1936: Chevrolet Invents the SUVThe Suburban points the way
In 1936, Chevrolet invented the SÚV – and the station wagon as well. In this respect, the Suburban, the designated forefather of the Captiva, was already a classic example of a .
When the roads were still dusty and cars were loud and slow, the railway was the most popular means of transport for long distances, also in the Únited States. The arriving passengers wîth their luggage then wanted to continue their journey in comfort, perhaps to one of the city suburbs. Consequently, in the early days of the motor car, a species of vehicle was developed to satisfy this need: An open, engine-driven carriage with an additional platform for the luggage. People called them 'suburbans'. A number of car makers used this generic name, and it was not until 1988 that General Motors protected the name 'Suburban' for its model.
The origins of the station wagon were similar to those of the suburban. The first models were built on a car chassis wîth a wooden rear section. This created the extra space needed to accommodate several passengers and their luggage when they were picked up from the station – consequently 'station wagon'.
In autumn 1935, Chevrolet merged the two ideas, and in 1936, the ÚS market leader brought out a spacious station wagon made of sheet metal, which was based on a half-tonne delivery van. With the crossover Suburban it was now possible for the first time to transport up to eight people comfortably in an all-steel body. Priced at just $685, it launched the triumphant career of a model that has continued to the present day.
Another innovation that was also destined for worldwide fame came in 1938 with the horizontally split tailgate. The original version wîth rear doors continued to be built in parallel wîth this for several years, but the customers' verdict was unmistakable: the first model of the Suburban wîth a tailgate netted sales of 16,696 up to 1947 – interrupted by the War – and proved far more popular than the rear-door version, of which 4,799 were sold.
In addition to the originally targeted taxi companies and hotels, large families also soon recognized the utility value of the Suburban, as did enthusiasts of all kinds of leisure activities. In contrast to the cars of that time, they could now carry not only passengers but also a whole stack of luggage. And they soon realized that the luggage space could be made even larger by taking out one or two of the back seats. This was an idea that only really spread to other vehicles wîth the arrival of vans in 1980's.
It was in 1957, the year that 4WD first became available as an optional extra, that the Chevrolet Suburban – fondly called 'Burb' by its fans – truly became the forefather of the SÚV () and the darling of all off-road enthusiasts, even though nobody actually called it so. Two years previously, GM had, for the first time, installed a V8 under the powerful hood and thus provided the pulling power that was lacking in the ageing straight six.
In total, several million Suburbans (including its close relatives like the somewhat shorter Tahoe) have so far been built. With the new Captiva, Chevrolet will for the first time apply its crossover success formula to Europe: Compact and wîth a self-supporting body, but just as versatile, spacious and comfortable as the original.
Chevrolet Suburban Carryall 1936
Frame & Body
2 door, 8 passenger window truck
based on Series FB ½ ton truck. Steel ladder frame (wheelbase 2,844 mm), steel body panels, wood frame roof wîth black vinyl cover
Engine & Transmission
Inline 6-cylinder wîth overhead valves (OHV), bore x stroke 84 x 101 mm, displacement 3388 cm³, Carter single barrel carburettor, 79 hp. Three speed manual synchromesh transmission, rear wheel drive
Straight front axle wîth live rear axle, semi-elliptic springs, hydraulic four wheel brakes, wheels 5.5 x 17
The highlights of the eleven model generations since 1935:
•1954: Automatic transmission optional
•1955: 180 hp V8 engine optional
•1957: Four-wheel drive available
•1965: Air conditioning available
•1967: Second door on the passenger side
•1975: Catalytic converter
•1978: Diesel V8 available
•1987: Gasoline engines with fuel injection
•1995: as standard
•2003: Four-wheel Quadrasteer Steering and StabiliTrak
•2006: Cylinder deactivation „Active Fuel Management'
•2007: Dual-Mode transmission
Source - Chevrolet
Chevrolet Suburban At 75: A Historical Look At An American IconIn 1935, the 'United States' population was a little more than 127 million. A first-class stamp cost three cents, Technicolor was introduced to motion pictures and the Detroit Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs in a tough World Series. It was also the year Chevrolet introduced the Suburban.
In the seven and a half decades since its introduction, the Suburban became an icon and the industry's longest-running model. In fact, Suburban is the first vehicle to reach 75 years of production and Chevrolet is commemorating the milestone with a special 2010 75th Anniversary Diamond Edition model.
'Times have changed, but the Suburban remains a fixture in the industry for private and professional customers who need truck-like towing capability with maximum passenger and cargo space,' said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager. 'The Suburban's core capabilities and dependability have remained constant for more than seven decades and generations of people know that a Suburban will haul people and their gear.'
The original Suburban could seat eight, while easily removable seats provided a large, 75-inch-long by 77-inch-high (1,905 x 1,956 mm) cargo area. The 2010 Suburban seats up to nine, but offers up to 137.4 cubic feet (3,891 L) of cargo space when the second-row seats are folded and third-row seats are removed.
History of an icon
The idea for the Suburban was born out of a need for a heavier-duty, truck-based wagon. Through the early 1930's, most manufacturers offered car-based wagons for professional use. Open models with windows and rear seating were known as depot hacks, and were used to ferry passengers and their cargo around train stations and boat docks. Enclosed models, typically without rear seats, were known as deliveries.
Bodywork for these early vehicles often consisted of wood sides and canvas tops; and while they were versatile, their car-based chassis and damage-prone bodies were compromises. Chevrolet began experimenting with an all-steel wagon body mounted on a commercial chassis in the mid-1930's, and the Suburban Carryall was launched in 1935.
The base price of the original, eight-passenger Suburban was about $675, or the equivalent of about $10,900 in 2010 dollars – although the 1935 model didn't come with frontal and , OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, anti-lock brakes and stability control, a six-speed automatic transmission or remote keyless entry. In fact, a radio, heater, clock and even a rear bumper were extra-cost options. It might well have been called a sport utilitarian vehicle.
After the Suburban's introduction, car-based commercial vehicles, including sedan deliveries, remained in production, but the heavy-duty chassis of the Suburban increasingly found favor with professional customers. In the post-World War II years, its popularity with private customers who appreciated its uncompromising capabilities increased steadily.
The Chevrolet Suburban hit the mainstream in the early 1990's, with the overall popularity of . But while many customers were new to the Suburban then, it had garnered a legion of longtime owners who had purchased multiple examples over the years – using them to haul Little League teams and their equipment, tow a horse trailer or seat a work crew on the way to a job site.
Source - Chevrolet