Chevrolet Suburban, at 85 years old, not ready to retire

At 85 years old, most of us will be well into retirement.

But not the Chevrolet Suburban.

“The world was a vastly changing place still reeling from the effects of the Great Depression,” said a press release from Chevrolet about the Suburban’s launch year of 1935.

“Amidst all this, Americans still found a way to reach new heights of innovation and achievement. Movies debuted in color, baseball home run records were shattered, and the last concrete was poured at Hoover Dam, the world’s largest at the time.”

1935 Chevrolet Suburban
Photo credit: Chevrolet via Newspress USA
This Suburban started 85 years of continuous production

It was into that world the Chevrolet Suburban was born.

Still in production after eight and a half decades, the Suburban “has earned the title of the industry’s longest-running nameplate … the first vehicle to reach 85 years of continuous production.”

Chevrolet sold more than a half-million Suburbans over the past 10 years, including 60,633 in 2018, according to information provided by the manufacturer to the GM Authority website. The 2020 version of the vehicle carries a manufacturer’s suggested retail price starting around $52,000, nearly 80 times more than the 1935 Suburban Carryall’s starting price of $675.

Photo credit: Chevrolet via Newspress USA
This 2019 Suburban carries on the model’s SUV tradition.

Obviously, though, Americans still have an appetite for the Chevrolet behemoth.

“While the world has changed significantly, the Suburban is just as relevant today as it was in 1935,” said Paul Edwards of Chevrolet. “Suburban created the sport utility vehicle … [and] has earned the trust of a wide range of people – from families to law enforcement, and even a starring role in pop culture.”

“The name Suburban is so widely recognized that at various times over history it was used by a few vehicle manufacturers,” said Leslie Kendall of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, CA. “But the Chevrolet Suburban – the forerunner of the modern SUV – has stood the test of time. From family road trips to dignitary protection, to TV and film and everywhere in between.”

“Over the last 85 years, the Suburban has become a fixture of Americana,” Kendall said.

Of course, the Suburban has changed over its 11 generations:

  • The original 1935 Suburban seated eight people, while removable third-row seats and fold-down second-row seats provided a 115.1 cubic foot cargo area. It was powered by an inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 60 horsepower, according to Chevrolet.
  • The 2020 Suburban seats up to nine people and offers up to 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space when second- and third-row seats are folded down. The 6.2-liter, V-8 engine produces 420 horsepower – seven times that of the 1935 model – and gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg highway.

“Over the years, the Suburban has cemented its place in the hearts of many,” said Chevrolet. “As a beloved part of the family, trusted bodyguard and member of the armed forces, first responder and even movie star, the original SUV has built a legacy worthy of a celebration.”

So it seems unlikely that the Suburban will be retiring any time soon.

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