Frame-Off Restored 1959 Chevrolet Apache “Big Window” Short Bed Stepside 3100 Pickup
Period Style Build with Desirable Driveline – Floor Mounted Short Ratio Muncie!
383c.i. “Stroker”, 3.90 Rear, 3” Drop, Disc Front Brakes, Rally Wheels & More…
ABOUT THIS 1959 CHEVROLET APACHE SHORT BED
This 1959 Chevrolet Apache 3100 has been a lifetime Northern California pickup truck with photos documenting its condition when it was located nearby Oakland, California. As the photos show, the Apache was very “well used” but virtually free from the rot and rust found on cars & trucks that have spent time in inclement weather areas throughout the USA and abroad. It was very complete, carried California black commercial license plates dating its history back to the 60’s and was reportedly delivered new in the Bay area. It was fitted with the factory original inline 6-cylinder engine, mated to a “3-on the tree” manual transmission.
The car was purchased by the current family in the 2001 time frame and was found in the back yard of a home in nearby Oakland, California where it had reportedly been owned by one owner. The title indicates 1959 in the “Year 1st Sold” section, further supporting that the car was delivered new in California.
The current owner acquired the Apache from his brother after he had it for approximately 2 years, got it running, and was overwhelmed with the prospect of restoring the truck given his limited abilities. The current owner, a long time enthusiast with excellent mechanical skills took on the project which took ~7 years to complete. The Apache proudly entered its first show in the 2010 time frame.
The ’59 Apache was 100% disassembled, with a complete and total “nut & bolt” restoration of every component. The goal was to create more of an “Old School” build reminiscent of what a desirable large window with mechanical upgrades may have looked like in the “in the day”, not a high-tech example. A substantial amount of time and monetary investment over the course of over 7 years resulted in a high quality example of a 1959 Chevy truck.
Since the truck car was completed, it has accumulated fewer than 500 miles and was stored for several years until it was recently taken out of storage, freshened and updated. A mechanical inspection was completed and the Apache received a service including a tune-up, oil service, safety inspection of all systems, and considerable drive-time to sort the truck.
- Complete body off respray in “Cyber Gray” Metallic (Corvette color) high quality 2-stage with clear coat
- Required attention to address any minor rust
- Total disassembly of the body, bed, and all mechanical components
- All new doors, glass, pick-up box, detailed chassis and components
- New glass, rubber, fasteners, trim…the list goes on and on
- New chrome bumpers including front over-riders
- Mar-K replacement pick-up box light oak bed, stainless runners, fasteners and tail-lights
- 383 c.i. 4 bolt main
- 2.02” valves / pocketed heads
- Air gap manifold
- 650 CFM Holley double pump carburetor
- Sanderson shorty headers
- 2½” exhaust
- MSD electronic ignition
- Close ratio Muncie transmission
- Hurst shifter – 3 speed on the floor
- 90 rear axle ratio
- 4 corner 3” dropped leaf springs
- 12” six lug front disc brakes
- 17” 6 lug rally wheels, caps and trim rings
- Tires (Rear 255/60 17” / Front 225/55 17”) Goodyear Eagle RS-A
- New doors with conversion to 1 piece windows
- Front seat re-upholstered in satin black leather with pleats
- Door panels upholstered
- New headliner
- Completely refurbished dash, trim and interior parts
- Refurbished / rebuilt original gauges
- Electric wiper conversion
- NOS 1959 heater
CONDITION SUMMARY – THIS 1959 CHEVROLET APACHE PICKUP SHORT BED
This is an extremely high quality truck and shows attention to detail that separates many poorly built examples from those that were properly restored utilizing high quality components. Based on the exceptional quality of the paint, interior, and drive-line components, we are not hesitant to classify this pickup as show ready. It represents a level of restoration that is far in excess of trucks offered at many auctions and it is a beautiful, reliable, comfortable, nice performing Apache. The restoration documentation includes photos of the truck in the early 2000 time-frame and shows that it was a straight, solid, rust free California Apache that was, admittedly “tired” at the time and ready for a restoration. The truck has an estimated 500 miles since being restored, having been stored for 7-8 years prior to being “freshened.”
The Chevy’s paint rates extremely high, is devoid of orange peel and other noticeable defects and has never had any partial repainting since the high quality, complete body off re-spray. The body is extremely straight and solid and the undercarriage (photos shown) is dry with absolutely no rust through, damage to the frame, or suspension components. The suspension components are still “fresh” and the underside of the engine, transmission, and rear end show having been rebuilt and remain clean and dry.
Also, inspection of the other exterior parts of the car (emblems, grill, trim, etc.) shows them to be in absolutely beautiful condition. The photos accurately describe the trucks condition.
The doors, hood, and trunk gaps are very good and close / lock securely. The doors do not sag, and, of course, the hinges are solid and rust free. The underside of the hood is free from rust, dirt and grease and in excellent condition. The entire engine bay is clean, detailed, and well presented with a number of dress-up items. The engine has not been cleaned up for the photographs but reflects the limited mileage on the restoration.
The glass on the truck is excellent and the vent windows were removed during the resulting in a clean, one piece window. The windows are free from cracks, and there are no stars on the windshield.
The Chevy Apache drivability reflects the considerable attention in the build and the components that were used. It starts immediately under all conditions, and runs cool, even in the 100+ degree weather in Northern California. The idle is smooth and it has been totally reliable. The Chevy has excellent power, stops and steers straight and does not pull, or wander. Upgraded front disc brakes ensure that the car stops straight and sure. The parking brake works and is properly adjusted.
The transmission is a Muncie close-ratio with a Hurst linkage, mounted on floor. The clutch engages perfectly with no signs of slipping, noise, or shifting issues. The remainder of the drive-line components is equally good with no rear end noise.
The truck does not leak excessive fluids, is smoke free, and the engine sounds great. The car is fitted with dual exhaust exiting just in front of the diff, giving it the perfect sound. The truck is lowered just slightly so it has a nice stance but is not slammed to the ground or modified with air bags of radical suspension changes from stock. The charging system is fully operational and the Chevy holds a charge even after sitting for a prolonged period of time. The speedometer and other gauges are functional as is the lighting system.
The truck includes considerable spare parts, new and used, that can be seen in the included photos. The original steering column and a large volume of parts were retained by the meticulous owner and will go to the trucks new caregiver.
HISTORY OF THE CHEVROLET APACHE PICKUP
Today, arguably, the late ‘50’s Chevy pickup trucks, especially the large window short beds, represent the best of the best in collectible mid-size trucks. Many enthusiasts prefer the large window in 1959, along with subtle, but attractive styling improvements.
The Chevrolet Task Force was Chevrolet’s successor to the Advance Design trucks. The Task Force Series ran from late 1955 (second series) through 1959. At GMC locations, it was called the Blue Chip Series.
For 1959, Chevrolet made minor design changes for its popular light-duty Apache pickup truck, which included new interiors and a wider selection of colors to select from. In total, Chevy offered five different exterior colors.
The “wrap-around’ windshield”, a truck industry first, was introduced on Chevrolet’s pickup trucks in 1955. Power steering and power brakes became available for the first time on GM trucks. The electrical system was upgraded to 12 volts and 1955 was the only year for the 7-foot bed length. The following year, the trucks received a wider hood emblem. 1956 would be the final year for the egg crate grille. The open grille would be a one-year only design feature in 1957. The hood became flatter and featured two spears on top, in similar fashion to the Bel Air.
1958 was the first year for the Fleetside bed. Also, the truck was given a significant redesign in the front. All the 1/3-ton trucks were now called Apaches. Four headlights were in the front instead of the prior year’s two-light setup.
For 1959, one of the more visual changes was the larger and more ornate hood emblem. The badging on the fenders was also redesigned.
The Apache had a ball-gear steering, large brakes, cast spoke or disc wheels, and high capacity front axles. There were tubeless tires, dual headlamps, and a parallel-design frame. Six and eight cylinder engines were available, and many other options to accommodate small to large jobs.
Classic Cars Ltd