Updated May 06, 2015
1941 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall
The Suburban wasn't just a significant model for Chevrolet, it was an important vehicle for the car industry as a whole. Arguably it was the first Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), a tough, no-nonsense load carrier featuring a station wagon body on the chassis of a small truck. Actually christened the Suburban Carryall – for it could pretty much carry anything – its origins could be traced back to 1933 and a wooden eight-seater body on half ton truck frame, intended for National Guard and Civilian Conservation Corps units. When made available to the public, it gained an all-metal body fitted with either rear panel doors or a tailgate. "They were doing a crossover between a car and a truck," says Ed of the vehicle that gave birth to what is now the longest continuous name to be used on a car. "And it's got a cool interior, too, a real neat one. One might consider it the first crossover, and it's very much related to the Captiva.
1946 Chevrolet Suburban
1946 Chevrolet Suburban. There was national euphoria at the end of World War II, but confusion, too. Returning G.I.s came home to an America that had essentially gone on hold since 1942. When the country put itself collectively behind the war effort, discretionary purchases all but dried up and the manufacture of durable goods mostly ceased as factories converted to the production of war materials.
The auto industry led the conversion to war production and virtually no cars or light-duty trucks were produced for civilian use between early 1942 and late 1945. And because the end of the war was difficult to predict, when the factories finally switched back from bombers to passenger vehicles, there were no new models on the drawing boards. All the major automakers basically picked up in 1946 where they left off with the 1942 models.
Chevrolet's truck line exemplified the state of the industry in '46. The exterior styling of the Suburban was the same as the brief 1942 model run. In fact, early production of the 1946 models was virtually identical to the '42 models, including a lack of war-rationed chrome trim. Later in 1946, bright trim reappeared and other refinements were added to the Suburban.
The stalwart Stovebolt-six engine was the engine that powered the '46 Suburban. It produced 90 horsepower and plenty of low-rpm torque that made the Suburban great for hauling people and cargo. The engine was backed by a three-speed manual transmission and hydraulic brakes were standard.
To satisfy pent-up demand for new vehicles and allow final validation of the next generation, production of the 1946 Suburban (and all other Chevrolet trucks) lasted through May 1947.
1946 CHEVROLET SUBURBAN FACTS
THE BOTTOM LINE: 1946 INCOME AND
PRICES (with 2010 inflation conversions)