Subtle Elegance – Amadeo Angelo’s 1940 Suburban Claims Goodguys 2022 BASF America’s Most Beautiful Award
The last time car enthusiast Amadeo Angelo teamed up with the crew from Roseville Rod & Custom, they captured the Goodguys 2019 Tanks, Inc. Hot Rod of the Year title with a ’36 Ford coupe. This year, Angelo and Roseville’s Ben York came gunning for a different Meguiar’s Top 12 honor at the 35th RaceDeck West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton. They got what they came for, earning the 2022 BASF America’s Most Beautiful award with this stunning 1940 Suburban.
The subtle and elegant Suburban was in the works at Roseville Rod & Custom for several years before debuting at the 2022 Grand National Roadster Show this past January. It was a strong contender for the coveted Slonaker Award at that event before earning a finalist spot for a different Meguiar’s Top 12 award – the Scott’s Hotrods Truck of the Year Early – at the Goodguys LMC Truck Spring Lone Star Nationals in March. It also earned Roseville Rod & Custom a Chevrolet Performance GM Iron Builder of the Year finalist nod at this spring’s Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals.
Awards and accolades aside, Angelo says his desire to craft a classic custom SUV dates back decades. As he tells it, the Suburban nameplate has deep roots in his personal history. “Chevrolet Suburbans have been my preferred family vehicles throughout my adult life,” Angelo says, which makes sense considering his Montana ranching background. “My personal attachment to the brand led me to envision a very early model and the equipment, technology, and level of detail I would want in one built especially for me. My father’s Suburban experience combined with my own.”
A three-year search for the right project truck produced a dented, rusty example in Colorado, a former DOT vehicle. The build began in late 2016 when Roseville’s Ben York ordered a Roadster Shop chassis outfitted with a four-link rear suspension, 9-inch rearend, and 14-inch Baer brakes. It got rolling on one-off 18×8- and 18×9.5-inch EVOD wheels that evoke the look of steel utility wheels, complete with vintage-style center caps.
The LS3 crate engine also got a vintage-style makeover with custom EVOD valve covers, a one-off intake topped with Autotrend carb-style throttle bodies, and a quartet of classic-looking air cleaners. The appearance is further enhanced with OEM-style paint finishes and details. Custom headers by Roseville Rod & Custom lead to tailor-made exhaust system with Borla mufflers. The engine is backed by a 4L75E transmission controlled by a Lokar shifter with a custom stick.
You could say the 1940 Suburban body has been altered with radical subtlety. It retains a stock shape, but with incredible refinement that includes a 1-inch pancaked roof, custom hood, raised floor, and an amazing degree of nipping, tucking, and massaging to deliver the incredibly straight, precision-gapped result you see. The PPG Ghost Grey finish reinforces the understated quality and is augmented by beautiful chrome by Sherm’s Plating.
There’s more rustic elegance inside, where finely finished African Zebrawood from John Delahunt at Rough and Ready lines the floor and the roof, augmented by custom-built side panels and countless well-considered details and one-off pieces throughout the interior space. Restored gauges by Classic Instruments fill the shapely dash, with Restomod A/C controls and vents mounted in a Deco-style enclosure underneath. The custom seats are covered in Relicate leather, while the Ididit column is topped with a beautiful custom steering wheel.
The 1940 Suburban was part of a diverse Top Five for the America’s Most Beautiful title, a lineup that included Don Richardson’s ’32 Ford roadster, Pat Graham’s ’57 Chevy Cameo pickup, Jesse Lindberg’s ’69 Camaro, and Rich Buckley’s ’55 Mercedes. In the end, the incredible craftsmanship, refinement, and attention to detail of this sophisticated Suburban won out, proving how much respect and admiration you can earn when you employ a high level of exquisite restraint on a custom build.
Photos by John Jackson