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Suburban

The Death of the Panel Truck

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

After a life of hauling merchandise, those taken to salvage yards often found a final use. They set on the ground and stored the yard’s generators, starters, radios, heaters, and other unique items removed of vehicles going to the crusher. OR They might be left too close to a stream that floods in the spring. See Photo.

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Suburban Back Up Lights

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those on a quest for near unobtainable GM options, this one will provide years of searching. During the mid 1950’s, backup lights began to show growing popularity and were occasionally seen on pickup trucks near each rear fender.

The limited production 1955-56 Suburban was no exception but the location for its backup light was unusual. Their single center tailgate running light was given this attachment on its right side. The foot on this small backup light was curved to secure just right to the round tail light housing. The photo below shows this option as it was installed by GM.

Activating the light on a factory column shift three speed or Hydramatic was relatively easy. The switch attaches to the shift linkage levers on the steering column.

The 4-speed transmission backup light switch must be totally different as there is no external linkage. This photo is of this very unusual switch attached to the base of the floor shift lever.

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1965 Chevy Deluxe Suburban

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

During the mid 1960’s many Americans began to request deluxe features on trucks. More disposable income put extra items in reach for many households. GM recognized this area for more income and began adding more extra cost options.

The popular standard Suburban could be transformed into a more family vehicle by offering exterior trim and upgrading the interior. It would be even better for a family vehicle as well as pulling a boat or travel trailer. Highways were being improved and Americans wanted to see the country.

A more deluxe Suburban emerged in the 1960’s. To same GM costs, most components were simply from the top of the line Chevrolet pickup. Even the side trim was from the fleetside pickup. It only had length differences and the word “Custom” was engraved on each side.

Following are pictures of a rare 1965 deluxe Suburban. The outside is all original except for new paint. The interior had recently been changed so the attached photo is from an original salesman’s data book showing a deluxe pickup. The nicer appearing and more comfortable cushions also apply to the deluxe Suburban. Note the deluxe steering wheel (actually GM used this from a 1960 Impala), trim band on the glove box door, and the two tone color pattern on door panels.

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Chrome bumper and anodized grill (above)

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The rear appears to have no changes from the standard model other that the chrome bumper (above)

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The upper side anodized aluminum trim is the same as the deluxe pickup except for the length differences. Even the short from spear starting the trim strip is the same as the pick up (above)

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Note the word CUSTOM etched on the side trim (above)

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Suprising, the windshield rubber does not hold stainless trim (above)

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Custom comfort interior (above)

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Deluxe Steering Wheel (above)

1962 GMC Deluxe Suburban

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Suburbans ‘ people haulers on a 1/2 ton truck chassis. Not designed for truck freight, the successful Suburban was created to move people. They quickly gained popularity among the military, as crew haulers for companies, and for small rural school buses.

By the 1960’s, GM began to expand their Suburban market to attract families. To many this would be a great heavy-duty family car. A more deluxe Suburban model was introduced. The exterior trim and well appointed interior defiantly showed this model was not for commercial use.

These pictures of a 1962 top of the line GMC Suburban show the unique trim that was placed on this model. It is for GMC only ‘ not Chevrolet. Though Chevrolet shared the same body and some chassis parts; trim, interior, and colors were different so each brand could be individual.

Look closely and see how the GMC brand kept their cost of side trim to a minimum. Other than the curves around the front door windows, straight pieces of aluminum trim make up the package. The more obvious economy steps are on the rear quarter panel. Note vertical and horizontal trim strips simply butt together. They also act as paint divider strips for the two-tone paint combination of the GMC. The die cast chrome ‘custom’ emblem in the same as on the GMC pickup.

This is an excellent example of a very original GMC Suburban interior. The woven green seat material is as it was 40 years ago. The right jump seat swings up and forward to gain access to the rear. Note how the middle seat is shorter so that the passengers can walk to the rear.

Today, even finding a 1960-1966 GMC Suburban is rare but locating one with this deluxe custom package is almost impossible.

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1960-1966 GMC Deluxe Suburban Seats

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The seats on this 1962 GMC Suburban are pure factory original. Their shape is designed for only the Suburban body. They allow for access to the rear seat.

Horizontal white vinyl in the back rest is characteristic of many GM vehicles during this era. It was an extra touch that added a little extra flair to the deluxe models.

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