Whenever I hear the word “suburban,” I instantly think about the Chevrolet hauler. And I bet you do, too, for one simple reason. The Chevy Suburban came to be in 1934 and is still in production almost 90 years later (as of 2023). In short, it’s not only a legendary forerunner to the modern SUV, but it’s also the longest-running automobile nameplate in the world.But Chevrolet is not the only carmaker that used this name. The Chrysler Corporation slapped an identical badge to not one but two vehicles. The long-defunct DeSoto brand produced the first one. Introduced in 1946, the DeSoto Suburban was a long-wheel-base four-door sedan capable of carrying eight passengers thanks to factory-installed jump seats. The model was discontinued in 1954.
Then there’s the Plymouth Suburban, which arrived in 1949. Unlike DeSoto, Plymouth used the badge on a station wagon. And I bet you didn’t know that it revolutionized the market as the industry’s first all-steel body grocery-getter. The original series soldiered until 1956, when Plymouth decided to group all its station wagons under a separate series. Specifically, the Suburban line included wagon variants of the Plaza, Savoy, and Belvedere.
This strategy lasted until 1961 when the nameplate was discontinued. Plymouth revived the badge in 1968, but not as a separate series. Instead, it was used to designate a station wagon version in the Fury range. The name went into the history books for good in 1978, when the Fury was retired to make way for the Gran Fury.
What’s with the history lesson, you ask? Well, YouTube’s “Adventures Made From Scratch” just stumbled across one of the rarest and most ridiculous Plymouth Suburbans ever built. And you have to see it because it’s an eight-door behemoth with no fewer than four rows of seats. Is it a factory model? No, coachbuilding companies like Superior Coach and Miller-Meteor handled these elongated, multi-door projects. This Suburban, on the other hand, was manufactured by Armbruster Stageway.
Mainly specializing in funeral vehicles, Armbruster also built limousine versions of various cars and SUVs, including the Chevrolet Suburban, back in the day. But the company’s limos weren’t open inside, providing loads of room and plush seating for two or three people. Armbruster focused on more utilitarian stretch vehicles that could haul as many people as possible. For instance, this eight-door, four-row Mopar can seat up to 12 people. And it was most likely commissioned by a hotel that used it to haul guests to and from the airport.
Sadly, this Plymouth Suburban had a rough life once it was decommissioned. Last on the road in 2000, it spent more than two decades outside, long enough for the floor and the body to end up with rust issues. The interior doesn’t look any better either, with both the headliner and the upholstery ruined by decades of use and neglect.
The stretched wagon is based on the 1969 Fury Suburban, the first year of the fifth-generation full-size. And our host claims it’s powered by a 440-cubic-inch (7.2-liter) V8, which was the Fury’s range-topping mill at the time. It wasn’t quite as powerful as the four-barrel RB offered in the company’s muscle cars in 1969, but it developed a healthy 350 horsepower and 490 pound-feet (664 Nm) of torque when new – enough to haul a fully-loaded limo like this at decent speeds.
Unfortunately, the Suburban is in no shape to hit public roads again. And while our host rescued it from where it’s been sitting for more than 20 years, he doesn’t plan to restore it. Unless someone shows up to take it a give it a new life, the eight-door Mopar will eventually end up in the crusher. If you’re a fan of rare Armbruster Stageway builds, hit the play button below and keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t end up as scrap metal.