My friend Jim found a low-mile original Suburban not terribly far from his Arizona residence. This was 25 years ago, or so. It was virtually rust-free and just the platform he needed to build a subtle hotrod.
It took him quite a few years to actually complete the project. Something like 18! Raising a family was his priority.
He wanted a family-friendly vehicle that had the reliability of a more modern vehicle. He was focused on keeping its appearance original where possible.
He liked the 1956 front appearance better, so he changed out the front clip. But not before installing a 1972 Camaro sub-frame, 1987 350 engine, TH400 automatic, power steering, dual master cylinder, and disc brakes. The engine is equipped with a Quadrajet, HEI and headers that feed 2.5 inch exhaust.
The rear axle is from a 78 Nova. It has 3.08 gears, affording decent economy and highway cruising. Jim found some nice polished aluminum slots and wrapped them with radial tires.
To improve comfort and safety, he installed seat belts, a vintage underdash A/C unit with a modern compressing system, an amplifier with speakers and a plug for your phone or ipod. He utilized the factory fuse panel, but installed all new wiring.
The body is very straight and not showing any signs of repair or filler. The color combination is perfect. There are imperfections from his use of the vehicle, but most have been touched up. All glass is good.
The interior is very correct. The seats have been carefully reupholstered. The headliner is original! The metal surfaces and steering wheel were refinished. It all looks as it should and is very, very appealing.
All lights, gauges and features work as they should. The key locks/unlocks the doors. There is no jack or spare
As a testament to the reliability and functionality of this vehicle, Jim DROVE it from Southern Arizona to me. Over 1800 miles. Not a lick of trouble. Just keep gas in the tank.
This is definitely a show-worthy vehicle. It is a great driver and certainly has many possibilities. It was built by a man with a great mind and great skills.