TV Star Hauler: 1961 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall

It is often easy to imagine that some odd or strange vehicles have lived a colorful life. This 1961 Suburban Carryall carried actors to and from the “Ponderosa” for the television show “Bonanza”.  After undergoing a restoration in 2001, this Suburban has spent its time indoors in a personal collection. All of this Chevy, and its history, can be yours for $38,000. Find it here on craigslist out of Cornelius, Oregon.

The custom coachwork on this Suburban was performed by Stageway Coaches. They stretched other Chevy platforms, but the Suburban was likely the coolest of the bunch. These Suburban Carryalls were built as airport limousines, having 1 door on the driver side, and 4 doors on the passenger side. Capable of hauling 18 passengers and their luggage, this Suburban is no joke. Granted, the luggage had to be mounted to the lengthy roof rack, but the roof rack was clever in a couple of ways. It grants the maximum capacity of 18 passengers, and it also acts as a cantilever, adding strength and rigidity to the midsection of this extended suburban.

Having undergone a restoration in 2001, this Chevy is very clean. There are photographs linking this trucks past to the TV show, and some of its other past history. Although the seller clearly asks to inquire for further information, and history on this vehicle. Despite being powered by an SBC, this Carryall likely struggles to move when loaded to full capacity. Packing a manual transmission, power breaks, and power steering, I think this Suburban would be a unique driving experience for sure. Would you visit the “Ponderosa” in this Carryall?

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Comments

  1. Bingo

    I’m a huge fan of power breaks.

    Like 1
    • Trickie Dickie Member

      I LOVE power naps……………..yawn

  2. Jay M

    Power BRAKES are nice, too.

  3. Al

    Powder Bakes are fine as well

  4. mark

    Check out “other ads by this user”- he has 37 more classics listed!

  5. House of Hotrods

    If it had too much power, it might break. Sometimes power breaks aren’t so good…..:-(

  6. Troy McCutcheon

    What a perfect limo to usher guests throughout Temecula Wine Country. I promise you this,you won’t see another one running around.

  7. House of Hotrods

    If it had too much power, it might break. Sometimes power breaks aren’t so good….and – with a manual transmission – pretty hard to power brake! :-(

  8. Dave Member

    I like power naps nearly as much as power breaks! Or would they be the same?….cool rig for sure.

  9. kman

    So, is it a v8 or 6 cylinder? It “breaks” me up when sellers don’t know what they are doing.

    • House of Hotrods

      Braking up (or down) is hard to do…..

    • Bear

      It says, “SBC”, so you can assume it is a small block Chevy V8.
      …probably a 327cu-in, or 350cu-in, or maybe even a 400cu-in. (…but most likely a 350.)

  10. Daniel Wright

    The set for the ranch became a theme park for many years..One of the attractions was Hoss’s Mystery Mine.

  11. bill

    Don’t go to fast over a bump or the frame might break…or is that brake?
    ugh my head hurts

    • Stiffler4444

      “Too” much judgement bill.

  12. Blindmarc

    Isn’t a power break like beer thirty?

  13. fordfan

    Give him a break!

  14. JW

    I could picture Hoss riding shotgun in this.

  15. Howard A Member

    Even though, Bonanza was huge, probably THE most watched TV series in the 60’s,,,,,meh. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Bonanza ( I think Hoss, Dan Blocker, died on the set), I think this is kind of a hoaky claim. ( unless Hoss rode in it his last day) I’d almost think you’d need a SBC to power the mombo A/C unit on the roof. ( I think that’s what that is) I’m not sure what you’d do with this, except maybe a vintage bus at an attraction. Heck, I could buy 3 Kawasaki 4 place Mules for this, hey Dave? :)

    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Hi Howard. I think Dan Blocker died from a complication during a routine surgery procedure. I liked Bonanza too. Ditto on the SBC to run the A/C. I definitely agree with deciding what to do with it. Back when I was a kid and there were some highly productive families in my region, I’m sure that one of these would have accommodated all 12 kids without a problem. Back then the only choice was the station wagon with three seats, the third facing backwards….

  16. Coventrycat

    I think vehicles like this are neat, but a connection to a 60’s show will probably have no meaning to the person buying it, most likely because they weren’t born yet. Unless it was Batman, The Munsters, or The Monkees – everybody knows them.

  17. G.P. Member

    They have 37 for sale at more then 1.3 million and already sold 77 and more to sell. WOW

  18. Rock On Member

    Can picture Little Joe banging through the gears on this one!

  19. Jay E.

    Be a pretty neat “Weed and Wine” tour bus (I understand these are in operation now) here in Oregon too.

  20. M/K

    Didn’t Dan Blocker (hoss) have the first z16 chevelle. And the the only convertible z16? He was a car guy for sure.

    • Brakeservo

      Dan Blocker partnered with Bill Campbell of Campbell Boats on a Genie sports racer. It was driven by a friend’s father Ron LaPeer. I lost contact with his son nearly 47 or 48 years ago. Jimmie LaPeer, are you out there?

      • Janice Ann

        Jimmy is alive and well in Northern California, though Ron died in 1969 in a racing accident. How did you know Ron and Jimmy?

        source; I’m Jimmy’s sister and Ron’s stepdaughter.

        Janiceannford@yahoo.com

  21. Woodie Man

    Leaving aside the neatness of the Stageway conversions, something about the included history of this particular vehicle is confusing. In one of the explanations of the vehicle it is named a 1960 and was formerly used in Lake Tahoe and by the Paiute Indians. What?

    Then where did the Bonanza cast came in? Besides which it was once painted tan? Seats are wrong too.

    Dont mean to be a Mr. Know It All just confused. Maybe one of the brighter BF’ers can straighten me out.

  22. Woodie Man

    On another sort of related subject, see the ’57 Skyliner in other ads by seller? I wonder if the BF’ers Skyliner that you are carrying could be brought up to snuff for 25 K the Ask on this Skyliner?

  23. Bill McCoskey

    I’ve had 6 Stageway vehicles, from a ’48 Ford 6 door sedan [lots of wood body parts to create the extra body stretch], to a mid ’70s Chrysler Town & Country 8 door wagon, a ’64 Pontiac 8 door sedan, and a 71 Ford 6 door wagon, ’53 Pontiac 6 door wagon, and a ’50 Chrysler Windsor 6 door sedan.

    I can say with certainty that the roof rack is not needed to add additional strength, It’s simply 2 long pieces of 2×6 tapered at each end, and attached with small wooden 2×2 cross pieces, using sheet metal screws. They then put mahogany 1/2 x 2″ strips down the center, attached to the cross braces.

    The reasons for the roof racks was first, to give added luggage space, and second, it meant they could charge extra $ for the rack, and at the same time they didn’t finish off the welds on the roof panel where additional panels were welded in. When my roof rack was removed on the ’71 ford, it revealed a very warped roof panel with multiple exposed welding seams!

    I knew one of the guys who ran the shop at Stageway, and he said the only vehicles he didn’t offer additional left side doors on was the early Suburbans, because since the original Suburbans didn’t have a left rear door, there were no rear door hings for the left side! [The front hinges are different.] Once GM offered the 4th door, Stageway made them available with all 8 doors.

    And one more correction: Chevrolet NEVER sent cars or trucks to Stageway “on spec” to have vehicles built. None of the manufacturers did. Customers who wanted a Stageway vehicle arranged with either the selling dealer, or directly with Stageway to have the vehicle built. A vehicle owner could even take a used vehicle to Stageway in Ft. Smith Ark, and they would stretch it.

    Stageway stretches were so overbuilt, even with 4 people crowding the 5 rows of seats, & a full load of luggage, my 8 door cars never sagged, all the doors opened & closed without binding.

    Don’t ask me about making an emergency stop at 60mph . . . . scary!

    Note that there is no mention of Air Conditioning, I suspect that big unit on the roof is nothing more than a “swamp cooler”. Remember, this car was in use in the arid desert. And one of the older pics shows a large ice cooler next to it.

  24. Cubs win

    Wtf is a stamp cooler?

    • Bear

      swamp cooler

  25. Rustytech Member

    That looks more interesting than any stretch Hummer I have ever seen!

  26. Brakeservo

    The TV connection seems spurious at best and illogical when you think about it. Most filming was done on a sound stage, probably in Burbank or L.A. Looking at the sellers other listings – it’s all fantasy pricing in the real world. Until they provide a well stocked bar for buyers like Barrett-Jackson does, no one will be impaired enough to buy!

  27. Black Cat

    “The Ponderosa” is at Lake Tahoe, and was used for location filming, I believe. ‘Remember visiting the “ranch” as a kid. So, the Tahoe connection makes sense. Livery and commercial vehicles aren’t in my wheelhouse, so I’ve no idea about the value add for it’s celebrity status. If not for the expected fuel economy, I’d be thinking this an opportunity to get started in a big way with with Uber or Lyft!

  28. Doug Towsley

    I dont doubt the TV connection, It probably made the rounds after the TV show sold it and no lack of other businesses would use such a vehicle. I agree about the Wine tours, Or brewerys or weed. We have a ton of such attractions here in Oregon and just picked up a brochure for Roseburg Oregon and was shocked at how many wineries there are now.
    Last visited Reno/Tahoe area about 15 years ago. There was signs about the Ponderosa set and saw brochures advertising it. It looked like fun. We tried to go visit it and we got there a 1/2 hour after it closed. Was bummed. They even had a resturant and themed food and “Hop Sings flapjacks” which is probably what killed Hoss. According to this Wiki site they estimated they sold over 3 million Hoss Burgers. The theme park i still there but closed in 2004 and some say it may reopen someday. According to wiki they always had strong sales and visitors #s. So could reopen successfully.
    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponderosa_Ranch

  29. Doug Towsley

    I knew this sounded familiar, I have been invited to show vehicles at their show. Thats a local very wealthy collector, They are legit. I once heard their story but forget the details but I think they owned some local businesses or farms. They did put on local events and I regret missing last years. It looks like they are not doing them anymore. But they are one of several families here in the Pacific NW with large collections. Not far from there is another collector with his own collection and he is a big supporter of our museum. His primary business is manuf. Medical equip and my wifes work does some of their sublets. His collection is amazing. Up in Seattle the LeMay family is responsible for a huge museum in Tacoma but their primary collection is insane. At one time the owner tried to collect every variant and color of each car he collected. There is some friction now between the main museum and the family collection but well worth visiting either collection.
    But I live not far from this collection and have seen some of these vehicles. Totally legit deal.

    • Brakeservo

      If you’re responding to me, I never questioned their legitimacy, just the sanity of their asking prices. You are right about the LeMay and Ken Austin’s collections. And there’s quite a few more in Oregon too

  30. Tim W

    Glad someone mentioned the Z-16 Hoss owned. I don’t remember it being a ragtop, but I am getting older! Sold my ’65 Chevelle SS SB car to a guy that raced a Z-16 in Super Stock NHRA. He wanted one he could back-half. That was the one for me that got away. :(

  31. David Montanbeau

    Here is a 1947 Desoto with a Million plus miles that were used to haul the stars between Sonora CA to Hollywood on the weekends. 1947 till 1975. The car is used in local parades.

  32. David Montanbeau

    List of stars that was chauffeured in the car.

  33. Doug Towsley

    Thats a cool story, especially the part about Michael Landon personally washing the car.

  34. Brakeservo

    To JaniceannFord – Thank you for your post – I did email you last weekend, but perhaps it got lost. As kids, Jimmie and I went to some of the same schools in Burbank and we lived just a few blocks apart – I’m sure he helped me put together my first “Bugeye” Sprite, assembled with discarded, worn-out and abandoned pieces. I probably met him the first time at Dave Elrod’s place as he worked on his Sprite racecar. I met Ron, your mother and probably you too. I forget whether the house was on Keystone or Lamer, it’s been so many years. In case you didn’t get my email, my address is bentleyguy@hotmail.com or 353199@gmail.com. Thanks again, -George Giese-

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