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  • 1959 Chevrolet Apache- Playing with Fire

1959 Chevrolet Apache- Playing with Fire

An Apache Rebuilt From a Bitchin Base

Grant Cox
Jan 13, 2016
Photographers: Grant Cox
These days there are so many options available or directions to take with your project truck. It is not uncommon to change your mind on the style of build or even the make and model of the truck with the tides before you get something home to your garage. Back in 2009, Jim Naeve set out on that familiar journey to find his ultimate project truck. With all the similar but markedly different Tri-Five trucks available on the market, Jim always liked the look of the dual headlights of the '59 Apache and honed in on his search. After narrowing down his choices to a few selected trucks on eBay, he finally placed a bid on a truck and ended up winning the auction.
After bringing his newly won auction prize home, Jim got the opportunity to have a good long look at his purchase. The paint had been recently completed but the drive train, suspension, cooling and other aspects of the truck, while pretty clean, still needed a lot of work to live up to his expectations. This was kind of backwards, but ended being a plus in order to make sure things were done right.
Photo 2/11   |   003 1959 Chevrolet Apache Rear
In 2012, Jim got serious about his truck, but needed some guidance to make sure he got things correct. Mitch Henderson Designs was contacted about Jim’s ideas for his truck and after a couple brainstorming sessions with Mitch a list emerged to transform the Apache into a mean street machine.
First, the frame needed to be reengineered to be more drivable. The MHD crew started off by installing a new Scotts Hotrods front clip with AccuAir air suspension to really improve the ride quality and be able to set the truck on the ground with a touch of a button. The rear was also treated with a custom 4-link setup to allow the airbags to give the adjustability Jim asked for during the planning phase. With the new suspension installed it allowed a new set of Bonspeed Vinspeed rims to be installed. The biggest improvement in looks came from the massive 20x14 rear billet that now filled up the fender well and complimented the stance.
Photo 3/11   |   004 1959 Chevrolet Apache Slammed
Next, Jim really wanted a performance packed vehicle with pushing the envelope of what these classic trucks can really handle in terms of street-able, pump-gas power. Mitch found a GM 496CID Stroker with the SS700 5-speed to replace the previous drivetrain and stuffed it down in between the frame rails. With this combination now installed, it provided instant childlike smiles for days on end when driven. In Jim’s book, this was the key point with the re-build and he was truly satisfied by the work that had been done.
Soon it was time to head into the interior, Jim asked Mitch to have the dash shaved to give a cleaner stock look. Although this deleted the radio spot in the dash, it didn’t bother Jim because he wanted to hear that big block sound over the tunes of a radio. Plus, when his wife goes out on cruises with him, it gives the two a chance to talk and enjoy each other’s company which what the ultimate goal was for the purchasing of this truck.
Photo 4/11   |   008 1959 Chevrolet Apache Flame Tailgate
Once Mitch handed over the keys to Jim and the first miles were put on his eBay auction dream truck, he was truly proud of the outcome with the new modifications. Now Jim and his wife, Frances, could enjoy meeting new people at local car shows and going on drives on the country Texas highways in style.
Inside the build
Year/Make/Model: 1959 Chevy Apache
Owner and City/State: Jim Naeve, Murphy Texas
Club Affiliation: Morning Maniacs & Lone Star Classic Trucks
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Font clip from Scotts Hot Rods IFS, Firestone airbags, AccuAir
Rear Suspension: Custom 4-Link, Firestone airbags, AccuAir
Shocks: QA1 shocks
Drivetrain:
Engine: 496CID GM-Crate Motor, Dual-plane intake manifold, MSD Digital E-Curve Pro Billet Distributor, ProSystems “circuit-tuned” 835CFM Holley Carburetor, Hedman Ceramic coated headers, MSD ignition.
Transmission: SS700 5-speed
Rearend: Ford 9-inch
Body: All original steel, 53 Buick Roadmaster Taillights, Bedwood kit w/Gas filler in bed. Airbrush real-fire paint job by "Zivic"
Interior: Shaved Dash, Teas Seats in "Ultra Leather", Classic BelAire Custom steering wheel.
Wheels & Tires:
Wheels: Bonspeed-Vinspeed 18x7, 20x14
Tires: Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/R, LT 26x8R18, 29x15R20
Special Thanks: Mitch Henderson Designs, Dorbritz Designs, BedWood & Parts, Bonspeed Wheels, Silver Sport Transmissions, ProSystems Carburetors, Scotts Hot Rods

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