1958 Chevrolet Apache "32"
26 January 2009
From Chad :
This is my 1958 Chevrolet Apache "32" -- Chevy Task Force series! Here are plenty of pictures in my Photobucket.
The root beer brown, wasp nest, rust bucket, bow tie apple of my eye
The story begins in the small town of Coloma, California. A friend of mine (Tim), who I met in college last year, has a girlfriend who lives with her Dad in Coloma. The property is quite nice. It's a five acre ranch in the middle of a canyon, with mountain peaks and green trees as far as the eye could see.
I had been to the ranch quite a few times before the truck actually caught my eye. It sat all by its lonesome in the middle of a field behind this old barn close to the entrance to the property. You basically see the truck every time you come in or out of the gate.
I don't live near Coloma. In fact, I live quite far away -- in Sacramento -- which is about an hour south of Coloma.
One day, my buddy Tim calls me up and says, "Wanna hit the river today?" At this point, I had been down the majestic American River seven or eight times. Each time I went River-rafting, we would commence our pre-rafting rituals at the ranch. Each time we rolled up to that old green gate. There she sat -- weeds growing up through her grille and all.
There had been a few side conversations about this old truck but never leading to anything special. Until one day, the girlfriend's Father, John, came to talk to me about this truck. He says to me, "You know I'm going through a horrible divorce and I need to get at least half of my unused assets off my property." The first item that comes to my mind is that old dilapidated '58. With the image of those double headlights and hood ridges burning in my mind, the only words I could find to say was, "How much you want for it?"
After a good hour of just straight talking Stovebolts, he tells me he originally bought it as a parts truck for his brother's Apache. He offers me a low price of $400 and my heart sank instantly at the thought of my "starving student" situation.
I tell him, "Sorry John, but I have no money to buy your beautiful truck." He looks my square in the eye and says, "Pay me when you get the money. I want that damn thing off my property!"
I was thoroughly amazed. He had just offered me a piece of American history and all I had to do was get a trailer to haul it away!
So the next order of business was to get U-Haul on the horn and see about a trailer. Being as they are, the list of questions about my towing situation unraveled. You see I'm what they call cheap. So using any other truck but my own is pointless thinking, financially. So I told U-haul I was going to tow an 87 Suzuki Samurai (a truck that ways probably less than 2000 pounds) with my Toyota Tacoma. According to their calculations, it would work fine with the flatbed trailer they were going to give me.
So I headed to the ranch the following weekend and tackled the loading of the '58 that sat in its weed-grown field for over 10 years. It supposedly ran when he drove it up on to the trailer 10 years earlier. However, time had taken its toll. Thus an alternate strategy was thought up by my good friend Tim.
We parked my Toyota at an angle from the trailer and with his 4 runner, we tied a rope from the Chevy to his tow hitch. After about three or four tries, it broke free from its tomb of weeds and mud and we dragged it up on to the trailer.
After the recovery, we headed out for the open road to Sacramento. Let's just take a step back and look at my foolishness. I have a tow vehicle with a towing capacity weight of about 3 to 4 thousand pounds. I am towing a close to 3 or 4 thousand pound Stovebolt with a 1,500 pound trailer. I'm no wiz at math but if I am correct that puts us at about 1,000 to 2,000 pounds over my dinky Tacoma's towing capacity.
So we set off for Sac town on Highway 50, me at the helm of the disaster and my friend Tim following suit in case of a mishap. Despite a slight lack of power and some extremely paranoid braking, we made it to Sacramento with only a single tie strap missing.
We off loaded the Chevy into my tiny garage and tada! The project may begin! Beside a little back end sag for a few days, my Tacoma recovered quite well.
That adventure was three months ago and the truck has taken quite a different shape since then. I have ground and painted the frame and engine compartment and am now in the process of disassembling the original 235 inline six and four speed trans.
I also spent a whole day removing and cleaning off the 27 "mud dobber" nests that where scattered from frame to engine block.
It's a neat truck. It has a brody knob on the steering wheel that says "Irrigation Pump Company, Columbus Nebraska" which makes sense considering the extremely thick coat of clay mud on the chassis and an interesting little box on the steering column with a lever that sticks out. It was used to hold the brake pedal in case you needed to attempt an up hill clutch engagement.
I love every thing about this truck all the way from the mechanical floor start button right down to the oil bath air filter.
My plans were to do a frame off stock restoration but upon reading "Rebel Rodz and Car Kulture Deluxe" and attending a chassis fabrication class at school, my restoration image suddenly changed. Partly because I love Rat Rods and partly because I have only seen two or three of these that have been rat rodded which makes it seem more rare and that's where I am right now.
This is all so new to me that I still haven't completed the registration process. But soon she will be alive and beautiful.
Thanks for reading!