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"RATIKI"  1965 Chevy Suburban

The Best Laid Plans



With the Burb at the stripper's, I formulated a plan. I'd borrow liberally from Chevy Nomad exteriors and Woody interiors, with a West Coast surf vibe. My goal was to make my Suburban look as if it was driven off a new car lot in '65 and straight into a sixties era custom shop. Suppose George Barris, Gene Winfield, Larry Watson, or Von Dutch had been enlisted to do a mild customization based on the afore mentioned goals. I pulled articles on customs, as well as other trucks and wagons I liked and soon amassed two thick idea albums for inspiration. I dedicated sections specifically to subjects, like the steering wheel page seen below. I pulled all references to Burbs, Nomads, Woodies and station wagons. I also sourced a 1965 Suburban brochure, which showed original color combos, interior patterns, two-tone paint jobs, specs., etc.





A Steve Stanford rendering of a red and white Chevy Cameo truck paint job transposed onto a late fifties Chevy panel truck from a Custom Classic Trucks was an early inspiration. As was an orange and white "Creamsicle" two-toned Suburban rendering from Rod & Custom. With my influences properly digested, my computer savvy co-conspirator, Kevin Peake, was able to render two-tone paint schemes over a photo of my Burb. Examples of which are below, in color.









After looking at numerous color combos, I landed on the colors I wanted: Apple Green, White, and Silver.  It wasn't Kevin's favorite choice. Nor my wife's. But I dug it. The sample renderings by Kevin Peake, proved invaluable in helping me arrive at the concept for the final paint job on my truck. 







As you'll see later, the final paint job was derived from what Kevin and I had dreamed up with subsequent assistance from Donny Twomey, my painter for this project. The colors we ended up with were very close to what was indicated on the original photo composites. However, due to budget constraints, we held off on chopping the roof 2", which Peake so tastefully rendered in the photos above.

For the interior, I homed in on late fifties, early sixties style rolls and pleats. But I didn't want the truck to be a total throwback. The trick, in my mind, was to have the Burb look old school but possess modern upgrades such as disc brakes, air bag suspension, power steering, a hydro electric brake booster, aftermarket air conditioning, reclining seats, etc. A comfortable real-world driver. I sketched out the tuck-and-roll treatment I envisioned before getting with the upholsterer.

My final step was to contact artist Brian Stupski at Problem Child Kustoms, who provided beautiful color renderings of everything that Kevin Peak and I had plotted out. I returned to these sketches throughout the build, which really kept the end goal, if not the budget, in check.





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