A Shining Example: 1987 GMC Suburban

Back in the eighties, when a station wagon didn’t quite meet the needs of a large family, there was the Suburban, a truck-based utility vehicle, to the rescue. By the nineties many families were driving them more for status or just the fact they wanted something big and avoided the minivan stigma; as is often said, bigger is better. But have you ever seen a 31-year-old vehicle shine as this one does? This is a 1987 GMC Suburban Sierra Classic 4-wheel drive for sale here on Craigslist in Columbus, Ohio. In the eighties, GMC and Chevrolet both called their big utility vehicle the Suburban, where GMC later changed to Yukon XL.

There is not a lot of information given about this Suburban. While we don’t know if it’s truly a barn find, we know it has the rear barn doors to access the rear cargo area. There’s room for plenty here. The payload was rated at 3,850 pounds for people and cargo. The Suburban, when properly equipped could tow up to 16,000 pounds Gross Combination Weight (that includes the weight of the vehicles and all its contents). It has the available exterior decor package which included the two-tone paint.

The seats seem to be in very good condition. It’s apparent someone was very particular about keeping this vehicle in top condition, and didn’t want any ice cream or sodas spilled on the seats. The Sierra Classic trim included these nicer seats. Since it has front bucket seats with console, it holds 8 passengers, instead of 9 passengers when equipped with the standard front bench seat.

I’m not sure if this is original paint of a repaint, but doesn’t it look fantastic? No engine pictures are provided, but the original engine in this Suburban is either a 5.0 or 5.7 V-8. This Suburban has only been driven 57,000 most likely pampered miles. We don’t normally think of SUV’s as part of the classic car hobby, but this 1987 GMC Suburban would make a great addition as long as you have the garage space.

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  1. doug

    It’s already gone. I bought a similar condition/mileage ’88 last year and love it.

  2. Nate

    This beauty went fast. Does anybody know what the asking price was?

    • Jeff

      I was curious about that, too, as this truck was right in my backyard. I sweep Craigslist almost every day, but missed it.

    • Bill Owens Bill Owens Staff

      Nate, I usually include the price, but must have missed it on this one. If I remember correctly, it was $8,000.

  3. jdjonesdr

    My brother bought one new with a big diesel engine and automatic transmission.
    A great truck, but every time he floored it it would eat the transmission.
    I think he was on his fourth when the dealer told him they wouldn’t keep replacing transmissions because he had a lead foot. LOL
    He learned to drive it without accelerating hard after that.

  4. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking GMC Suburban. I remember the truck-based SUV, like the Suburban. Why they switched to car-based vehicles is beyond me. There are times when you need to have a truck-based family hauler to get around the country. If you have an Airstream trailer to tow behind you, you need something that is designed to tow. If you want to take your family off road, a 4wd Suburban might be what you need.

  5. Matt steele

    My 90 is rusted. Runs great.i still love it.will drive it till it’s dead or I am

  6. Bob C.

    The barn doors are a better choice. The window inside the tailgate models were nothing but trouble.

    • Britt

      I had three Suburbans with tail gates. Each one had over 200,000 miles. I NEVER had any problems with any of the rear windows.
      Referring to a previous post, two of them were diesels. I never had any transmission problems either.
      I suppose that I was just fortunate. 😱

  7. Hoos Hoos Member

    I’ve only driven Suburbans since 1994. I got the first when our 4th child was on the way, and never looked back. It was only a 2WD, and the only one we got new, but it never got stuck in snow, not even the blizzard of 95. The next was an ’03, and the current one is a 16, both 4WD. Great vehicles, never had major mechanical issues with any of them.

  8. juan

    I had a 1994 6.5 turbo diesel, fully loaded, it was the most comfortable and easy on fuel truck I ever had, and I had (and have) Lead Foot! 0 problems, only regular maintenance and I bought it with 325.000 miles on it! May be it was a little too big for Argentina (specially in big cities parking lots )but I really miss it, I´ll never had or find one this nice.

    • Gay Car Nut

      I’d buy a Diesel Suburban if I could get it with a 6.5 litre Detroit Diesel Turbo diesel.

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