A’66 BEACH CRUISER WITH ROOM TO ROAM
Getting the OK from your significant other to build a project is, more often than not, a rare occurrence, but actually getting prodded by him or her to go out and buy something to dump tons of money into is like winning the lottery. When Mark Voth’s wife Jana saw an old Suburban cruising down the street one day, she decided that it would be the perfect family ride. Mark, already being quite a truck nut, didn’t even give Jana a chance to reconsider before he began scouring Craigslist for the right deal.
Once he’d brought home a choice ’66 Chevy Suburban, Mark immediately got on the phone with his buddy and partner-in-crime Mike Martens. Together, they hashed out a plan to create a beach-themed cruiser at their home base, Recon Garage. After speaking with Mike about the build, he told us, “We got some ideas together to build a hauler that would suit the family’s lifestyle and have a laidback beach vibe. It’s always easier to build a cool ride when whole family is onboard!”
The result is an ultra-clean SUV that looks better than anything you could drive home off the lot. Although not the wildest build you’ll ever see, it’s probably one of the cleanest. The attention to detail is evident, not a single panel, inside or out, was left untouched.
However, before the pretty stuff was attended to, Mark and Mike had to take care of the chassis. Detail was key, so they took the frame down to bare metal, painted it and set it up with an axle notch and a Porterbuilt Dropmember up front, along with airbags at each corner for an adjustable stance. CPP drop spindles and brakes provide a much-needed safety upgrade. Conjuring up images of classic and iconic mag wheels are 20×8 and 20×10 Foose Nitrous Thrust polished wheels, with Toyo Proxes tires in staggered 45 series sizes providing plenty of grip on or off the sand.
The next move was to add some horsepower, and one of the best ways to do that is to add a fresh engine. The guys had access to a ZZ4 crate 350, so the choice was obvious. With fast-burn heads and some minor tweaks, 400-hp and more than 400-ft-lbs of torque were quickly unleashed, with a Turbo Hydramatic 350 taking charge of spinning the driveshaft, 3.73 gears and Moser axles.
At this point, Mark and Mike could finally start giving the body some attention, but they needed an extra set of competent hands, so they enlisted the help of Gary Dyck. The trio could have just restored the body and still had glorious results, but they had some tricks up their sleeves that we’re sure you’ll appreciate; things such as welded and smoothed hood seams, a 40×80-inch ragtop and rear quarters pie-cut 2.5 inches and angled up to better meet the rear bumper. The rear bumper was also flipped, sectioned and cut to make way for some custom exhaust tips. Yeah, we’re talking that kind of next-level detail. It almost makes the more standard mods, such as the shaved fuel filler door (the filler now sits behind a rear taillight), seem mundane. Of course, if that filler door were still there, it’d stick out like a sore thumb, so let’s be glad they took care of that eyesore.
“The result is an ultra-clean SUV that looks better than anything you could drive home off the lot. Although not the wildest build you’ll ever see, it’s probably one of the cleanest.”
With the Sub now ready for some color, Mike laid down BASF Pine Crest Green, with Cool Vanilla breaking things up in all the right places. Rick at Axe Graphics whipped up some orange and Cool Vanilla pinstripes for just the right amount of accenting before the clear was applied.
While the paintwork was tackled, James and Kristin at Classic Threadz Auto Upholstery were busy working their magic on the truck-full of interior parts they had been handed. The stock seats were stripped down and refoamed, and any and all sheet metal inserts received matching Ultraleather. Once the Suburban was ready to receive its new interior, the Classic Threadz team installed new wool carpet that sets off the custom resin-coated bamboo matting and headliner, which leaves no doubt where the inspiration for this build originated—Polynesian to the max.
“We think you’ll agree that Mark and Mike did a great job of creating the perfect family beach cruiser. We just hope that Mark gets to pry the keys from Jana’s hands every once in a while!”
Since this was to be a cruising machine, Alan Odermat at Recon Garage installed a gamut of easy listening gear, including a Kenwood head unit. JL Audio amps and speakers were expertly hidden from plain view so as to not disrupt the interior’s flow.
We think you’ll agree that Mark and Mike did a great job of creating the perfect family beach cruiser. We just hope that Mark gets to pry the keys from Jana’s hands every once in a while.