1985 Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban, Stuck

In mid-2005, we were living in Sacramento, California and had just started arranging to move to Montpelier, Indiana. We'd already arranged to do a one-way, long-term hire of the largest U-haul offered, but we needed a way to move people. After searching fuitlessly (and trying to buy a lovely 4x4 Ford Econoline from a company I worked for) for a van, I ended up posting a want ad on Craig's List. A few days later I got a response "what about a Suburban?"

What about one indeed? I actually hadn't thought of one, so we went to look at it. The previous owner's name escapes me, but he was a Marine reservist stationed on the Marine Reserves base at Elder Creek Rd, which was where the vehicle was garaged after an attempted theft a few weeks earlier.

After a test drive and some negotiations, where he knocked off a few hundred bucks to account for the fuel usage on our interstate journey, we came away with it. I seem to recall we spent $1300 on it, but I'm not certain on that. I gave it a quick service and narrowly missed a sweetheart deal on a set of Flowmaster exhausts for it. We piled several pets and a whole bunch of people into three rows of seats and made the ~2600mi journey to Indiana.

It served us rather well in Indiana, but the salted roads took their toll on a California truck, eventually ruining the exhaust system. Bouncing into the driveway in winter also took it's toll, eventually breaking ball joints which I replaced myself after failing to find a mechanic who would both take on the job, and do it at a rate which I could afford.

Somewhere in Indiana, I still have the original purchase slip from Chevrolet for it. Everything Chevy made for towing was on this vehicle: it came equipped with the 454ci 7.4L "big block" V8, the TH400 automatic transmission, and a 14-bolt full-floating rear axle with a detroit locker. Aftermarket parts included a massive hitch and trailer brake controller. I originally had plans to purchase a Dana front axle, crossmember, transfer case and driveshaft and convert it to 4WD but I always lacked the funds.

After purchasing the second Oldsmobile, the Suburban simply became too costly to run and eventually I ended up selling it to a guy from Ohio, who originally only wanted a 454 but after seeing the body couldn't pass up buying it. I believe I let it go for $800.