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The first 75 years of the Chevrolet Suburban, America's first SUV

America's first SUV, the Chevrolet Suburban, has long been the vehicle of choice to schlep people, tow boats and explore the outdoors. Let's venture off-road into this vehicle's past. Larry Printz, Virginian-Pilot


Base price: $580

The 1935 Suburban Carryall was the first eight-passenger, steel-bodied station wagon and was sold with two, three or four doors. Power came from Chevrolet's six-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower. That jumped to 79 two years later, when the Suburban was restyled.


Base price: $1,474

For its first redesign in a decade, the Suburban's appearance was updated and Chevy's six-cylinder engine, nicknamed the "Stovebolt," received more muscle, generating 90 horsepower. For 1950, the option of a rear-lift gate or traditional barn doors was offered.


Base price: $2,150

Attractive new styling signaled that much had changed. Running boards were out, a wraparound windshield was in. Chevy's small-block V-8 and two-speed automatic transmission were new options. Two years later, four-wheel drive would be offered for the first time.


Base price: $3,560

A conventional four-door model was added for the first time when Chevy trucks were totally revised. A longer wheelbase and revised suspension improved the ride. A 454-cubic-inch V-8, rated at 240 horsepower, was standard; full-time four-wheel drive was a new option.


Base price: $8,771

With its updated design, more efforts were made to enhance the Suburban's appeal as a personal-use vehicle. New automatic locking front hubs meant 4x4 Suburbans could be shifted into four-wheel drive at speeds up to 20 mph. The 454 cubic-inch V-8 was optional.


Base price: $12,983

While the Suburban's strengths continued to find buyers, Chevrolet updated the drivetrain for greater efficiency, adding electronic fuel injection and a four-speed automatic transmission. A 5.0-liter, 5.7-liter, 7.4-liter gasoline V-8 and a 6.3-liter diesel V-8 were offered.


Base price: $18,155

A sleek redesign featuring flush side glass modernized the Suburban's appearance while new standard features, such as antilock brakes and shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, added a measure of safety. A 5.7-liter V-8 was standard, while the 7.4-liter V-8 was optional.


Base price: $27,421

With SUV sales booming, GM redesigned the Suburban for the new century. New features included automatic climate control, rear-seat audio jacks, programmable door locks and side-impact air bags and four-wheel disc brakes. Both gas and turbodiesel V-8 engines were offered.

The first 75 years of the Chevrolet Suburban, America's first SUV 03/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:38am]
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