The Chevrolet Suburban Turns 85, So Here's a Full-Size Gallery of Every Generation
Did you know that the Suburban is the longest-surviving nameplate in automotive history?
Chevrolet's first Suburban rolled off of the assembly line in 1935, during a time when its arrival was easily the least-interesting thing to happen that year. As Chevy points out in its own retrospective on the Suburban's 85th birthday, 1935 was also the year when the Hoover Dam was completed and the first color movies were shown. Like those breakthroughs, the relatively humble Suburban lives on today, albeit in a slightly different form than when it was born. Back then, the Suburban represented alternative thinking on Chevy's part—most utility vehicles were known as "sedan deliveries" and used a wagon body on a car platform (not unlike a van-ified crossover); the Suburban kept the wagon body idea, but employed a heavier-duty commercial truck chassis for added toughness and capability.
It wasn't until after World War II when the Suburban began to take off amongst non-commercial buyers with more passenger-friendly versions that amounted to proto-SUVs. And it would be another few decades before the Suburban morphed into the shape it holds today, that of a full-size pickup truck with an enclosed body swallowing multiple rows of seats and a huge cargo bay. At some point, the cargo-focused versions of the Suburban died off, a transition the big brute elegantly weathered as, per Chevrolet, SUVs such as the 'burban took off in popularity took off in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Families were off-loading their minivans in disgust, and the hulking Suburban and its commodious interior and not-lame appearance was ripe for adoption amongst those sheltering in place in suburbia. So, take a peek at the gallery below for 85 years of Suburban evolution (of the car, not the residential areas hugging metropolis' borders), and pour one out for the long-serving workhorse.