1959 Chevy Apache 36 Fleetside
This story comes to us via Gene Reiser, who has a 1956 Chevy Shortbox Stepside in the Gallery. But Gene knows all about this truck (which now belongs to Alfred). But read on ... it'll all make sense. Gene seems to bump into neat old trucks whichever way he turns! ~ Editor)
Alfred, the current owner, is not much of a computer person so I am happy to be the go between and give you the history of this truck, since it once was mine! It's nice to know it's still in the family.
This 1959 Chevy was featured in the 2012 calendar for October. Quite an honor (Quite a truck photo! Here's the full picture. The 3/4-ton Chevy is in the foreground; the 1959 3/4-ton GMC, now owned by Todd Shumansky is in the background. ~ Editor).
This truck was purchased new by Robert Reiser in 1959. He bought from the Spencer Auto dealership, in Nebraska. He liked the color and body style.
Robert had the truck for two or three years and he put a hood ornament on it from a 1941 or '47 Plymouth. It fit on it real good and the "Plymouth" had a boat on it with sails. It was an Apache truck and it's still on the truck. (Plymouth from Columbus's ship -- the fledging on the back of an Indian arrow .. . that's why he put in there.)
Robert sold the to my Dad in 1962/63. Dad (Herbert) was Robert's first cousin.
Dad had it and used it as his main truck. My earliest recollection of riding in the back of that pickup truck was 1967-68; such fun for a kid.
The truck probably became semi-retired in the mid-to-late 70s. Then my Dad and Brother resurrected it, got it running. It actually hadn't sat very long.
They put an insecticide fogging machine in the back and they used it on the farm for insecticide spraying (they have a ranch in Nebraska, with a lot of alfalfa and the spray was to get rid of aphids).
About 1982, the truck then got park in a Quonset hut. The brakes had gone out in it.
In about 1985, we started it up on a whim since we were out there by the Quonset hut. It smelled like popcorn because we think mice had drug kernels of corn into the engine or tailpipe.
We got it going and hauled it to my Brother Martin's farm and parked it again. The brake lines went out in it and it was not driven any more. It sat in the shed his long time: 1985 until 2000.
About 2002, the old truck had to get out of the shed and was pulled out and put behind a grove of trees. There it sat until 2006. That is when I thought it would be fun to fix up a vehicle.
I started rebuilding and working on it. I did everything to it. I got it running with my Dad's help. It was a great Father-Son project. We finally got it running in 2010. It was a slow process. I didn't live near there and I just got to work on it from time to time when I was visiting.
We had to get a local mechanic from the town to help us some. He got the engine unstuck. It turned over and it starred after he did his magic. He unseized one of the pistons.
It ran really good after that -- didn't pop.
In about 2011, I hauled the truck to Sioux City to a friend's farm where I could work on it more.
I redid the brakes and fuel lines and basically had it driveable. It didn't have rear break lights and the blinkers wouldn't work. Other than that, it was roadworthy.
I was looking for a parts truck for the old Chevy and ended up finding a 1959 GMC 3/4-ton at a lady's farm -- turns out I worked with her daughter. She ended up giving me the '59 GMC in exchange for me stocking her pond (read that story here). Good trade both ways - the pond now has some awesome bass in it.
I had to basically unearth the 59 GMC. I t was sitting on hubs, no tires or rims, half buried in the dirt. I had to excavate it. There was a tree growing into the front bumper.
First off, I had to find tires and rims for it. I put out a wanted request on Craigslist. A fellow from Sioux City called and said, "$50 and they are your's."
I went to go pick them up, and in his neighbor's yard was this 1956 pickup. I asked if it was his. He said it was his neighbor's. This was truly the truck I have always really wanted -- a 1955-6 or 7 short box 1/2-ton.
I went to see the lady and asked what she would sell it for. She said $1K and I said okay! I knew the lady from our Church and she knew it was going to a good home.
My Dad had passed away that year. I wanted to fix that '59 for him but now I had my own truck.
I told Robert's son Alfred about the old truck I was working on (the '59) and that I had found a 1956 Chevy 3100 Stepside Shortbox that was my dream truck. I wanted to know if he wanted to buy his Dad's '59 and he said, "Sure!"
The truck now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska and Alfred is doing a frame-off restoration on the Chevy. He seems happy to have his Dad's truck.
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