A winning formula
I once read an article which postulated that the modern bicycle is not significantly different in design from the first “safety bicycles” of the early 20th century. The premise was that when a design is perfect, there’s nothing to be done to make it “more perfect”.
Thus with this Suburban. Other than the addition of 2 more passenger doors, the design of the ’35 Suburban isn’t significantly different from a 2022 Suburban.
Maybe it’s in other material, but it’s odd that the 1935 Suburban’s real claim to fame over other station wagons of the time isn’t mentioned: the first all-steel body.
Maybe there’s a reason. Was the all-steel Suburban substantially more expensive than the woodies? If not, seems like getting a Suburban over the wood-bodied cars would be a no-brainer. I can’t think of a good reason to get the more maintenance-intensive, organic-body cars.
Was there a stigma associated with commercial vehicles back then? At least the contrasting paint around the windows makes it less obvious that this is a converted panel van with windows and seats. They may have wanted to tread lightly around that point.
This vehicle still contains structural wood under the sheet metal. I believe the 1937 Chevrolet was the first all-steel passenger car from the firm.
I am happy that Chevrolet introduced the Carryall Suburban. I am happier that my International Travelall suburbans, and GMC Jimmy’s, Envoys and Acadias offer so much more comfort and convenience. I would lief not revert to driving a 1935 model. Great ad, by the way. Love it.
Nice. And as Evan has noted, it’s what we now want and buy. Just took a detour for about 50years.
I didn’t know till looking that ‘carryall’ is yet another body term from the days of actual horsepower, and a folk derivation from the French light cart or toboggan, the cariole.
‘Suburban’ has forever been a bit of a miss, though. I always but always think of the vehicle being the Chevy Boredom, and the Carryall Boredom sounds too much like a burden for a suffering saint for me.
I will be the contrarian and argue that this was anything but a winning formula for the first several decades. Production numbers are hard to come by, but the few I have found suggest that from 1965-72 the Suburban had a huge year if it hit 15k units (in all configurations), which was a drop in the bucket compared with pickup sales.
But if GM was good at anything, it was good at sticking with a niche long enough for a market to find it. The 1973 model was the fortunate confluence of finally hitting the winning formula (4 doors and fairly luxurious trims) and America’s embrace of trucks as suitable family transportation. From then on it was a winning formula indeed.
They probably were selling enough panel trucks in the early decades to amortize the tooling, and the Suburban was gravy. Too, until the 1960s it was marketed as a crew bus or hotel shuttle more than a family car, and those use cases didn’t fall away from the main brochure and ad campaign entirely until well into the ’80s.
Yeah, Chevy is really pushing revisionist history in this commercial; despite what it shows, the Suburban wasn’t really sold as a family schlepper until the 1970s, when it also benefitted from the RV boom during that decade.
Saw this 36 last summer
Could this be the first 3 tone factory paint job?
I like this truck .
In the mid 1960’s I logged a _lot_ of miles in several ’63 / ’64 Suburbans .
When jammed full of kids they rode just fine .
With a passenger-car body on a delivery-truck frame, Chevrolet would like you to think of the ’35 Carryall Suburban as the first SUV. Jeep argues otherwise, pointing out the missing ingredient – 4WD, which is expected to be offered (at least as an option) on any modern sport utility vehicle. Most people, then and now, don’t really need 4WD though, so I side with Chevy on this one.
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