1994 GMC Suburban - Pavement Principles
The Road to Draggin' Rockers
One common denominator exists in all sport trucks with the right look: It's all in the stance, which means as low as you can get it. There's a line between functional and trailered trucks that distinguishes the extremity of the build. The edge of this razor is under constant pressure to cut free the ties that bind a driven truck to a limited level of customization. Jon Leach of Edmond, Oklahoma, has not only pushed that limit with his street-driven 'bagged and body-dropped build, he's also broken the boundary of truck versus SUV builds. Jon bought this '94 GMC Suburban from his parents in early 2002. After driving the 'Burb' stock for about a year, he was overcome by an urge to customize it.
Talk about hard-core, Jon isn't afraid to get his hands dirty or tackle extreme projects at all. When asked who did all the chassis mods, Jon proudly says he did them himself. Getting the body to touch ground was the first order of business, so the floor was cut to allow the body to drop flush with the bottom of the framerails. Next, a 10-inch notch was welded into the Suburban to make room for the deep droop the SUV was going to take. A two-link cantilever with Panhard rod was fabbed to the rear differential with Monroe dampers controlling the movement. Up front, Chassis Tech knuckles and Monroe shocks replace the stock components to get the huge carcass laying frame. Slam Specialties airbags equipped on all four corners control the truck's elevation.
All the wheelwells were removed to make room for the rolling stock if the big body was to slip over. Then, a set of Rozzi Switch 20x8.5-inch wheels was wrapped in Dunlop 255/35R20s up front, and 22x9.5-inch Razzis with Dunlop 278/35R22s were hidden out back. Two VIAIR 450 compressors, 1/2-inch line, air valves, and an Air Ride Technologies gauge panel control the amount of compressed molecules that are pumped in or released from the airbags.
Performance was a factor for Jon, so the Suburban had the 350ci small-block pulled and taken to Joyco Engines in Oklahoma City. There, the heads and block were reworked. Jon took the freshly machined engine parts and meticulously put them together. With the use of some aftermarket parts, the engine took shape. Speed Pro hypereutectic slugs fill the microhoned bores, and Comp Cams lobs and springs control the lift on the valves. A Pete Jackson geardrive was mounted to the cam and crank, which emits a whine as the gears mesh together while the engine turns. A high-volume oil pump pulls oil from the chrome oil pan sealed to the bottom of the block, which keeps the rotating assembly lubed. Edelbrock's Performer intake was ceramic-coated and sports a Barry Grant 725cc Road Demon carburetor. The exhaust manifolds were also ceramic-coated, along with a few other components, to keep things cool under the hood and add a hint of style as well. Ceramic-coated accessory brackets and March power pulleys finish off the front of the engine, which help free up some horsepower. ARP's stainless bolt engine kit and stainless accessory bolts accent the clean appeal of the motor. True dual 2-1/2 inch exhaust pipes flow under the carriage and are equipped with Flowmaster mufflers. All the catalytic converters were removed to allow the engine to breath free. Accel Extreme 9000 8-1/2mm plug wires run the high-voltage electrical pulse from the cap and to the plugs that spark the fire-breathing small-block.
With the truck laying body, all the components that once hung below the scrubline of the framerails had to be reengineered, relocated, or removed. Summit Racing's 15-gallon fuel cell is recessed in the utility floor in the rear of the Sub'. Getting the 22x9.5-inch rims with 285/30 tires on the SUV meant narrowing the rear diff was a must to get the desired rolling stock to fit under the behemoth fuselage. The axle was taken to Holzman Race Cars in Wichita, Kansas, which took the GM 12-bolt and cut 3 inches from both sides of the axle tubes for a total of 6 inches of narrowed track width. Eaton's limited-slip carrier assembly fills the axlehousing, and affords the Suburban the ability to spin both sets of meats with the fresh 350.
Katzkin seat covers fit perfectly over the seats, yet lend a custom look to the stock units. Auto Meter gauges fill a pillar pod, giving feedback about the fuel pressure and tranny temp. With the stock steering wheel removed, a BAD Gunslinger billet aluminum piece fits nicely in its place. Kicker amps and midrange speakers with Audiobahn 10-inch subs turn the cab of the 'Burb' into a huge sub box. Clarion monitors are mounted in a custom enclosure between the driver and passenger seats and provide the visual entertainment.
This may be a little unheard of, but a Chevy dealership actually smoothed out and shot this truck. Pemberton Chevrolet in Ponca City, Oklahoma, helped Jon shave off the door handles, roof rack, gas door, and lower body line. With the body all smoothed down, all the plastics were sanded, and some fiberglass was fabbed to the interior to enhance styling. Several coats of Viper Red were laid over all the prepwork to give the Sub' its pigment. All the glass was given a 35 percent dark film, and the rear pillar covers were sanded and shot black to create a uniform black wrap down the sides and around the back. The rear taillights were tapped and sprayed to form a simplistic rear signal. A molded roll pan smoothes off the lower section of the rear body line beneath the barn doors. A smoothie front bumper has a slightly cut-down plate that's recessed on the passenger side.
A lot of Jon's inspiration came from his club partners at Pleasures. The entire crew pushes that limit between driver and trailer queen. With all the principles required to be a pleasurable pavement scrapper, this 'Burb' really shows what Jon and his club affiliates are made of.