Bruce Crabtree's

1959 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside


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10 February 2006
# 1418

From Bruce:

         Hi folks! I thought I'd submit my own Stovebolt for the Gallery. It's a '59 Apache Fleetside, with a '79 Corvette engine, 700R4 auto o/d tranny W/30% OD, '94 Trans-Am rear axle, 3.73 ratio, W/locker differential, power Four wheel disc brakes, Pro-Compfront springs W/custom shackles, Linkage-type power steering system adapted from C-3 Corvette, Power electric windows, Electric wipers, with rear auxiliary 25 gallon fuel tank (two fuel tanks = 40 gallons also extra leg-room due to original fuel tank moved to front of bed), oil / cooler / tranny fluid cooler, trailer towing system, custom speedo and instruments, Corvette muffler system, and fiberglass camper top.

         The truck runs great and steers easily. It gets 17 mpg. I let my son have my '79 Corvette which I'd restored mechanically. He wasted little time in wrecking same. So, I put all the Corvette running gear in this '59 Apache, including the 'Vette power steering system.

         I'm constantly re-engineering this rig (that's the way ex-engineers are, I guess). As of November 2006, my new front suspension is in. Now, I'm re-doing the power steering system by replacing the PS slave-cylinder with a larger bore, longer stroke, hydraulic cylinder to get full left-and-right turn radius. I'm also adding air-lift shocks on the rear to give the auxiliary rear fuel tank adequate ground clearance when both tanks are full and my vintage "canned-ham" camper is hooked up. The rig sits a few inches higher, now. I'll have to get used to the new look. One thing about it, though, is that if I want to go 4 X 4 I'll have the front-end clearance.

         There is a kind of method to my madness. My basic restriction is to not destroy the basic personality of the truck, as it was available in 1959. I have nothing on it that wasn't an option for a new truck -- with one exception: disc brakes weren't available then, but safety comes first. It still has the solid-axle front suspension rather than some sort of 'add-on-clip.' The Chevy V-8 was available then. A 4-speed auto tranny was available then. A posi-trac rear axle was available then. One could get an after-market auxiliary fuel tank then. Power steering was available then. So, I haven't turned it into something it couldn't have been in 1959 . . . almost .

Thanks,

Bruce Crabtree
"Apache Kid "
Bolter # 4959
Eureka Springs, Arkansas



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