Back in the mid-1930s, if you said the word "expedition," or even "explorer," for that matter, the average person would think you were referring to an outdoorsman-type individual. Say "Suburban," on the other hand, and most ought to engage in conversation about Chevrolet's latest-a truck-based station wagon that was, and still is, also offered by GMC. While the name had negative connotations just a century prior, it now stands for a landmark vehicle that's still being produced to this day. Not too many automobile manufacturers can make that claim now, can they?
Through the early years of Suburban-or Carry-All-production, the line was manufactured with about the same attention to creature comforts as the rest of the utilitarian truck models ... in other words, very Spartan at best. While consumers were given the option of purchasing upgrades and accessories, those did little to add much, if any, touch of luxury. Unlike today, where one can purchase a brand-new Suburban fit for a king, owners back then weren't buying and/or driving the Subs as status symbols.
That was then, and obviously, this is now! These days, on top of having a fully loaded Suburban in your driveway, you can also have pretty much the same with an early one, too. Take, for instance, Kurt and Barbara Tape. Along with wanting a vintage hauler to drive and show, they also wanted something cool to use as a promotional vehicle for Hibiscus Coffee and Guest House, the bed and breakfast they own and run in Grayton Beach, Florida. And to bring their '59 Suburban up to modern standards, they enlisted John Pruitt of John's Rod Shop in Abbeville, South Carolina.
As you can see, the current state of the Chevy shares little resemblance with its original guise, which was the plan all along. From its Fatman Fabrications chassis to the LS1 drivetrain, the leather and suede-sculpted interior down to the two-tone metallic paint complemented by polished Billet Specialties wheels, if you were to roll down the street in this back in 1959, people would think you just landed from outer space! Even in today's world, the Suburban does garner more than its share of stares, and not just because of its top-notch "rodstoration"-these antiquities aren't quite as plentiful as they used to be 50 years ago.
Along with the expert attention given by John's Rod Shop, if it weren't for Richard Wright Body Shop (body and paint) and Hot Rod Interiors (upholstery), among others, we probably wouldn't be here talking about the Tape's "modern suburbanite" in the first place.