Soft life for 1972 GMC Suburban Carryall

Farm Forum

Most GMC Suburbans are purchased to accomplish heavy-duty chores that are beyond the capabilities of most passenger car-based vehicles.

Occasionally, one of these extremely capable Suburbans is ordered dressed up in unlikely apparel. Even more unusual is when such a decked-out Suburban is never put to use doing the work for which it was designed.

Such a scenario began 42 years ago when a 1972 GMC Suburban Carryall was ordered loaded with a plethora of optional equipment. Four decades passed — and with a mere 10,000 miles showing on the odometer — the GMC was taken to an auction in Pennsylvania.

It was there that Daniel Jobe initially became aware of the low-mileage GMC. He had not been looking for a Suburban but the remarkable condition of the vehicle arrested his attention. Even from his computer monitor at home, the GMC appeared to be in outstanding condition; Jobe’s telephone bid to the auction was successful.

“How could I go wrong on a truck with only 10,000 miles?” he reasoned. He then waited in his Washington, D.C. home for word that his acquisition was delivered to a garage in Maryland. At first glance, he was pleased that there were no surprises.

The large 1972 GMC is painted white above the belt line and a dark olive green below. Typical of Suburbans in that era was its three-door configuration featuring two doors for front-seat occupants and just one on the right side for all the passengers in the rear.

In a nod to safety, Jobe reports all three rows of seats in his GMC are now equipped with seat belts. To keep the spacious interior cool there are two air conditioning units. The rear one is suspended from the ceiling above the liftgate.

The powerful 300-horsepower, 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine has no difficulty moving the Suburban, which has a Gross Vehicle Weight of 6,650 pounds. “It drives like a brand new truck,” Jobe reports.

The well-appointed GMC has the optional tinted glass, power steering, power brakes, comfort two-spoke steering wheel, camper exterior mirrors, custom trim bodyside molding, and a front stabilizer bar. Additionally, both bumpers are chrome-plated, unlike so many Suburbans with painted bumpers.

Black carpeting covers the floor of the cavernous GMC while white stamped vinyl offers a contrast on the side panels. The many seats are covered with a plaid material that is remarkably free of any noticeable wear.

The dashboard offers the driver a complete set of instruments and gauges clustered around the 100-mph speedometer. Centrally located in the wide dashboard is a reminder of how things were when the GMC was new: Mounted in the dashboard is a 6.5-inch-wide, super-size ashtray. Jobe was pleased to learn the previous owner had replaced the gasoline tank, as well as the fuel lines.

The gear selector pattern on the Turbo-Hydramatic transmission is from left to right: Park-Reverse-Neutral-Drive-Low 2-Low 1. With its 3.73:1 rear axle, Jobe jokingly says, his GMC could probably climb a tree.

The L78-15×8 white sidewall spare tire may or may not be an original. To be on the safe side, Jobe has replaced all of the tires on the ground. While doing so, he had the steel wheels stripped and repainted the original white color. When the new tires and like-new wheels were mounted on his truck, he completed the task with a set of white “dog dish” hubcaps.

Now that good weather has arrived, the GMC will be taking more trips. Already the odometer is approaching the 11,000-mile mark.

“It’s a fun truck,” Jobe concludes.

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