The Reason Andy Works Here
When we first contacted Andy to come work for Sport Truck, little did he know that he wasn't coming to work here because he's an awesome art director or that it would be a great place to work on fulfilling his dream of owning a custom ride. In fact, the reality is our art director only works here to pay off his mother's debt. Seems about 10 years ago Mrs. Mock failed to pay for a $10 subscription to Sport Truck magazine. We discovered the discrepancy after an internal investigation as to why our budget is so limited. We wanted to get some killer T-shirts printed up and couldn't find a dime to pay for them until this little gem popped up out of a dusty old file cabinet. We figure that after 10 years of compounded interest over this unpaid debt, Andy needs to work off about 1.2 million dollars.
I saw some pics on the Internet of some guys in Japan who turned some little minivans into replicas of '69-'72 Chevy Suburbans. It blew me away. What a great idea. I don't know what microvans they started with, but I was wondering how much trouble it would be to do something similar over here?
It seems like either the Chevrolet HHR or the Toyota Scion xB would be about as close to the Japanese minis as we can get. What do you think about this idea, and which vehicle do you think has the most potential?
Everyone who likes custom trucks must have forwarded those pictures to their friends. That's how we saw them. We thought they were great. It's a wonder someone hasn't tried something similar in the States already (if you have, please send us some photos).
From what we could gather looking at the photos, it appears that cloning the hood, grille treatment, side trim, and paint styles was the key factor. The grilles looked great in the photos, and we saw both '69-'70 and '71-'72 style grilles. The '71-'72 grille looked the most authentic.
The hoods strongly resembled the real things with the flat front, straight sides that taper to the rear, and center ridge. The headlight bezels looked like the real Chevy items, as did the bumper turn-signal lenses and front side-marker lights.
As for doing something similar, the '04-'06 Scion xB is a boxier base. There wasn't an '07 model, and the restyled '08 xB has a more rounded nose and weird headlights. The Chevy HHR was inspired by the '47-'54 Suburbans, but the nose is very round and the front fenders are much lower than the hood. It would take a considerable amount of bodywork or a complete custom fiberglass nose to give it a '69-'72 C10 look.
The xB has a much more square nose, although the headlights and grille are set back from the bumper/spoiler. The grille, hood, and headlights could be extended to give a flat nose like the C10s. Most of the key C10 parts are available in reproduction form, so they could be purchased and cut down/modified to fit the Scion. The '71-'72 plastic grille wouldn't be too difficult to shrink, but the grille surround could be tough. A front bumper could be cut, welded, and rechromed.
The Japanese trucks didn't use the lower deluxe C10 side molding, although one of them was two-tone where the trim would be on a real Suburban. Those trim pieces are available and could be cut down.
Using a '69-'72 two-tone paint scheme in era-correct colors would do a lot to evoke a classic Suburban. The rear driver-side door handles could be removed, filled, and opened remotely to give that authentic three-door appearance. Of course, the xB would have to be as low as possible.
Turning a Scion xB into a sub Sub would take a fair amount of effort, but the results would be super super.