Doug & Nanci Peter’s 1956 Chevrolet Suburban

Customer: Doug and Nanci Peters

Lives in: Oregon

Vehicle: 1956 Chevrolet Suburban

How long have you owned this vehicle?
We purchased it Sept of 2013 so about 9 months.

Where did you get this vehicle?
We were looking for a vintage vehicle to pull a classic 1972 Airstream trailer we owned at the time and started looking at 50’s Pontiac and Chevy station wagons – then I came across a youtube video of a 1958 Chevy Apache Suburban 4×4 Napco – and fell in love with it – but of course it had been sold… so the hunt began to find a 55 thru 59 Suburban which are the body styles we like – not that we don’t like earlier models but these years are our favorite. Any way I found this Suburban advertised in Hemmings but just my luck it was located in Michigan. So off to Michigan I flew for a weekend trip to see if it was as clean as it looked in its photos – The gentleman that restored it, had originally found it in California, it was in need of restoration but it was complete 3rd seat and all – so he and his dad hauled a flat bed trailer out to CA. from MI. picked it up, brought it home to MI. and went to work.

 Well a few years after he completed the stock resto job (sorry to say) he passed away – and his wife after some time felt it was better for the car to go to a new home and that is where I took it over. We had the Suburban shipped to us here in OR. In the mean time wile all that was going on I had been doing some research on Napco and found the “” on the web. Its a group who love – Live – and breath Napco.

It’s a great club and have plenty of education on their web site. So after some reading and chatting with some of the other members I found this great guy Damon in Arizona who converts / restores vintage trucks and panels to Napco using the correct rebuilt parts that he has found over the years. After agreeing on a price to convert our stock suburban we shipped it down to  Damon who did basically a frame down resto / 4×4 Napco conversion, with new Leaf springs, shocks, breaks and break lines. He pulled the 235 straight 6 cylinder engine to remove the automatic trans and install a fresh rebuilt 4 speed manual trans, install a Spicer 23 transfer case with new drive shafts and install the Napco front axle unit along with a custom fab new gas tank, re installed engine with new mounts. Damon also had some original 1950’s 16.5″ wheels which were powder coated and fitted with new vintage style tires. He even install a new carpet kit which aren’t fun being you have to remove seats and cut to fit. Once complete we had it shipped back to us and been loving it ever since. 

What condition was the vehicle in when you got it?
It had been restored but only stock two wheel drive.

What work have you done on this vehicle?
I pulled the original deluxe heater unit out and had the heater control valve service then re install. other than that I basically have been a general contractor – by hiring other people to restore / convert it to Napco 4×4.

Is there any other work that you would like to do?
Yes, I would like to remove the old tube radio and replace it with a reproduction vintage radio. Other than that the burb is complete.

What were the hardest parts to find?
Well they were not hard to find but to figure out were the “clutch head screws” that are in various places thru out the truck – I needed a clutch head screw driver set.

What other vehicles do you own?
My wife’s 1950 Pontiac Silver Streak Catilana (which replaced the Airstream trailer I spoke of eariler.)

What is your next project?
swapping out the radio in the suburban and also I pulled out the gauge cluster from the Pontiac to have the speedometer service, and actually it is at “Speedometer services” in Portland as I write this, being serviced so at least I know how fast I’m going.

Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing a restoration project?
Yes find a vehicle that someone else has done most of – or at least a majority of the restoration work – saves you a lot of time and grief.

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