A new, streamlined exterior styling for the Chevrolet Suburban was introduced in 1937, although otherwise the car stayed the same. Power came from Chevrolet’s durable inline-six engine that was affectionately known as the Stovebolt engine. The Stovebolt displaced 207 cubic inches (3.4L) and produced 79 horsepower. In 1940 the Suburban was fitted with sealed beam headlights, which offered significantly improved visibility when driving at night. During the Second World War the auto industry was mostly converted into war production and virtually no cars or light-duty trucks were produced for civilian use between early 1942 and late 1945.
The idea for the Suburban was born out of a need for a heavier-duty, truck-based wagon. Through the early 1930s, most manufacturers offered car-based wagons for professional use. Open models with windows and rear seating were known as depot hacks, and were used to ferry passengers and their cargo around train stations and boat docks. Enclosed models, typically without rear seats, were known as sedan deliveries. Bodywork for these early vehicles often consisted of wood sides and canvas tops; and while they were versatile, their car-based chassis and damage-prone bodies were compromises. Chevrolet began experimenting with an all-steel wagon body mounted on a commercial chassis in the mid-1930s, and the Suburban Carryall was launched in 1935.