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1969 Chevy Suburban - Busted Knuckles

Drivable, Showable, Dependable

Maxwell Matthewson
Jun 1, 2011
Ever since Mike O’Brien can remember, he has liked the look of three-door Suburbans. After building a few minis, Mike, of Longview, Texas, bought this ’69 Chevy Suburban, which is the perfect project truck. After buying this truck in May of 2008, Mike spent seven hours taking the body off the frame. From there he set the body aside and took the frame to Dustin Self, of Self Built Rods and Customs in Gurdon, Arkansas, to turn it into a custom truck with the knowledge that Mike wants a truck that he can take the kids to school with and win trophies at shows with.
Photo 2/7   |   1969 Chevy Suburban Busted Knuckles right Front
The first step was to build a fully boxed 2x4-inch frame for maximum strength and rigidity. Mike wanted this tired old Burb to be able to lay out, so Dustin went to work on a custom lowered suspension. Up front, Dustin used a set of McGaughy’s 2-inch drop spindles to bring the front end low as well as a set of Air Lift 2600 bags. Dustin also flat plated the stock control arms for extra support. To bring the back down to match the front, Dustin installed a custom two-link with a panhard bar and matching Air Lift 2600 bags. This suspension tucks the 20-inch KMC SS wheels nicely.
Photo 3/7   |   1969 Chevy Suburban Busted Knuckles renderings
Next, Mike had Jason Horn build a 350ci engine to make this Chevy come alive. The engine features ported and polished heads, a Holley 650 carb, and a Comp cam. Sending the power to the rear is a Chevy 700-R4 tranny. Mike then had Dustin convert the stock drum brakes to disc brakes all around for increased stopping ability.
The body was very straight and painted a not-so-nice blue, but Dustin has yet to change that. He plans on shaving the taillights and side markers as well as install a ’71 GMC grille with billet inserts. He also wants to suicide the rear door and relocate the door handle to the front of the door. Moving to the interior, it was definitely changed from factory before Mike got it. The front seats and headliner were covered in grey and blue tweed. The rear half has seen better days and the cargo area lacks a floor, but Mike still has a lot of work to do. The tweed-covered seats will be swapped out for a set of black and grey leather covered 2007 Tahoe seats. Black carpet will be installed and either leather or suede will replace the tweed headliner. The interior will also have electronic gauges, Vintage A/C, and a billet steering wheel when Dustin is done.
Photo 4/7   |   1969 Chevy Suburban Busted Knuckles right Rear Angle
There is quite a bit of work to do, but it is slowly coming together. Mike wanted to send a special thank you to his wife Debra, Dustin Self, Cody Hicks, and his whole AcrophobiA family.


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