1952 Chevy Suburban
1952 Chevy Suburban
Christopher Johnson of Rusty Nut Garage builds some really cool stuff. He specifically goes out into the backroads and side yards to find neglected but still salvageable vehicles to bring back to life. He transports these glorious rusting and patina’d hulks of automotive history back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and gets to work.
After alerting anyone who would listen to get their feelers out about Christopher’s interest in building a Suburban, one of his buddies alerted him to this running and driving ’52 that was still wheezing its way around rural Georgia. The ‘Burb was originally from North Carolina and had decayed into its current state before ending its all-stock run in Georgia. Christopher did not blink at the prospect of an 8-hour trip to Georgia and loaded up the trailer immediately to scoop this up, bring it back home and start the transformation.
Change Coming from Inside
Christopher decided that nature had done a pretty good job decorating the exterior and was of course going to leave it that way. But the interior needed a complete overhaul and he decided to go with some TMI components. He chose a Pro-Series Sport R 55-bench in Distresses Brown and Plaid Inserts with tan stitching.
To keep the patina theme true Christopher only upgraded what needed to be inside the Chevy and with the seating handled, he added a set of Dakota Digital RTX gauges, tunes blast out Rockford Fosgate 8-inch speakers in the front and 6.75s in the rear, he changed the windshield with help from Auto City, Forever Sharp had a steering wheel that caught his eye, and the Lokar shifter just capped things off.
The other area that received a lot of attention was under the hood. The original inline 6 was immediately yanked out and a ’07 LS3 was on the docket for a swap. Before the new powerplant could be added, Christopher added some LS Fab firewall filler panels and made sure of longevity and performance with new gaskets, valve seals and springs, a custom spec camshaft from Pat G at Texas Speed in Georgetown, Texas, a set of Flowtech Shorty headers, a Black Widow stainless steel exhaust system, all teamed up with a TCI 6X transmission with 2200 stall speed.
Being a fan of the lowered world of vehicle building, Christopher knew that he wanted his ’52 to sit way low to the ground and set to work on it. To get the Burb right down to the ground he had to swap out the frame to an S10 chassis and use that frame geometry to get it low. New Factory replacement s10 Upper and lower control arms aided in the altitude adjustment, with Slam Specialties RE7 Bags, 3/8 line ran into the AccuAir e-Level VX-4 management, five-gallon seamless brushed aluminum tank, dual Viair 485 compressors, and AccuAir e-Level touchpad controls. An eight-inch frame notch was cut in, while an Ekstensive Metal Works two link completes the rear.
Nature had taken care of the paint but rumor has it was Spring Green or when it rolled off the line from the Van Nuys Assembly plant in Southern California. Christopher only really had to weld up a patch panel in the roof to fill a hole that the former owner had cut for an A/C unit. Rumor has it there that the former owner had taken residence in the Chevy and used it as a really tiny home. Beyond that, the ’52 sits in all its unrestored glory wearing all of its dents, rust, factory running boards, running lights on the bumper, and those period-correct rearview mirrors. Some people look at patina as just being another fad, but the real appreciation comes from realizing that these vehicles lived a hard life oftentimes as workhorses that served a purpose. Leaving them sweaty and crusty and rusty is just honoring the life experience that vehicle gained.
Wheels and Brakes Headline
To complete the stance, the ‘Burb rides around on 20-inch Esajian Slingshot Wheels with a polished lip and face with brushed centers, 245/35/20 Lexani tires. Christopher got into contact with Esajian wheels through Instagram and moved the conversation to the phone to hammer out the details. He could accommodate exactly what the Chevy needed for at a great price point. Although Esajian is a smaller business, they can produce custom wheels to the exact customer specifications by being able to focus on one customer at a time. To give some stopping power, a set of Speedway Motors oversized S10 brake calipers with Little Shop MFG rear disc brake conversion and drilled/slotted rotors were installed front and rear.