Sometimes a project starts with a set exterior color in mind, oftentimes written in stone; others sort of evolve into their final hue, whatever that may be. In this case, Felipe Calvillo of Downey, California, literally scraped his way to his '51 Chevy Suburban's blue finish. You see, during the body restoration process, he discovered the original factory blue paint, a color he hadn't seen in recent years on a Carryall like his. He took the part to a local paint supply store and not long after headed home, paint materials in hand. For some, coming to a final decision on color isn't always that easy.
Felipe's project began in 2001 when he acquired the then weary 'Burb from a friend. Though he handled the majority of the buildup himself (with the blessing of his wife and daughters, of course), he did enlist the help of fellow Old Memories club members P-Nut and Tony Lopez. As for parts, well, since it was pretty bare up until its acquisition, he had a long shopping list to fulfill. Fortunately, that thing you either love or hate-eBay-provided nearly everything he needed in the accessory department, deal or no deal.
The Carryall rides on its stock chassis, which Felipe "backdated" with '49 Chevy passenger car front suspension in order to utilize Firestone airbags. In the rear, he slipped in a '67 truck 10-bolt with lowered leaves and 'bags to boot. For the remainder of the driveline, he used the '67's three-speed manual trans mated to a later-model ('78) 250-cid six-cylinder. Mainly stock, the inliner sounds hopped up thanks to a split manifold with 1 1/2-inch straight pipes rapping spent gasses in a traditional tone each time Felipe rolls on or off the pedal.
Body-wise, a fellow named Moreno (Wilmington, California) applied the factory blue over his own meticulous bodywork. You may have noticed the skirts aren't quite like the ones you're accustomed to-that's because they're custom flush-fit pieces by David Arrellanos. Chrome and polish by Lynwood's Nickel Plating Company highly accent the medium/royal blue with everything from the rare three-post cattle guard to the even rarer DeLuxe Panel stainless trim. And whether layin' low or rollin' down the boulevard, the '51 always does it in style with 15-inch artilleries wrapped in Firestone 5.60-15 Champion bias-plies.
The project came to fruition with a cloth velour interior by California Upholstery in Bell Gardens. But first, Felipe had to complete the difficult task of locating all the seats and related hardware, and if you've ever dealt with Suburban parts, you know that's not easy to do. As with the exterior, he did up the interior with various hard-to-find goodies-a butterfly accessory wheel, factory-option radio, etc.
Fortunately for Felipe, his wife was in love with the Suburban, too. Unless you're single, you know that kind of support goes a long, long way-not only toward completing a project, but enjoying it to the fullest extent once it's finished.