75 Years of Chevrolet Suburban

Representing the Suburban's first generation (1935-36) is this model from 1936. You'd be familiar with most of the major controls, but this is clearly an antique. The single sun visor — for the driver — is wood. About the size of a current Chevy Malibu, the fact that it only has two doors isn't surprising ... it's not that large of a vehicle. Sitting behind the bus-sized steering wheel, you press the starter button on the floor and listen to the 6-volt electrics slowly turn over the low-compression 60-horsepower "Stove Bolt" six-cylinder engine.

Acceleration is gentle, the three-speed manual gearbox is noisy, and the ride is bouncy. The manual steering provides plenty of feel, none of it is much good. The new-for-1936 hydraulic brakes don't provide modern stopping power, but they work. For such an old vehicle, this is significant. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1966 Chevrolet Suburban Equipped with a 327-cubic inch V-8, four-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive, this truck is just old, not an antique.

No-feel power steering and grippy power brakes will be familiar to any baby boomer. With steel inner door panels, the Suburban is clearly still a work truck, and still has only two doors. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1946 Chevrolet Suburban After more than a decade of refinement, every dynamic sensation improves with the 1946 edition. Interior changes include a true instrument cluster featuring multiple gauges enclosed into one housing.

Horsepower was up to 90, which feels reasonable for this 3600-pound truck. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1953 Chevrolet Suburban Wearing new post-war styling introduced in 1947, the '53 Suburban continued to become more refined. The six-cylinder now made 92 horsepower and had plenty of low-end torque that made easy work of hauling up to eight occupants. Improved synchronizers in the three-speed manual gearbox (with its shifter on the steering column) requires less patients and precision.

The front passenger seat pivots forward to allow passengers in the rear bench seats. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1972 Chevrolet Suburban The 1967-72 body style moves closer to the modern SUV orthodoxy with a significantly larger body that incorporates a rear door only on the passenger side of the vehicle. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1972 Chevrolet Suburban Note the new rear door, a first for the Suburban.

Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1990 Chevrolet Suburban The year 1973 marks the beginning of the modern SUV era at General Motors. This 1990 edition stands as the example for entire eighth-generation which ran from 1973-1991. Notable features include the four-door body style and a more familiar profile. From behind the wheel, it gets the job done while being completely unremarkable to drive. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 1999 Chevrolet Suburban

1999 Chevrolet Suburban Representing the last three generations of Suburbans (new in 1992, 2000, and 2007), this 1999 model reflects contemporary styling and technical updates that have kept the SUV up to date. Currently, these vehicles are "used cars" and won't be of any significant interest for another forty years. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics [pic]Back 2010 75th Anniversary Suburban The 1946 Suburban provides some perspective on how SUVs have evolved. Read more: Chevy Suburban Pictures - Historical Pictures of the Chevy Suburban - Popular Mechanics