Leslie Moore’s Slick Suburban Hides a Surprise Underhood
By Tommy Lee Byrd – Photography by the Author
When Chevrolet introduced the Suburban nearly 90 years ago, the design team and executives could’ve never imagined the brand it would build throughout a dozen design generations from 1935 to present day. The concept of a station wagon–style body on a light truck chassis was well ahead of its time, but it remained a small percentage of truck production for many years. By the ’60s, the Suburban was hitting its stride, as families began relying on these spacious vehicles to haul all of them around. The example on these pages is far removed from its original utilitarian roots, but it offers a great combination of stance, color, and horsepower to create a practical and aesthetically pleasing package.
Leslie Moore of Bernie, Missouri, is no stranger to Chevy Suburbans. He’s owned a few and loves the room for passengers and cargo. He especially loves the looks of these ’64-66 Suburbans because of the body design and cool roofline. Leslie spotted this one for sale and jumped at the chance to buy it. The truck was complete and ready to go, a turnkey piece that checked all the boxes for Leslie. He learned a lot about the truck’s builder, Pro Performance in Mesa, Arizona, and enjoyed every detail that was so thoughtfully implemented during the three-year build.
The guys at Pro Performance started with a rust-free Suburban body and chassis, a true survivor thanks to the dry climate in the desert. The frame features a host of high-end components, including Ridetech tubular control arms, QA1 double-adjustable shocks, and Slam Specialties SS-7 airbags that are operated by an AccuAir e-Level air management system. Dual ViAir 444C compressors keep the system pumped up. The Suburban has Ridetech sway bars front and rear and features a custom rear suspension with a React rear crossmember and trailing arms, as well as a Dead End Garage frame notch and panhard bar. The rearend housing is a narrowed Ford 9-inch from Currie, packed with 3.50:1 gears and Currie axles.
Rolling stock consists of Schott Drift Titanium wheels, which measure 20×8.5 and 20×11, wrapped in Nitto Invo 245/40R20 and 295/35R20 tires, respectively. The 10-spoke design and custom center coating offers the Pro Touring look, while the hidden lug nuts add another custom touch. Behind the split spokes is a set of 14-inch Baer drilled-and-slotted rotors, clamped by six-piston calipers. The braking system is fed by a boosted Baer Remaster 1-1/8-inch master cylinder with stainless hard lines, braided flex hoses, and a Baer proportioning valve.
There is no shortage of horsepower tucked underhood, as Pro Performance set up the Suburban with a force-fed 6.0L LS engine. The rotating assembly is all stock, but the camshaft and valvetrain has been upgraded to withstand boost pressure from a 76mm Precision turbocharger. Trick turbo exhaust manifolds and custom piping direct air from the engine into the turbo, while fresh air is brought in through a custom airbox. The pressurized air is then fed through an air-to-air intercooler before it enters the Holley Hi-Ram intake manifold. A Holley EFI system dialed in by Greg’s Tuning helps the turbocharged combination crank out 645 hp effortlessly.
The engine bay is sanitary, thanks to custom inner fenders and bead-rolled details on the firewall. All coatings and textures are tasteful throughout. Leslie’s Suburban has a unique exhaust note, thanks to the 4-inch stainless steel exhaust with MagnaFlow muffler. The cooling system features an Entropy aluminum radiator with dual electric fans. A Boyd 31-gallon tank holds plenty of 93-octane pump gas, and Leslie reports highway mileage of 22 mpg thanks to the GM 4L80E overdrive transmission. The automatic transmission features a billet Circle D torque converter that stalls to 3,800 rpm but locks up on the highway for efficient cruising.
Aesthetically, the Suburban has a mostly stock body, but you might notice the addition of truck side moldings. The side trim looks like Chevrolet should’ve designed it this way. Matador Rod and Custom handled the bodywork and paint, laying down the Sikkens base/clear materials in a Light Sage Metallic with a white roof. New original-style bumpers, grille, and other brightwork finish off the body. All new glass provides a clear view into the highly customized interior, which is the handiwork of Dbomb Interiors.
The tan paint on the dash and hard surfaces goes well with the custom-molded carpet and offers an excellent contrast to the brown leather on the Snowden bucket seats. A small console rides between the buckets and features two cup holders, power window switches, and USB ports. Other brown leather details include the shifter boot, door panels, and the half-wrap on the Billet Specialties steering wheel. The dash is modified tastefully to position the Vintage Air controls and AccuAir e-Level system within arm’s reach, while a Dakota Digital HDX cluster provides a clear view of the LS engine’s vital signs. A hidden JBL stereo heat unit sends power to the six speakers in the kick panels and custom rear consoles on either side of the rear bench seat. A one-piece headliner finishes off the custom upholstery.
When Pro Performance completed the Suburban, it was debuted at the SEMA Show and made the rounds at plenty of events out West. Now that it has found a new home in Missouri, Leslie and his wife, Shelly, plan to drive it and enjoy it. Ron’s Motorworks in Leslie’s hometown added a few personal touches when it arrived in Missouri. With a laundry list of high-end components and an awesome overall appearance, Leslie is happy with his fully loaded Suburban.
Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of Fully Loaded.