1 of 12 Built? 1972 GMC Vista Roof Suburban

Update 4/9/20 – This special Surburban has resurfaced here on craigslist with a lower asking price of $5,100!

From 9/30/19 – This 1972 GMC Suburban sports a unique raised roof design with additional windows installed, acting as skylights. The seller mentions it is one of 12 made for an vague “Edison Company,” which could be a veiled reference to Con Edison, but there’s no obvious supporting evidence in Google to support this. Regardless, it’s a neat truck with a clean body and interior, and it’s listed here on craigslist for $7,500 near Los Angeles.

Featuring the novel three passenger door design (two on the curb side for drop off, one on the left side solely for driver entry), the Suburban looks like your typical-70s design until you factor in the elevated roof portion. A total of three additional windows add plenty of daylight, and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to replace those if one was shattered. The rear features barn-style doors.

I love this shot of the cabin, showing how airy the interior becomes with the additional glass. Usually, when these conversions were completed, the purpose was to act as a tour vehicle, such as for a local zoo or safari company. I’m sure someone with more knowledge than me will instantly recognize this Suburban and its affiliation, so please fill us in below in the comments to clarify its origins.

The interior is surprisingly nice, with some damage to the door panels noted here but the seats appear to be in excellent condition. The three rows of seating further supports the concept of being used as a tour or livery-type vehicle, but whatever its original intent, there can’t be many of them left. It has front and rear A/C, too, so this rare Suburban conversion could be the ultimate road trip vehicle.

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Comments

  1. local_sheriff

    Cool ‘burban almost like a truck Vista Cruiser or Sportwagon however according to its spid lanel I suspect it’s not wearing its original colors. Maybe repainted by the coachbuilder/conversion company?

    I like it but I suspect it’s the kind of vehicle that will have more appeal in the inner circle of Sub/ K5 geeks(like myself) than the general vintage car audience. 2wd Subs of this vintage don’t seem to sell for top $ so this might be an opportunity to buy an affordable yet unique vehicle.

    Further info regarding its use and whereabouts from back in the day would be appreciated!

    Like 6
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    Quite a novelty to have one of these. A 3/4 ton Burb is a rare find as it is. I’m curious if they borrowed the upper glass from an Olds Vista Cruiser. Regardless, you’ll definitely need A-C.

    Like 6
    • Mike

      No disrepect to you intended since I don’t know if you clicked on the CL link or not, however, it does have front AND rear air. I wonder if it has a big block? No matter…I’d buy and restore this WAY before I’d buy the Scout II shown above. This would make one helluva tow vehicle!

      Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        According to its spid label it has a 350 engine

    • Mike

      Sorry, I forgot to add whether the a/c works, which, as I’m sure you know, is doubtful.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        Regarding the A-C, I was stating that this would be an oven to ride in if it did NOT have A-C. That’s one system that I would give top priority to.

        Like 5
  3. DarkWolf

    I’m in love…from a distance of Miami, FL….

  4. Dan

    Not a common vehicle but l have seen five of these. They were all ambulance conversions for small towns in Oregon. No idea who did the conversions, but the gem of the group had 64k on it and sold for $3000.

    Like 6
  5. kirby

    I would imagine they mean Southern California Edison

    Like 4
  6. Ian C

    Not only may it be a real issue finding roof windows, it appears to me as though the rear door are taller as well. Try finding those at your local Pick-n-save!

    Like 6
    • PAULD

      Just checked my 70 Suburban. The rear doors openings are stock as are the barn doors.

      Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      Interesting observation on those rear doors and they do look somehow larger! 👍

      However regular Subs also have barn doors that extend above the profile drip rail. Hard to tell just from the pics; if they are indeed different there’s a chance any ‘taller’ doors were also utilized in raised roof ambulance conversions. That might ease the pursuit for replacements (but not that much considering low prod #s…)

      Like 1
    • Mike

      I don’t know where you’re from, but, here in Northwest Ohio, good luck finding anything over 15 years old at any yard. Sad but true.

      Like 4
  7. Chebby Staff

    This thing is super cool. If it runs great, why not drive it to a scenic photo spot instead of taking pix of it dirty, on even dirtier dirt?

    Like 4
  8. Chebby Staff

    Hmmmm looking at the SPID the truck was dark olive green inside and out. But someone repainted it so thoroughly the paint around the SPID itself is blue too. Who repainted it and either replaced the sticker inside the glovebox or carefully masked around it?

    Like 2
    • Walter

      If in fact this was part of a fleet sale package, it was/is not uncommon to repaint an existing vehicle to match the bid specs. Generally bid specs do not indicate original paint mfg. color.

  9. Mike

    I’d buy and restore this old Burb in a minute if I needed a tow vehicle for pretty much anything (reasonbly sized) that doesn’t require a gooseneck or 5th wheel. I wonder if it has a big block under the hood? Even if it’s small block powered…Damn the gas mileage, full speed ahead! All the way to the race track, camp ground or local lumber yard lol! Oh wait, lumber yard isn’t P C these days, they’re called home improvement centers now. Sorry about that everyone.

    Like 1
  10. PatrickM

    I’m glad so many of you think this is an affordable vehicle. I see a high price tag plus all the work to make it decent. Costs soaring. Besides, it is a gas hog. I had a ’69 GMC ‘burb with a 307. rings went bad. Bought 350 short block, re-installed the old 307 heads and drove it. Was divorced, had three kids, my mother and a dog. Perfect for those days, but not today. I already have one gas hog…looking for something a lot better on fuel. I’ll pass on this one.

    Like 1
  11. djjerme

    Like it. Would debate keeping it stock or dropping something more modern in that huge engine bay..

  12. Claudio

    If anyone wants to enjoy this huge beast it needs to be resto modded!
    Frame, engine , the whole shebang cause you cant drive this for pleasure as it stands unless you own a delivery company and you can slip some gas …

  13. BR

    “A” should be used before words that begin with consonants (e.g., b, c ,d) while “an” should be used before words that begin with vowels (e.g., a,e,i).

    Like 1
    • Claudio

      Est ce tu te plains de ma conjugaison ?
      Are you whining about my writing ?

      Like 1
  14. GAK

    I’ve seen ambulance conversations with type roof

  15. chrlsful

    gramah police ovah heyah?

    I went to the CL and the thing is gone. Wanted to see the head liner.
    Hard 2C but I think it was done by a bigger co. Too nice for an amateur.
    I’ve seen vista cruiser roofs on vans. Not even sure abt that here.

    Big misery for me. I’ll take any1s wrd…
    Cool find Jeff. Lady friend drove the jimmy (I think) of this era when only a coupla yrs old. It made her look tiny. Certainly didn’t have a roof like this one.

    Like 1
  16. j domes

    I think a more appropriate term to the era is “carryall”. The top is rare, where as I think the third row seating is’nt. My dad had a used seventy something Chevy Carryall that was yellow with white seats. A revamped one would be sexy af

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