07 December 2015
1958 Chevrolet 3600 NAPCO 4x4 Apache
The family farm truck that's still in the family
From Milt :
This is my 1958 Chevrolet 3600 NAPCO. The truck was featured as the cover story for the July/August 2015 issue of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) North Carolina Region Headlights magazine.
Winter was particularly bad in 1958 and Dad was using a 1953 Chevrolet two-wheel drive truck on our dairy farm. A good truck, but it just was not the work horse he needed to get through the snow and bad roads, carrying 25 gallon galvanized cans of milk to the processing plant.
So my Dad (Calvin Packard -- we named the truck after him), purchased this 1958 Chevrolet Apache 3600 (3/4-ton), Thriftmaster straight six cylinder engine with NAPCO four wheel drive truck new from Rose Chevrolet in Mansfield, PA.
NAPCO supplied General Motors with four wheel drive conversions until GM brought out their own version many years later. Road conditions would no longer be the problem that they once were for the Packard Farm.
The truck remained in use on the farm in northern Pennsylvania (near the New York state line) through late 1982. It hauled everything: grain, hay, rocks, fertilizer and seed. It was even leased to the township to condition dirt roads with a stone rake. The off-set hitches were left in place on the truck bumper during restoration as a tribute to the work the truck did. Removing the hitches from the bumper just would not be "correct" for this truck nor true to the memory of my Dad.
My sister, brother and I have many fond memories of the truck, including learning how to drive a standard transmission vehicle with it. It was the vehicle that I drove for basic transportation when I was a teenager.
The years rolled by. The farm operation closed down after my parents passed away. The truck sat in disrepair on the farm in Covington, PA. We moved to North Carolina in 2001 and we brought the truck along with us. I had a struggle getting the truck titled in North Carolina because of the differences in the NC title system and Pennsylvania's. By 2014, I finally had a good title for the truck.
When we got the truck here, we kept it tarped and shielded. In 2009, I felt like I was finally at the point in life when I could spend some money and time on the kind of restoration I wanted to do -- back to original as much as possible. So, we started in 2009 and it took five years to get it to where it is now.
The truck was restored in Loomis, Ca, Lugo Parts and Restoration, by NAPCO and Tri-Five expert Omar Lugo. My cousin Don Cowan grew up with the truck and remembered it as a kid on the Packard farm. Don currently lives six miles (Lincoln, Ca) from the shop in Loomis and was able to visit the shop to see the truck as it progressed back into the shape it was in 1958. Kind of strange how the truck ends up being restored near a family member!!!
Some of the truck details:
One thing iffy on the road to original condition: on all the 1958 and 1959 trucks, the motor color depended on where the motor came from. I am 95% sure mine had a gray motor to begin with. The truck had so much abuse by the time I came along to restore it, it was grease covered. There wasn't any paint on it. Dad had repainted it several times. Bob Adler said a lot of things that came out of Willow Run were gray, so I went with that.
This is my first restoration like this. However, I have done other similar things when living at home -- it's the nature of a farm! I would get totaled cars from the junk yard to mess around with. I rebuilt two Mustangs, a Camaro, I fabricated a kind of Frankenstein vehicle, putting pieces from different vehicles together.
This was the first basic full-bolt restoration I have done. It was an education and I enjoyed it. I had to keep telling myself it was a hobby and not get discouraged.
When you take every part, paint it and put it back on, sometimes electrical systems don't find their ground. So that is the problem I am working on now. I think it may be related to the headlights. Lights work but they are just not real bright and not working like they should. At high beam, the switch doesn't open like it should. It overloads and gets hot. The Bolters in the Electrical Bay forum have been helping me work through this issue ... as they have with some other things as the restoration moved along.
I use to go to alot of shows. Now that I have my own truck, I don't go as often. I drive the truck around the neighborhood every week. Every month we have a "Cars and Coffee Cruise-in" and I go to that. There are four AACA shows in the area and I try to go to them.
I did participate in the 2014 "Pure Gold Rush" Custom Bike Show in Wilmington, NC. I placed best in show!! (A "bike show" -- impressive ! ~ Editor) This was an award decided on by popular and judges vote. It was the first time in 20 years that 4x4 trucks were allowed into the show as participants. This is quite a prestigious award. An almost five foot tall trophy was presented to me by Miss Nude World 2010. We had to dis-assembled the trophy for it to fit inside the cab since I did not have a way to anchor it in the bed. There was a substantial cash award for best in show and I donated a good portion to the local VFW that was the guest host for the show.
There is the Great Northeast Tour in 2016 and I am planning on renting a trailer and head up I-95. I'll make a stop-over in Washington, DC, drop down to Stovebolt Headquarters and then travel up to PA to see my brother and visit the old homestead. I had worked at the strip mine and it has been reclaimed, so I'd like to get some pictures there with the truck and the big cuts in the landscape.
Hopefully, I will be able to go to the Good Guys cruise in Syracuse, New York and then head to Arundel, Maine. We have a friend there with a big bar and they are the #1 distributor for Budweiser Beer. My sister is in Maine so I'll stay a few days there before I head back south.
The truck has the 4:57 rears in it and it is normally really slow. However, with the 16" BFG AT radial tires, they are tall so I can go 60-70 mph without working too hard at it.
Another consideration with this long adventure ... there is no soundproofing in that truck. The springs offer a little bit of soundproofing. It's not a lot of noise but it's enough to wear on you. It seems like an hour drive is about it for a comfortable trip. So, we'll see how all that works out.
I hope to document the trip, with lots of pictures and share the adventure on the site! Hopefully.
I'm sorry if it sounds like I am bragging about this truck. It really means a lot to me since it was my Dad's and I have many memories of driving it in my youth.
As I was piecing this story together, I had pictured in my mind that gorgeous red truck ... maybe a little worn here and there. Milt had so many great pictures in his PB album, I figured it looked mostly like those shots. NOT! Check this out! Now this is some transformation!
So, we certainly look forward to following along with your big adventure next year. Come rest yourself at Stovebolt HQ for as long as you need to. We'll gather up the gang. Who knows: you may find some Southern Stovebolters follow you along the way! That would make for a great event for sure! ~ Editor
Home | FAQ | Forum | Swap Meet | Gallery | Tech Tips | Links | Events | Features | Search | Hoo-ya Shop