Most readers will understand the license plate on this '48 Chevy Suburban-turned- taxi. But for the younger readers, the term "hack" as used here does not refer to one who infiltrates computers, but rather to the slang term derived from early horse-drawn hackney carriages and their drivers in Paris and London. Hacks, or taxis, the more common term, were required to have an official medallion from the municipality where they operated and a meter that recorded the time and distance and translated that into a monetary fee for passengers. They were identified as on duty by the lighted taxi sign that generally named the taxi company's owner.
This hack owned by Theresa and Dick Feile can really haul passengers in style. It isn't often that you find a taxi with the amenities and details in this modified Suburban. The body is all steel. Richie Royer added the third door and boxed the frame. The cowl vents were welded closed, and the hood was bullnosed. Angelo Andaloro added the custom parking lights, '37 Ford taillights, and completed the bodywork and other modifications. Angelo shot the body in two-toned paint, with the lower body getting an '04 Dodge Viper Yellow, and the upper body receiving a complementary lighter yellow. Angelo also designed and applied the silver and charcoal custom-designed checkers that flow into flames, then return to a line of checkers down the hatch door. Angelo also designed the multileaf accents and green pinstriping.
The details continue throughout the leather seating areas and the velour-trimmed headliner and doors. Chuck Hanna did a magnificent job of fitting the '02 Trailblazer seats and creating a subtle flame pattern to complement the pinstriping on the exterior. The driver-side door holds an umbrella at the ready for VIP passengers in a handy lighted compartment. The tailgate and storage areas are also illuminated, and additional bulbs are installed under the running boards to light the ground for safe exits at night. Classic Instruments in a custom dash monitor the GM 383 engine, while the modern stereo and XM satellite radio make for all music or all talk while zipping around town in Vintage Air comfort.
Yes, it did say 81.5 net horsepower at 3,100 rpm for the old Iron Duke inline-six. Thanks to Michael Morris and modern technology, the much larger 383ci V-8 that now resides between the 'rails cranks out enough docile torque and horsepower through the Bruce Bastedo-modified 700-R4 to help this baby cruise on down the road or hit the hot spots around town in comfort and style.