Deciding on which type of custom truck to build can be just as stressful as shopping for a brand new one. You’ve got to ask yourself all the tough questions and come up with honest answers to make sure that truck is the right one for you. Sure, that’s a good deal of pressure to take on, but if the juice is truly worth the squeeze, there will be much more excitement going into the experience than doubt.
Clay Herron, of Liberty, South Carolina, was faced with this very predicament of selecting a truck to build to replace his old one. The C10 he had was cool and all, but it just didn’t serve him or his family as well as it could have. To be fair, it wasn’t the truck’s fault. Clay and his tribe simply outgrew it. “As a family of four, we needed a fun ride that we could all enjoy and travel to car shows together in”, he says. “My previous truck led to many ‘my turn to ride with daddy’ discussions. The time came for us to finally change things up.”
A friend of Clay’s was in the process of hunting down an old Suburban for himself, and someone had sent him a photo of one that caught Clay’s attention. It wasn’t the Suburban in the forefront of the photo that called out to him; however, it was one hidden in the background. “I wanted something much larger for our family and this truck was perfect”, Clay shares. “A Suburban would be able to seat all four of us comfortably, and there would never be an issue of having to leave anyone behind or ride in separate vehicles.”
Clay was able to get his hands on the 1950 Suburban he spied in that photo, and once he brought it home, he got together with his design team (wife and kids) and a plan of action was put into place. “My kids were the first ones to help me start taking things apart and sanding it down to workable metal”, he says. Clay is no slouch when it comes to working with his hands, either. His older brother helped him work on his truck back in high school, and after that he passed his time building and modifying Jeeps for trail riding, so he has evolved into a pretty solid wrench over the years. Clay now operates under the Twins Speed Shop moniker, so he was able to make good progress on the truck after his hard-working youngsters clock out for the day.
An executive decision was made to retire the Suburban’s 70+-year-old chassis and replace it with a much more agile custom frame from No Limit Engineering. The new chassis features steel 2×8 main rails, a 115-inch wheelbase, a front air ride IFS system, and a 4-link rear. It has also been decked out with a Mustang rack and pinion, Camaro spindles and rear braking components, Wilwood adjustable proportioning valve, Corvette master cylinder and so much more. While this upgrade wasn’t the most cost-effective option, the No Limit chassis really does over deliver with a sturdy and capable foundation that will ensure a smooth glide to anywhere the Herron clan sets their sights on going.
To finish off the premium chassis system just right, Clay began looking at new wheels that would add a modern twist on the Suburban’s classic styling. 18×8 and 18×10 Detroit Steel D-Town wheels stood to be the ideal addition to the truck’s growing lineup of highlights. To complete the timeless look, a set of 245/45/18 and 275/40/18 Diamond Back Classics ST-1 white wall tires were brought in to seal the deal on the truck’s heavily upgraded suspension package.
The next portion of the project was one that Clay was particularity excited about. With the old chassis tossed aside, there was no reason to stick with the old motor either. To replace it, he ordered a brand-new GM LS3 crate engine and a fresh GM GL80 six-speed auto transmission to match – now we know what he was so jazzed about! To get the new mill ready to go, a few additions had to be made, of course. A Holley mid-mount water pump, alternator, and intake manifold were thrown into the shopping cart, as was a 16-inch e-fan, aluminum radiator from Superior, SBC valve covers, and an old school Cadillac air cleaner to help the engine fit in to the Suburban’s style. Speed Engineering headers, aluminized 3-inch exhaust system and a Magnaflow muffler were then assembled to give the LS3 optimum breathing abilities.
With the suspension and new engine in place, Clay finished up what he could with the Suburban’s bodywork before sending it on over to Jason Mode at New Creations and Derrick Dillishaw to see the rest though. Aside from straightening out the original GMC sheet metal, the guys also custom fabricated a one-off roll pan while wrapping up the final prep necessary before paint. The color the guys chose was Midnight Blue from Hot Rod Flatz, which goes well with the curvy ‘Burban silhouette. Custom Twins Speed Shop lettering was added to the barn doors, and strategically placed pinstriping has been peppered throughout the exterior landscape for good measure.
Jason and his crew weren’t finished with Clay’s Suburban just yet. The guys had big plans for the interior, and first started with wrapping the entire dash and panels in camel colored vinyl. Doubling down on the color, the Chevy Cavalier seats were also reupholstered in the same material along with similar color German square weave and plaid fabric. Dakota Digital VHX gauges, Forever Sharp steering wheel, and a complete audio system comprised of a Pioneer AVH-210 receiver and a full load of MB Quart speakers and a 10-inch sub were all added to the equation. To ensure that upcoming summer road trips will be as enjoyable as possible, a Vintage Air A/C system was put into place to keep the everyone cool.
In just about two years of solid progress, Clay’s family cruiser is now complete. “Many talented friends and family have helped out at various points during the build”, he says proudly. “I do have to give a special thank you to Jason Mode of New Creations and Hawks Motorsports for the extra push. This was a project that changed and evolved into what it is today, which really put a strain on our proposed budget, but with some creative financial footwork, we were able to see it through.”
CLAY HERRON ‘50 GMC SUBURBAN
- No Limit Engineering custom chassis
- Front IFS and rear 4-link
- Firestone airbags
- Detroit Truetrac limited slip differential
- Camaro spindles
- Mustang rack and pinion steering
- Camaro 12-inch front brakes, Explorer 8.8 11-inch rear brakes
- Corvette master cylinder
- Factory Suburban 3100 pedal assembly
- Ididit steering column
- Aluminum 18-gallon fuel cell
- 18x8 and 18x10 Detroit Steel D-Town wheels
- 245/45/18 and 275/40/18 Diamond Back Classics ST-1 tires
- 2021 GM LS3 376ci crate engine
- 2021 GM GL80 transmission
- Holley mid-mount water pump, alternator and intake manifold
- 16-inch electric fan
- Superior radiator
- SBC valve covers
- Cadillac air cleaner
- Speed Engineering 1-5/8” headers
- Magnaflow mufflers
- Delmo Speed throttle body adapter
- Billet Specialties valve cover adapters
- Driveshaft by Carolina Driveline
- Hot Rod Flatz Midnight Blue paint
- Grote headlights
- Modified Chevy Cavalier seats
- Vinyl and German square weave upholstery
- Interior panels vinyl wrapped
- Dakota Digital VHX gauges
- Pioneer AVH-210 receiver
- MB Quart speakers, amps and 10-inch sub
- Vintage Air A/C
- Forever Sharp steering wheel