1972 Chevy Suburban / Photos, Specs, Styling Details, Model History

Featured is a great example of a 1972 Chevrolet Suburban. The Chevrolet Suburban  was introduced starting in 1935 and has to date covered twelve generations. The Suburban is one of the longest model names in American automotive history. The Chevy Suburban was built as a truck based wagon.

1972 chevy suburban
1972 Chevy Suburban

The First Chevy Suburbans

Like many vehicles, their creation filled a specific need. In the case of the Chevy Suburban the need was for a heavier-duty, truck based wagon. Prior to the Suburban’s introduction most automakers built car based wagons for professional use. One such model was referred to as the Depot Hack. The Depot Hack was an open air vehicle with rear seating. These vehicles fit the need for transporting railroad or ferry boat passengers between the station or dock and nearby hotels. There were also enclosed vehicles usually without rear seats that carried cargo. These were called Sedan Deliveries.

The first Suburban in 1935 was named the Chevrolet Suburban Carryall. The Chevy Suburban Carryall was produced with an all steel body mounted on a commercial chassis. While car based commercial vehicles were still in production, the heavy duty commercial chassis caught the favor of many commercial customers.

Sales were relatively limited for these new Suburbans but they were good enough for GM to keep the model in the lineup after the Second World War and into the Advance Design and Task Force eras. Sales kept increasing through the 1950’s and through the 60’s. It was the late 60’s beginning in 1967 with the sixth generation where mechanical and styling changes took place enabled the Chevy Suburban to achieve record sales numbers.

chevy c10 1972

1972 Suburban Styling

The 1972 Chevrolet Suburban had only three side doors. There was no rear door on the driver’s side and doors or a tailgate.were available on the rear. This (1972) was the final year for the three door design.

The 1972 Chevrolet Suburban was part of the sixth generation. The 1967-72 Chevrolet Suburban was a dividing line between trucks that drove more like farm vehicles and those that could hold their own against passenger cars.

Chevrolet Suburban sales figures grew significantly from about 6,200 units in 1967 to more than 27,000 units in 1972. Suburbs ordered with four wheel drive also increased significantly during those years as well. As a comparison, for the 1967 model year only 166 half ton models and 120 three quarter tons were built with four-wheel drive. When 1972 came around 3,000 half tons and almost 1,400 three quarter ton models were four wheel drive.

As mentioned, the 1972 Suburban marked the end of the three door body style that featured a single door on the driver’s side and a pair of doors on the passenger side. This sixth generation of Suburbans saw the introduction of a longer, 127 inch wheelbase. This increased its cargo hauling ability and increased its towing capacity. Of further significance it was the sixth generation that came out with the heavy duty three quarter-ton chassis.

Standard equipment included front disc brakes (introduced in 1971), while power steering and power interior accessories were optional. A straight-six engine was standard, while several small-blocks and a big-block V-8 were available. A dual-cylinder brake system, energy-absorbing steering column, padded dash, and a thicker laminated safety glass windshield also made their debuts on the 1967-’72 trucks and Suburbans.

On two-wheel-drive models, Suburbans used GM’s “Girder Beam” front suspension, which boasted a thick, girder-like crossmember tying together a typical coil spring arrangement with upper and lower control arms. In the rear, two-wheel-drive Suburbans rode on two-stage coil springs attached to beefy trailing arms. For extra support when trailering or hauling heavy loads, single tapered-leaf auxiliary springs could be added. Four-wheel-drive models used leaf-spring suspension front and rear.

Suburbans were available in standard and Custom Deluxe trim. Two-tone paint was also available on Suburbans.

72 chevy suburban

1972 Chevy Suburban Specifications

The 1972 Suburban was built with several engine options. These included the standard 250 cubic inch straight six. a 307 (base V-8) and 350 cubic inch small block V-8 and a 400 cubic inch V-8. These last two V-8’s were optional.

Available transmissions included a three speed manual, four speed manual, a three speed Powerglide and a Turbo-Hydramatic.

Wheelbase is 127.0 inches, width 78.75 inches, and overall length 215.5 inches. Weight is 3,860 lbs.

Brakes are front discs and rear drums.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are on the links below..

1949 GMC Suburban

1950 Willys Station Wagon

Reference material for this article includes..Chevrolet Trucks : 100 Years of Building the Future by Larry Edsel…Station Wagons by Byron Olsen…Station Wagon by Ron Kowalke.

chevy suburban

1972 Chevy Suburban Collector Car

The Chevrolet Suburban served as both a family transportation vehicle as well as a great work companion. The early Suburbans were in many ways panel trucks with passenger side windows.

The sixth generation of the Chevy Suburban of which the 1972 model is a part of represented a milestone. This was the generation (67-72) where the Suburban saw great sales gains.

The sixth generation Chevy Suburbans represented the start of when these large vehicles began handling and riding more like passenger cars rather than trucks. The years were also when the recreational vehicle market  grew substantially. It was said that the ride was smoother and was more comfortable.

Auction sales on 1972 Chevrolet Surbans in excellent condition, restored and mostly original fall in a general price range from about $40,000 to $70,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)