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1952 GMC Suburban
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Leonardtown, Maryland



Owned by Keven Newton
Bolter # 16724

Talking about this truck
in the DITY Gallery


01 January 2010
# 2731 & 2732

More truck pictures of my classic trucks and stuff


From Kevin :

Back in 1973, I saw my first Advance Design Suburban one day on my way to work. That old truck came up for sale and was sold in three minutes. I never had a chance ... and I didn’t know I cared until I didn’t see it on my way to work anymore. Then I realized how much I had wanted that truck. I swore I wouldn’t miss the next one! It’s been 30 years now and I finally bought my first Sub, a 1949 Chevy 3100.

I stored this classic truck on a neighbor’s farm until I could figure out a way to tell my wife about it. It’s funny how they have a round about way of “finding out”!

After some fast talking and some promises, I got to bring it home and put it in my garage. There it has sat, seeming to beg me to work on it. I had been spending my time accumulating parts: SBC Chevy engines, 250 ci 6, 4.2L Vortec I6, 5 speed transmissions, miscellaneous interior parts, seats, steering columns, speed equipment, wheels and tires, a running LWB standard cab S-10 and a rolling BMW 325 ... so go figure!. Pretty much the usual junk yard and Swap Meet finds. My garage is starting to get really full!

Then one night on eBay, I was the successful bidder on a 1949 Chevy Fleetline 4 door fastback -- a cool old car. Then three months later, I bought another. Mind you, I have only seen a handful of these in my 60 years of being a car nut, and now I own two! This move has done absolutely nothing to alleviate my storage problem. My wife says my buying is out of control. Maybe she’s right. Maybe a road trip will help me get my Bolts straight.

So I trip off to Mankato MN to see my son, another slow learner when it comes to telling his wife about his newest “project.” I get there and he shows me a ’96 BMW (mentioned earlier) that he acquired in trade from a guy getting a divorce. Motor is gone, but everything else is there. But he has another rice burner V6 with a 6 speed trans to put in it.

Now I’m on my way back to Rochester from Mankato. I’ve been watching this old green Suburban in this guys yard for about four years now. Today I stop and look at it up close, oblivious to the fact I am trespassing and may get shot. I look at it -- it’s a GMC! I go knock on the guy's door. He’s eating supper (I’m thinking he’s going to be ticked off). I ask if the old Sub is for sale? I’m waiting ……. he’s chewing. He says, “It could be.” I ask how much. He tells me. I’m sweating now and breathing real fast. I swallow, “I’ll take it!” (The price was really right!)

Then I remember what I had to promise my wife the last time and wonder what it’s going to cost me this time. I told the guy I’d be back to pick it up next week before school starts. I get home and tell my wife I’m going to buy a Suburban as a retirement investment (I just retired from the Army in June). She gives a blank look and so I guess it’s ok.

Turns out the Suburban is a 1952 GMC originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho. The paperwork goes back to 1979, and lists several owners.

The story from the most previous owner was that it was used by the Army Corps of Engineers for a nuclear power plant called “The Project” sometime in the late 1950’s early 1960’s. It has Army markings, a serial number and “For Official Use Only” on the driver’s door. On the rear door it says “TMP” usually stands for Transportation Motor Pool., but who knows?

It’s got all the parts my ’49 is missing and they are in pretty good shape. It has an engine (’65) and open drive shaft (also ’65). It came with a 248 GMC 6 and extra transmission and 2 bell housings. Also included was a brand new Fulton 1000 visor and a set of original Guide fog lamps.

1949 Chevy Suburban

I pull into my yard from my road trip. I look at my garage and think, 28 x 40 is not going to be nearly big enough for the stuff I have now.

“Holy Sierra” there’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into Ollie! Time for some crucial moves. I sold my old Fleetline on eBay to a guy in CA. I roll the old Chevy Sub into the back corner of the garage, and put my good Fleetline in the other. I put my new Sub (GMC) in the downstairs garage on my house. I’ll turn on the infloor heat when it starts to get cold. Many thanks to my wife for insisting on a pre-stressed floor in our new house garage, so I can double my attached garage space ... she’s such a sweetie. I build an addition onto my big garage to store my yard equipment and the sudden collection of parts I’ve accumulated. Thanks Iola! Nothing like a little creative stacking to make it look pretty, eh?

School has started now, so my life will not be my own until June. I teach Industrial Arts in a middle school, but only for five more years! My plans are to get the GMC back on the road by June for MSRA's “Back to the 50’s” in St Paul, June 18-20. It needs brakes and to get it running. I should probably bolt in a seat, too.

Later plans are to address safety, reliability and comfort items as I have time and resources. I like the look of stock on the outside but having upgrades in the running gear to make it fun to drive. There are so many different styles to emulate but I think it will be done in the Newton style cause that’s the style I like best!

My ’49 Sub will have to wait while I gather more critical parts for its rebirth. Iola here I come! I’m thinking this one will be way different than the GMC since I’m short on original parts for this one.

Keven Newton


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