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The Chevrolet Suburban has been successfully satisfying the needs of those who live a hectic lifestyle for nearly nine decades, now in its 11th generation – making it the longest continuously-running model name in automotive history.

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Talk about “dual-purpose”, the Suburban could have been the one to coin the phrase. Debuting for the 1935 model year, the Suburban could do just about anything and do it well (except, perhaps, racing events – in particular the autocross). Families could load up a half-dozen or more kids and still have ample room in the cargo area for camping gear and whatever. Mom and dad could squeeze the whole Khoury League team inside and have a cooler or two in the rear storage area. Seating eight adults, four couples could spend a night on the town with just one designated driver. Dare I call the Suburban a SUV?

A member of the light truck family, the Suburban, was one of the first of its kind with an all steel body. Most vehicles of this type were station wagons or variations of same, having a body, aft of the firewall, made mostly of wood.

The first Suburban was powered by a 207 cubic-inch, Blue Flame Six which, fed by a single-barrel Carter carburetor, produced a whopping 80 horsepower! The Suburban was a heavy load, but the venerable Blue Flame Six was more than capable, well let’s just say “capable”, of moving the freight or family to wherever the destination.

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Early Suburbans were strictly front-engine, rear-drive platforms, however, four-wheel drive versions became available and showed up for the 1957 model year.

FIN MAN Factoid: GMC traces its history to the 1902 founding of the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company in Pontiac, Michigan. In 1909 William C. Durant gained control of Rapid Motor Vehicle Company and made it a subsidiary of his General Motors Company.

UPCOMING EVENTS: No specific date yet, but I will be having a Breakfast With The FIN MAN in the coming weeks. Details forthcoming but heads up, the day of the week will be changing to Saturday due to my current work schedule.

This content was produced by Brand Ave. Studios. The news and editorial departments of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had no role in its creation or display. For more information about Brand Ave. Studios, contact


Bruce Kunz is contributing automotive writer for Brand Ave. Studios

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