Barn Find 4×4: 1968 Chevrolet K20 Suburban

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In the early days of motoring, law necessitated a pedestrian waving a red flag in advance of an approaching motor vehicle, so that folks could secure their horses and prepare for the danger approaching. This 1968 Chevrolet K20 Suburban 4×4 in Moline, Illinois comes equipped with two large horns on top, perhaps for similar effect. Risks include jagged rusty metal capable of carving the flesh of those unlucky enough to approach too closely. If you don’t bleed out from the initial contact, tetanus will get you later. Chunks of rusted shrapnel may additionally fall from the vehicle, endangering those with marginal footwear. Still, Suburbans of this vintage provide incredible utility today as they did during the Johnson Era, a time when far fewer were equipped with this truck’s four-wheel-drive. Tepid bidding here on eBay has already surpassed $1000, demonstrating a level of interest far beyond what could have been imagined some years ago. Check out the well-written listing for stories about this one-family Chevy.

If not dry-rotted, those period-correct deep-lugged tires promise amazing traction, especially with four-wheel-drive. The heavy duty rear axle should be displayed without hub caps just as this truck demonstrates. Missing sheet-metal means reduced weight and increased fuel economy! In fact this truck will probably get lighter with every bump it hits. Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the flared fender arches that serve double-duty:  protecting the vehicle’s finish from flying stones and holding together the fragile body panels. Joking aside, it would be cool to see “Old Blue” get a second life. When was the last time you saw a Sixth Generation Suburban with four-wheel-drive?

Suburban or rural residents of the late ’60s and ’70s readily recall this dashboard. Is that a CB radio? It’s the perfect prop to recapture the days when truckers represented quintessential American qualities of freedom and independence. The four-speed manual transmission removes all doubt that this vehicle means business. Four-wheel-drive itself often indicated a business-owned truck during a time when most farmers made due with rear wheel drive and gnarly tires. Under the hood resides the much-respected 292 cid (4.8L) inline six cylinder engine. I recall some farmers chatting at the Warren County Fair truck pull (which featured normal street trucks) about how they’d take a 292 over any V8.

The add-on bumper probably weighs as much as a Prius. You can almost hear the sound of those rear doors closing with authority after you’ve loaded up your tools and your Labrador retriever before heading for home. No need to sully the inside with that dead deer; simply rope it to the hood! Who among you can show this old Chevy some respect and put it back on the road?

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  1. Big_FunMember

    With all the reproduction panels now available, this one will be resurrected. The 292 is a bonus, an odd and powerful conversation piece at any show or cruise night. I have a departed friend that had a ’72, and he had many people what to buy it, even with the right quarter panel popping out the body filler. These are extremely fun and versatile.

    Like 4
    • Big_FunMember

      Hmmm, has this been featured on BF before? Anyway, when my friend purchased the ’72 (see above post) the only way to go was NOS. Then this company came out with panels

      Like 4
      • Charles

        They are difficult to drive.

        Like 0
      • Fireman Dan

        I believe so 🧐

        Like 0
  2. geomechs geomechsMember

    A 3/4 ton 4×4 Burb! Now you’re talking about a real family hauler. This one ticks all the boxes for me, except maybe the rust. The bodywork is going to be a nightmare but the end result would be worth it. If this one found its way to my place it would get the full treatment but would be running the stock 292 when completed. Plenty of power for me. A local guy got one of these then dropped in a Cummins 5.9 diesel complete with NMD plate. Did a pretty good job then promptly rolled it. Good things never last but they’re fun while they do.

    Like 6
  3. KevinLee

    Why does the steering column have noose around it? What’s the purpose of the add on rear bumper? Inquiring minds (well, at least mine) want to know.

    Like 1
    • Capt Willie Whiskers

      The add on bumper is because “working folk” knew how annoying it was when your crew backed into something and then the doors didn’t open.

      Like 1
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      Remove body install Ford Pickup. Lol
      God bless America

      Like 0
      • Paul

        Install Ford pick up…..Not if you want it to run!

        Like 0
  4. edh

    Could be restored but why? They still make these body on frame leviathans, just get one of those and slowly plod around slowing up traffic.

    Like 1
  5. TimM

    The best years were 67-72! Great find it would be a peach all done!!

    Like 1
  6. Willybill

    Anybody ever pull a stock radio out of one of these(67-72)? Geesh the things are massive.

    Like 3
    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      Good luck to whoever gets this.
      God bless America

      Like 0
  7. stillrunners

    Well at least it’s back out of the barn/shed again……maybe he think about dropping the price ?

    Like 1

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