01 July 2014 Update
1961 Chevy Apache 20
From Jerry :
Here's an update for our Apache that we got in 2010 ... we are all finished and driving the truck on a regular basis.
I have rebuilt the engine, overhauled the transmission and had body and paint work done. We lettered in our Company livery and I drive her when I can!
We did the front end of the upper and lower ball joints. I got some help from a local shop because that was beyond my ability. We did all the brakes -- all wheel cylinders, master cylinder, all the brake lines. I got some help with that, too. We did all the bearings.
We got a truck bed from Mar-K and my son, Reed (just graduated from high school), and I put that on together. Reed gets to drive the truck once in a while.
We had the exhaust done by a little exhaust shop nearby and we put Smitty Mufflers on it -- it has a great sound.
I found 8 lug wheels and hubcaps at a junk yard that came off a 70's era truck. We powder-coated them to match up with the truck.
We needed to rebuild the engine and I took it as far as I could. Then we hauled it to City Motors in Dallas and they did a a stock overhaul for the engine. I re-assembled it, much to the chagrin of my wife -- it took 10 months! When I was done, every single gasket leaked -- I am such a rookie.
We replaced the radiator and carburetor. We got all the lights and electricals working. I re-wired it myself and that was mostly hit - and - miss; or guess and check.
I had the steering box done by Blue Top out of Michigan and they were cheaper than a replacement. I had gotten that name off Stovebolt.
It's only got one seat, of course, and we have it recovered with vinyl. There is a shop up the street -- Mr. Bell's place -- and he did the covers. It's not the original seat cover but it looks pretty good.
We painted the inside of the cab - some but not all of it. I didn't have a paint booth set up so I disassembled the truck and took the pieces off to a place down the street from me. All American has been working on our company trucks so they gave my truck a "20-footer paint job." It looks great from 20 feet!
The truck was originally all white and we chose the gray and white paint scheme to go with our company colors. I searched around to see what our truck would have looked like "back in the day" (well "BEFORE the day" since our company is only 23 years old!) and this is what I came up with (check his pictures on his website ... it really looks great -- 20 feet or not! ~ Editor). I lettered it with our company logo. I really wanted to have a 60's era truck. Even for the company lettering, we found the old exchange for the phone: "WY-5".
On the right side of the truck, I have a correct State of Texas 1961 inspection sticker. I bought if from a guy a while back. It's just one of those neat little things that make the truck special and you feel like you're in a time-machine.
We installed a new windshield from Deep Ellum Glass in Dallas -- they specialize in curved glass.
I added a rear bumper to the truck that was not stock but everything else is original.
I've been on a shoestring budget and it came out pretty good for a driver, done on the cheap.
I learned to drive on a 1961 that was my Grandpa's. He was a plumber and this restored truck smells just like it did when I was 12, sitting in Grandpa's truck. Having this truck triggers so many great memories with Grandpa, who was my favorite guy in the whole world. It is so much fun to take it out and take my kids along.
We don't really use the truck for the business. It mostly stays in our warehouse. It's a "retired worker" so we are taking it easy with her. Other than our family joy rides, we do plan on bringing her out for a few company-sponsored events ... she can haul food and tables. Light duty!
I was the mechanic on this restoration and it was the first truck I have ever done. (I had some old cars I tinkered with in the past but never got to the end.) It was so much fun -- it won't be my last truck. I am a real 60-61 guy so I'll be on the lookout for another eyebrow hood truck. It may take a little convincing for the wife.
I lurked on Stovebolt a lot for a long while. It's awfully fun and I continue to read a lot. I learned very much from the members there. Whenever I would post a question, several folks had good information to share with some helpful links.
Every time I take the truck out, someone always stops me with a story to tell about their experience with a similar vintage truck. It's a great way to stay connected with humanity.
If anyone has any questions about the truck or the restoration, please feel free to contact me via the forums.
24 October 2011
From Jerry :
Here is my 1961 Chevy Apache 20 that I bought in Richmond, Texas last year. It was running when purchased, and I drove it home about 50 miles.
The old truck is mostly original and pretty much rust free. It has a 283 V-8, but the original Powerglide automatic was removed and replaced with a TH350.
The truck came with a radio, heater and wipers. The original color was white and came equipped with a standard interior. It still has an oil bath air filter and what looks like the original Rochester carburetor and Delco generator. Suspension upgrades include air bladders in the rear springs.
Since I bought her, I have replaced the upper and lower ball joints, wheel cylinders, pads and turned the drums, master cylinder, rebuilt radiator, new water pump, oil pan gasket replacement, trans filter replacement, new hoses, tune up and cleaned up the engine compartment.
I had the seat recovered and got the fuel and temp gauges working, fixed an electrical short - so now the interior lights work along with the horn. I installed a Mar-K bed and next is body and paint.
Other work included reworking the battery box, and I installed a spin off oil filter. Next on the list I plan to clean up and repaint the outer inner fenders. I forgot how much fun this is.
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