A Finely Restored 1949 GMC Suburban

The 1949 GMC Suburban was among the fourth generation Suburban. For the 1949 model year there were 75 different GMC models produced.

General Motors Early Truck and Commercial Vehicle Business

1949 GMC Suburban

1949 GMC Suburban

The history of GMC goes all the way back to the year 1909, shortly after William Durant formed General Motors as a holding company for Buick. This was when General Motors purchased the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company. This company had been formed seven years earlier by Max and Morris Grabowsky.

That company was acquired by a company that built the Pontiac automobile in 1907 and 1908. In 1909, the company would be bought again, this time by General Motors. GM had also purchased the second ancestral branch of the GMC Truck business, the Reliance Motor Car Company, which was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1902. These two companies would serve as the basis for GM truck production. The General Motors Truck Company was then organized as a sales company for Rapid and Reliance Trucks. It would be three years later that the brand name GMC would emerge.

49 gmc suburban

Rear view of the GMC Suburban

To give you an idea of GMC production during it's very early years, a total of 759 GMC trucks of Rapid and Reliance designs were built in 1913 through 1915.

The argument of whether which was better for hauling, the horse or the motor vehicle, lasted longer than some people may have expected. During 1917 to 1919, GMC produced 8,512 trucks for the US Government. It were these vehicles that did a lot to prove that motorized vehicles were far superior to horses and mules for military transport as well as for civilian use.

gmc suburban fourth generation

GMC Suburban

The Story of the Suburban

Chevrolet first introduced the Suburban in 1935. Two years later in 1937 GMC came out with a Suburban model. The first Chevrolet Suburban had a wheelbase of 112.0 inches and a 206 cubic inch six cylinder engine. Collectors might refer to this as the first SUV although the term SUV would not come out until later. The GMC model had a pickup type front end with a station wagon type body mounted on a pickup chassis. An interesting side note is that there were more automakers than General Motors who used the name "Suburban". What they were building was a windowed station wagon type body on a commercial frame. It was finally in 1988 that GM was given an exclusive trademark since all other automakers dropped the name. It's interesting to note that the Suburban name is one of the longest running nameplates in automotive history.

Two GMC Road Demonstrations

Incredibly, in 1916 a GMC Truck crossed the U.S. from Seattle, Washington to New York City in thirty days. In 1926 a two ton GMC Truck made it from New York City to San Francisvo in five days and thirty minutes. When you look at these travel times you have to appreciate them because of the general conditions of roads during those years. Route 66 itself was built in 1926 as essentially a patchwork of roads and trails.

Post World War Two GMC

Like all American automakers they were eager to begin civilian vehicle production as soon as World War Two ended. General Motors was no different but the UAW/CIO union struck GM and the result was six months of production lost.

Production resumed in 1946 and GMC was able to offer 48 models with up to 55,000 lbs. GVWR.

Between 1939 and 1950, GMC Trucks were built at the GMC Truck Plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

1949 GMC Suburban Specifications

1949 gmc

1949 GMC Suburban Chrome grille

The 1949 GMC Suburban as built with a GMC 228 cubic inch six cylinder engine. This engine delivered 95 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

The one-half ton 49 GMC Suburban's wheelbase was 116.0 inches. The Suburban's weight was 3,710 lbs. New car price for the 49 GMC Suburban was about $1,700.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

A 1962 Studebaker Champion Pickup

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A Restored 1914 Model T Depot Hack

A 1937 GMC COE Truck


Our reference material and an excellent book is.....GMC : The First 100 Years by author John Gunnell. Another excellent book includes.....The Deal Maker : How William C. Durant Made General Motors by author Axel Madsen.

1949 gmc suburban interior and dashboard

Dashboard on the 49 GMC Suburban

GMC Suburbans as Collector Vehicles

The 1949 GMC Suburban featured in this article is an excellent restoration of what is today a rare collector vehicle. Asking prices for models for sale will vary greatly due to degree of restoration.

We do see a 1949 GMC Suburban with original parts that went through a body off restoration with a price tag of $49,000.

As of this writing, 1949 GMC Suburbans, non-restored, might be found anywhere fro $5,000 to $15,000 depending on mileage and general condition, both interior and exterior.

We also see a wide range of asking prices for 1949 GMC Pickup Trucks. Prices are in a range of about $13,000 to $30,000 depending on whether the vehicle has been restored or not and to what degree of restoration.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)



1948 Buick Custom Super Sedanette Fastback

The automobile featured in this article is a 1948 Buick Super 2-Door Sedanette Fastback. The 48 Buick Sedanette is a rare car today and is popular among collectors. Only a total of 20,649 Buick Sedanettes were built that model year. Some sources however show a higher production number of over 30,000. With this in mind, we're not entirely sure which figure is accurate. Buick's Sedanette eye catching design offered a sharp flowing coupe look with sedan seating.

1948 buick sedanette

1948 Buick Super Sedanette

The War Ends For General Motors and the Strike Comes

When World War Two ended, the car long known for style and manufacturing quality, Buick, was more than ready to pick up where it left off. Buick was a best seller for GM after it's budget priced Chevrolet.

Although 1945 saw peace come to the world it was another thing at home. By the end of 1945 pent up demand for new civilian automobiles meant that America's automakers would be able to sell new cars as fast as they could build them.

This was not lost on the union leaders. The United Auto Workers under president Walter Reuther demanded immediate pay increases for GM auto workers totaling some 30%. This demand was refused as well as Reuther's request to see their books. What resulted was a strike hit General Motors in November of 1945. This of course put a roadblock up for Buick which wanted to resume where it left off in February 1942.

The 1948 Buick Sedanette Design and Styling

Harley J. Earl managed the Styling Staff of General Motors from its inception as the Art and Colour Section in 1927 until his retirement in 1959. He is known as one of the few legendary designers and his design influence can be seen in all GM automobiles during his several decade tenure.

1948 buick sedanette fastback

The sleek fastback design of the 1948 Buick Sedanette

The 1948 Buick Super was a full sized automobile. Some might say, design-wise, its the final example of looking back to streamlining and prewar styling ideas and it serves as an excellent example of GM's postwar Torpedo styling.

You could call this 48 Buick Sedanette big, sleek and stunning and it took on the fastback style of Buick's 1941 and 1942 Century and Special. The car was designed wider and lower.

1948 Buick Super Sedanette Specifications

The 48 Buick Super Sedanette was built with a 248 cubic inch straight eight engine. Horsepower was rated at 115. This engine dates to 1931 when Buick developed it in three different displacements. These engines had some similarities over it's 23 year period, but development and refinement marched forward. This particular 248 cubic inch straight 8 produced serious torque and smooth power.

Buick gave it's engines some colorful names which was good marketing. This Buick straight eight was known as the "Fireball 8" starting in 1941 just prior to the war. Later there was the " Fireball 8 Dynaflash" whose name seems to allude power and speed. The "Fireball 8 Dynaflash" engine appeared in 1949, the same time that Buick introduced it's Dynaflow automatic transmission.

Transmission was a three speed manual and brakes on this car were hydraulic drums.

Electrical was 6 volts.

Car dimensions included a 124.0 inch wheelbase, an overall length of 209.4 inches, a width of 78.5 inches, a height of 65.4 inches and a curb weight of 4,000 lbs.

You may also enjoy the related Buick AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

A Beauty of a 1940 Buick Coupe

1929 Buick Seven Passenger Sedan

1967 Buick Riviera Packed With Plenty of Muscle

Sample Decodings of Classic Car Serial Numbers


1948 customized buick super

Another front view of the customized 48 Buick Super Sedanette

1948 Buick Collector Cars

Classic and vintage Buick's have always been popular collector automobiles. Buick's had a history of good quality and creative designing. The 1948 Buick Super was as big as a Roadmaster model although the Roadmaster had a larger engine.

If you were to categorize postwar Buicks that they looked quite good to the eye, were practical and were spacious and comfortable. For the car collector, the sedans and sedanettes are found to be affordable and representative of 1940s American automobiles.

A car collector may put a premium on milestone automobiles. After World War Two it took the American automakers some time to lay out a new design and actually put it into production. For Buick it's been said that all newly postwar design models appeared at dealerships beginning in 1949. There is also an argument to be made that 1947 and 1948 were transitional years as well.

buick sedanette

Flowing design of the 1948 Buick Super Sedanette

Asking prices for 1948 Buick's will vary greatly due to degree of restoration and originality. As of this writing and to offer you an example of some current prices for 48 Buick's we've assembled some offerings.

We have seen 1948 Buick's generally priced form the teens to over $100,000. The higher priced models typically are frame off restored convertibles. Some of these have only a few thousand miles after their frame off restorations. On the flip side you may also run across non-restored 48 sedans priced at about $10,000 which could make excellent project cars.

An excellent reference book regarding Buicks is...Motor News Book of Buicks (Hemmings Motor News Collector-Car Books) 

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)

See This Restored 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Things ere tough for the automakers during the 1930's. One solid performer however was Plymouth, an automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation.

1934 plymouth coupe

1934 Plymouth Business Coupe

Plymouth pulled off a great sales year during 1933. The company had a 25% share of the new car market.  That's saying a lot. As if that wasn't enough, Chrysler decided to add another model to their 1934 lineup.

This would be a Plymouth model with many more luxury appointments.This was for an automobile that cost about $100 more than a Ford but was a heavier and better equipped vehicle. In other   words, the 1934 Plymouth was considered a good buy.

The automobile featured in this article is a 1934 Plymouth Coupe. The 1934 Plymouth coupe was considered the best engineered vehicle in its class. It's all steel body along with stock options ranging from 4 wheel hydraulic brakes to floating engine mounts the Plymouth was definitely ahead of its time.

34 plymouth business coupe

34 Plymouth Coupe rear view

An Engineering Change From 1933 to 1934

Plymouth made some  engineering changes for the 1934 model year. Plymouth replaced the successful PD and PCXX models with the PE and PFXX models. The new models had mechanical differences. They came with an advanced independent front suspension that used unequal A arms. Overall engine power was increased by 10% over the 1933 models by increasing the engine stroke. In ways other than these the PE and PF were mechanically very similar to the 1933 models.

The Plymouth PE models had a 114.0 inch wheelbase. The PFXX models had a 108.0 inch wheelbase.

1934 plymouth nameplate Design and Models

Compared to the 1933 Plymouth, the 34 models had a more rounded body. At the same time it did retain some of the classic early 1930's styling. It was this mixture of classic styling and independent front suspension that made this car unique..For 1934 the price leader was the “New Plymouth Six” PF. This model was built on a 108” wheelbase. Styles included the business coupe, rumble seat coupe, and two or four door sedan styles.

Competition was intense during 1934 and Plymouth came out with a few additional models. One was the "Special Six". The “Special Six” series PFXX  came out for the spring selling season. This automobile had a chrome-plated grill, chrome windshield frame, twin trumpet horns, twin tail lights, chrome headlight shells, interior sun visor, and an ash tray and glove compartment on the dashboard. Another model, the PFXX Town Sedan also joined the lineup..

Plymouth Shines During the Great Depression

Plymouth was considered a lower priced automobile among the Chrysler line. As such, Plymouth did a lot to help Chrysler survive the Great Depression. Sales numbers for Plymouth were a positive for Chrysler during the 1930's, with it's 25% share of the new car market in 1933 being a good example. In fact, in 1930 the Plymouth automobile was sold by all Chrysler divisions, Chrysler, DeSoto and Dodge.

Plymouth Street Rods

The 34 Plymouth Coupe makes a pretty good street rod and chances are you've seen one. Parts are generally available with a little searching and some companies manufacture body parts such as fiberglass front fenders for those wishing to customize. A good number of these street rods have supercharged engines and modified suspensions for drag racing. We've also come across 34 coupes built as low-riders. Don't be surprised to find 454 cubic inch Chevy engines in some of these Plymouth street rods.

Production did not  begin for the 1934 models until late December 1933.

1934 plymouth

Another front view of the 34 Plymouth Coupe

1934 Plymouth Coupe Specifications

The 1934 Plymouth was built with a 201 cubic inch six-cylinder engine which originally came out a year before in 1933. This engine was mounted in Plymouth's well known "Floating Power" rubber engine mountings.

Transmission was a 3-speed manual. Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

See these additional AutoMuseumOnline cars on the links below...

The 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook 4 Door Sedan

The 1939 Plymouth Coupe

Location of VIN Plates and Stamps on Vintage Vehicles

1937 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine


34 plymouth coupe photos

Round styling on the 34 Plymouth Coupe

The Plymouth Coupe had a curb weight of 2,660 lbs.

Plymouth new car pricing for the 1934 models ranged from $485 to $700. The highest priced models were the PE Town Sedan and Convertible. The price range for these automobiles clearly shows the effect of the Great Depression. The year 1934 would have been in the depths of the depression. The 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe sold new for $595. Total 1934 production for that model was 28,400.

1934 Plymouth Business Coupe Collector Cars

Any automobile from this era is a good collector car. The 1934 Plymouth Business Coupe fully restored and in mint showroom condition will have asking prices, as of this writing, in the high $20,000 range to the $40,000 range. We also see a fully restored 1934 Coupe with an asking price of over $50,000. There are also plenty of street rods for sale that also have prices into the $20,000 range.

Reference material and excellent books on this subject include...American Auto Legends by Michael Furman and Tracy Powell....and Art of the Classic Car by Peter Harholdt and Peter Bodensteiner.

(Article and photos copyright AutoMuseumOnline)