While Chris Markley’s friends were dreaming about building pickups and cars, Chris thought it would be a lot more fun to have his family involved. Then at least he could take his wife, Jayne, and his two little ones, Savanah and Jake, along for the ride. “We tried the truck thing but the family would just not fit,” Chris says. “With a Suburban the car seats fit, and there’s plenty of breathing room for all.”
One day while working on a job site in Bellflower, California, Chris spotted a really straight ’66 Chevy Suburban on a nearby lawn. He walked over to see what was up with it and noticed it was in OK condition. The owner was willing to sell it, and Chris could not refuse the price, so plans were made to pick it up later that day. Driving the Suburban home, the truck smoked like dragon’s breath because of the tired straight six had a blown head gasket.
The suspension needed to be set up next, and Chris said the first thing he did was check our magazine to figure out what vendors had parts available for the ’Burban. Chris called CPP to order 2-inch front drop spindles, a C-notch kit, and airbags for all four corners. He then set the frame and chassis on jackstands and removed the old, worn-out components. Charlie Davis, a good friend of Chris’, came over and led the way with installing the C-notch, airbags, and fabrication that needed to be done.
The ’Burban was rolling again. Chris wanted the interior to have a classic look like it just got off the showroom floor, but the stock interior was not taken care of. Over the years the rips and tears on all the seats had exposed the seat cushions in spots and the carpet looked like Swiss cheese. Chris removed all the seats and ripped up the carpet, finding pennies and nickels along the way. The seats were then taken to Ed’s Upholstery in Bellflower, where new seat covers were installed and plans for the headliner, carpet, and door panels were made.
Chris then called his friend Mike Sheppard who took a look at the body and right away removed the windows and trim. While the body was really straight for an older Suburban, Chris and Mike still had their work cut out for them as far as the body was concerned. Luckily, no major rust repair was needed and the final coat of primer was laid on the truck and prepped for paint. Mike also painted the truck with PPG gold/tan mix and the top was sprayed off-white.
After the paint dried the interior was installed, and Chris ordered a new set of Billet Specialties wheels along with a Budnik steering wheel. Chris’ neighbor and friend Gary Kinion helped make a custom steering column and fit it to the Suburban with ease. The last part of the build was getting a good motor and transmission to push the giant 22-inch wheels. Chris happened to get a Summit Racing catalog in the mail and saw an ad for a Chevy 350 and turbo 350 trans on sale. He purchased the new drivetrain and wasted no time with the installation.
The ’Burban was finally complete, and all Chris had to do was testdrive it before heading to the local car shows, so he headed to a local supermarket to pick up a few things. He was very careful to park far away from everyone else and toward the rear of the parking lot. Chris went inside the store and returned to the ’66 only to find a huge scratch on the driver’s door. Furious with his discovery, Chris parked it in his garage for about a year before getting it fixed. Lucky for us, he has since gotten over the ding and has been to several local car shows with his family, including the Brothers Trucks’ annual show where he got Best Interior in his class two years in a row. CT