The Chevrolet Suburban is one of General Motors’ most enduring triumphs — the longest-running nameplate in automotive history, to use the industry jargon, and the original SUV. In production since 1935, it’s grown from an all-American family vehicle, perfect for loading up the kids and heading out into the country, into an 18-foot-long status symbol for VIPs — including titans of finance, A-list celebrities, politicians and the occasional drug lord. It’s even the first vehicle to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. While the Suburban used to be about suburbia, it isn’t anymore. In this episode, we talk with Angie Schmitt, a journalist working on a book about the pedestrian safety crisis in the United States, about how the Suburban’s rise foretold the modern SUV boom, and just how dangerous these land sharks can be.
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Angie Schmitt is on Twitter @schmangee.
Keith Bradsher’s book about the deadly rise of the SUV: High and Mighty.
The dangerous blindspots in front of big SUVs. (The Verge)
A comprehensive roundup of the Suburban’s appearances in film and TV. (Internet Movie Cars Database)
The Suburban gets a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (NBC)
Pictures of the Suburban in its earlier incarnations. (Popular Mechanics)
An homage to the power of the Suburban brand. (Up to Speed)
A social history of the Chevy Suburban. (Car and Driver)
Join The War on Cars crew for two live events this spring!
– A live recording in Denver for Bicycle Colorado’s Moving People Forward conference on February 10.
– And another in Washington, D.C., at the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit, March 16.
This episode was edited by Matt Cutler and recorded at the Brooklyn Podcasting Studio.
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