Earlier this year, Mike Musto and Elana Scherr set out on a road trip in a 1981 Chevrolet Suburban. The goal: Drive across the country, upgrading the truck along the way to take it from no-frills factory spec to modern daily-driver convenience and reliability. And now we’re ready to share that trip with the first episode of Road to Improvement
Check out the video above, where Mike and Elana meet the large Chevy, affectionately nicknamed Big Green, and take it for a shakedown run and initial inspection before an overnight drive that takes them into episode two. Things don’t go quite as planned, as a small problem arises just before arrival at Wesley Motorsports. It turned out to be a minor snag, and the first stop at Kevin Wesley’s shop to put the Suburban on a lift and give it the once-over proved to be a wise decision.
We won’t go into too many details, so as not to spoil the episode, but once you’re done watching we have some bonus material in the form of the Road to Improvement Extra. In it, your author chats with Mike Musto to get some behind-the-scenes info and revisit just exactly what everyone was thinking when they saw the truck in person for the first time.
When it comes to the unknowns of setting off down the highway in a unproven vehicle, Musto was not worried, despite showing up to pick up Big Green with no tools. On the first trip to the parts store, he assembles his standard emergency kit: Several spare parts, oil, coolant, hoses, and belts. Not that the Suburban needed it. Musto says everything felt good on the initial run. The only problem was that, with little more than a speedometer on the instrument panel, they had no idea how fast the engine was turning – and remember, in 1981, steady cruising at 70 mph was not the norm for a big wagon like this.