Modern SUV trend started with 1935 Suburban

  • The Chevrolet Suburban has been continuously manufactured since 1935, making it the industry's longest- running nameplate. This truck-based SUV is a mainstay on suburban streets, and is also used by area police and fire departments.

    The Chevrolet Suburban has been continuously manufactured since 1935, making it the industry's longest- running nameplate. This truck-based SUV is a mainstay on suburban streets, and is also used by area police and fire departments. Photos Courtesy of Chevrolet

  • 1949 Chevy Suburban

    1949 Chevy Suburban

  • 1956 Chevy Suburban

    1956 Chevy Suburban

  • 1972 Chevy Suburban

    1972 Chevy Suburban

  • 1992 Chevy Suburban

    1992 Chevy Suburban

  • 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe, left, and Suburban , right.

    2020 Chevrolet Tahoe, left, and Suburban , right.

 
 
Posted11/25/2019 6:00 AM

When it comes to hauling, few rides have the heft, handiness or history of Chevy's legendary Suburban.

This rolling icon can move everything short of mountains, having room for more than its fair share of cargo, crew and comfort. The Suburban is a regular sight everywhere, pulling duty in the suburbs, cities, rural outposts and in the hands of our armed forces and first responders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

First launched in 1935, the Suburban helped get America rolling again after the Great Depression. This brute from the bow-tie brand, now entering the 2020 production year, continues to own the title of the industry's longest-running nameplate.

Technology sure has come a long way from that first iteration. Under its hood was a petite (by today's standards), 60-horsepower inline six-cylinder engine. Still, it could seat eight and allowed for a removable third row and fold down second row. By comparison, it was quite a radical departure from its contemporaries. Most of the other players in the payload space were using car-based wagons, made with wood sides and canvas tops. While robust, they couldn't stand the rigors of continuous commercial use.

1935 Chevy Suburban
1935 Chevy Suburban -

Chevy began testing all-steel wagon bodies mounted on a truck-based chassis, which simply did the trick. That research resulted in the Suburban, which was a hit with hardworking and military shoppers. As the years ensued, the truck became more and more mainstream, earning fond favor with families, leading to the pickup and SUV boom.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since the original, there have been 11 generations of the Suburban. After the first, which lasted from 1935 through 1940, the second and third gens (running from 1946 through 1955) got us through the World War II. The fourth generation featured a wraparound windshield and the elimination of running boards. Other big news was power. Chevy's first V-8, the iconic small block, was installed underhood. Another first was the inclusion of four-wheel drive.

1965 Chevy Suburban
1965 Chevy Suburban -

The 1960s and '70s saw Gen 5 and 6 come, marked by all-new styling and a ladder-type, channel-section frame. In 1965, air conditioning and a rear-area heater were offered for the first time. Big news also came with the addition of a third door on the passenger side, making for easier access to the cargo area.

The conventional four-door design came about in the seventh generation (1973-1991), which also saw a longer wheelbase and upgrades in the 1980s like electronically controlled fuel injection. The truck really took off in Gen 8 (1992-1999) with new, sleeker styling and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. OnStar and full-time AutoTrac all-wheel-drive shows up in 1999.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The 2000s saw the ninth generation, which lasted until 2006. Vortech 5.3-liter and 6.0-lite V-8 engines are now up front and a load-leveling suspension system is utilized, too. Gen 10 (2007-14) had even more modern tech, like the inclusion of side blind-spot alert and trailer sway control.

The latest, Generation 11, brings us up to modern day and it packs even more improvements and tech. For 2020, the Suburban can seat nine and has a 6.2-liter V-8 capable of 420 horsepower.

It's been a ride for the hauler with many miles and memories made along the way in its 8-decade journey. So here's to the Suburban, knowing full well that whatever road lies ahead, the American classic will be more than ready for the trip.

• Contact Matt Avery at auto@dailyherald.com.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.