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The Chevy Suburban is one of the longest-running nameplates in American vehicle history. The Suburban Carryall came onto the American automotive scene in 1935. The first iterations had a two-door steel body on a half-ton truck chassis and were eight-passenger vehicles with three rows of foldable or removable seating.
The second-generation Suburban arrived during World War II, and immediately gained notoriety as a capable military machine. In 1947, the third-generation was released after the war had ended. This version received a civilian makeover, adding Chevy’s Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission.
Four-wheel drive became an option in 1955. In 1965, air conditioning and heating for the third row were added, bringing a new era of comfort for all passengers.
It wasn’t until the sixth-generation––thirty years after its introduction––that the Suburban finally received a third door. The seventh-generation, starting in 1973, saw the addition of the fourth door, allowing passengers easy access to the rear seats and cargo area. Though the seventh-generation lasted until 1991, it was the SUV boom of the 1990s that catapulted the Suburban to fame. The eighth-generation engineers took advantage of this trend to provide a smoother, safer ride.
Since then, Chevy has taken great pains to make each generation an improvement upon the last. 2021 marks the start of the twelfth-generation of Suburban, making the name a national classic.
In the past 86 years, the Suburban has changed shape and size, but remains a best seller for those who need to “Carryall.”