After a not-so-happy greeting from the old man he hesitantly let me back to the huge shed and opened the door. He fumbled around for a while in the dark until he found this massive cartoon-style lever which he had to grab with two hands to throw the lever up to turn the lights on. Once the lights came on I found myself standing in front of an all original ’72 GMC ¾-ton four-wheel drive with all original paint. It was exactly as I had dreamed it would be. I heard church-type music in the background and the thought of a bright glowing light behind the truck followed by white doves flying out of the back of it.
Immediately I knew there was no way I would ever paint this rig. It had the perfect patina,
“After promising the old guy that I wouldn’t cut it up and trash it, a basically no-negotiation deal was struck and the truck was mine. The next day a few crew members and I showed up with extraction gear and fresh fluids and a battery. Just as I had suspected, the old battleship started right up.”
With the Suburban back at his shop, Hairapetian made a decision. “Immediately I knew there was no way I would ever paint this rig. It had the perfect patina,” he says. A plan was put in motion that would keep the trucks body and interior as close to original as possible to keep his promise to the old guy. “To keep it realistic and something most people would relate to, we decided to stick with old school technology with a touch of modern parts,” he notes. And that’s how the awesome truck came to be what you see here.
What’s next for the Suburban? Hairapetian says that future plans include “hosing it off when it gets dusty.”
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At A Glance
Vehicle: ’72 GMC Suburban 2500 Super Custom
Owner: Henrik Hairapetian
Stomping grounds: Burbank, California
Build time: 6 months
Engine: 350ci Chevy V-8, Rochester Quadrajet carburetor
Transfer case(s): NP205
Low range ratio(s): 1.96:1
Crawl ratio(s): 50:1
Front axle/differential: Dana 60, Fab Fours diff cover /4.56 gears, modified Dana Power Lok
Rear axle/differential: GM 14-bolt, Fab Fours diff cover/4.56 gears, Detroit Locker
Front: Custom leaf springs, GM Truck Center hangers, Offroad Design greasable shackles, Skyjacker shocks
Rear: Custom 64-in leaf springs, Offroad Design shackle flip, Skyjacker shocks
Steering: Power, World Famous 4x4 high-steer
Tires: LT37x12.50R16 Interco Super Swamper SSR
Wheels: 16x7.5 stock steel
Armor: Custom front bumper, custom rear bumper
Cool stuff: Original paint, custom roof rack, Warn 9.5ti winch