A 1949 Chevy Suburban that was Built to Deliver

Roots Run Deep

Ask your parents about your family ancestry and it’s probably as scatterbrained as a dismantled project car. From country to country, city to city, most of our ancestral roots can be found all throughout the globe, but this isn’t the case for Tommy Garcia—a man whose family roots have remained in Redlands for well over 100 years.

Looking back, his family started off by picking, packing, harvesting, and delivering oranges. As Tommy went into depth about his family lineage you could instantly see an extreme sense of pride; and it’s with good reason. It might also help to mention that our photo shoot was taken at the old train station, making the perfect setting that doubled as a tribute to his family roots and the city he calls home.

An avid lowriding enthusiast, Tommy has been doing the damn thing for decades. He’s had his fair share of Impalas and Regals, but the time finally came when he decided that it was time for him to step into bomb culture. It was there he found his way into a 1949 Suburban that was located out of state. The condition of the body and paint is the same as you see here except the ‘Burban wasn’t driveable; but that was hardly enough to stop him from picking it up.

Once he got it back to California, the front suspension locked up and the vehicle became inoperable. To address the problem, the ‘Burban was put in the hands of Johnson Motorsports who rebuilt the suspension with a Mustang III frontend and a two-link rearend. The frame was C-notched in order to get it to lay on the floor. Once complete, Budget Transmission nestled a T5 five-speed trans along with the mandatory 1.5-inch custom pipe setup. With the suspension, motor, and transmission working properly, Tommy was quick to hit the streets; that’s exactly what his ride was built for. As pretty as it is, many would have quickly left this bold Suburban as a precious trailer queen, but Tommy thinks otherwise. Built to deliver loads of fun, he built this ride to hit the slick city streets, and it delivers just that. It’s a purpose-built vehicle that was built to drive while also acting as a canvas of the pride he retains in not only his family but the city he loves.

1949 Chevrolet Suburban Thrift Master

Vehicle Nickname

El Jefe ’49


Tommy Garcia


Highland, CA




216ci with a split manifold and Fenton headers


Axalta tan and beige paint


AccuAir airbag setup with ViAir compressors


Tweet interior in two-tone beige


Pionner stereo and midrange speakers


16-inch Artillerys with Coker 550/16 tires