1957 Chevrolet Apache
There's a guy up north selling a Chevrolet Apache "with some engine issues" for around 6.5k Euros (~8.5k USD). Red, with body in "good condition, needing a paint job". It had been restored 10 years ago. I'm considering going up there this weekend to take a look at it. Long have I wished a pickup truck and am totally partial towards old models. GM always did my favorites too. Besides, this is a very rare find around here.
Question is I don't know much about pickup trucks. Much less American-made, despite having always been my favorite, aesthetically speaking. What do you guys make from so little information? Would you go take a look? The price seems about right?
I would absolutely want a definition of "with some engine issues".... Like... does it even have an engine?
If that is the truck I'm thinking of it has the smoothest power steering ever invented. It was the first attempt at power steering and as such it did not allow enough 'road input' from the tires. Even with 'engine issues' I would grab this classic vehicle b/c restoring it, for me at least, would be a real joy. Besides given the age of the truck even the original engine probably would be way out of tolerances by now and would not run correctly. I'm sure you can find a new engine a rebuilt one for the vehicle. If you want to restore it to OEM that may be more difficult than just dropping the biggest V8 in it you can find and making the thing a hot rod. In the USA you can find parts for these classic vehicles fairly easy but I'm not sure about parts availability where you are. The truck, like all modern pickups, is a full frame vehicle and if the frame is good there is a lot that can be restored on it. The reason I know a bit about it is b/c the fella I used to work for was in the process of restoring a 1957 pickup but I'm not sure if it was the Apache or not.
In short you really cannot go wrong with any Chevy's from the 50's
You can't tell me that truck isn't a work of art sitting in a garage. Truly a beautiful truck when fully restored. Restoration cost would be a factor in my decision but I would probably purchase it regardless just to get my hands on the truck. Sometimes it isn't about turning a profit as much as it is about owning a piece of history.
I used to drive a truck from this era while in college working for the campus housing and maintenance crew. Even though we beat the thing to death it kept on running. Easiest thing to fix and keep running. It outlasted the college's old 1970's era Chevy pickup.
I bought a '58 GMC long wheel base, step-side pickup back in '86 and took two years to restore it. I paid $800 US when I bought it from a junk yard. It "ran" - well, it "started". Brakes were shot, all freeze plugs were rusted out (water went everywhere), oil leaked, gas leaked. Mechanically, it was in pretty bad shape. But, it was complete, and the body (heavy, heavy sheet metal) was very good. Plus, it had all the chrome options it could ever have. It cost me $3K to restore the engine and $3K to restore the body. It had a 4 speed manual trans with a granny gear.
When I was done, it was awesome. I painted it a '86 Volkswagon Jetta "Tornado Red" and put a new wood bed in it and put wide whitewall tires on it.
I ended up selling it in '94(?) for $7500. I wasn't driving it, and with no A/C in Houston, you had to really want to drive it.
$8500 seems a bit high, depending on what the engine needs. '57 had single headlights on each side. In '58 they had double headlights. I always liked the Apache body style. If this is a short wheel base, step-side, that would be a nice truck. I always liked where the spare tire was mounted too - on the driver side of the bed, just behind the cab, up high.
If it has a 350 V8, then costs to fix the engine will be reasonable enough. Mine had a 336 V8, which was very rare. I needed all new pistons and rings, but they could not be found. It was a Pontiac block. It just so happened, however, that there were two options for engines in that year truck - a 336 V8 and a 347 V8. And, there were two flavors of the 336. One with a short stroke, and the other with the same stroke as the 347. Luckily, mine had the same stroke as the 347, so we just bored it out to a standard 347. However, the only 347 stock pistons and rings we could find were in what was essentially a museum in Los Angeles, and they cost a fortune.
Talk him down and go for it. Do some comparison shopping ahead of time. Just about every part you would need to fix is available somewhere, I'm certain.
I gave him a call a few minutes ago to schedule a visit this weekend and try to hold off any potential buyers. He didn't place an ad yet; this was a tip I got from a friend of a friend.
I definitely want to drive this baby. I've been wanting to buy a truck for sometime now for all my driving between home and town. Not to the city though. Just in the area which is in any case where I spend most of my time.
Meanwhile I took the chance and swamped him with questions. It's a 1958 one, not the 1957. He restored it 10 years ago from an already good condition with all original parts. Everything down to A/C is working. The exception is the engine. He got himself from a friend a framed 265 V8 which already had problems. Basically the whole thing today doesn't filter the oil and he's always patching it. But this isn't a problem to me. I'd rather get a new engine; the 283 V8 (from a tip I've got meanwhile) if I can get my hands on it. The idea is to import one from you guys over there.
He's selling it out of the need for money, but he loves the thing to bits. So I'm not sure how much room for negotiation I have. But will do my best if the truck is indeed all he said it was. Thinking of taking a friend with me to help me evaluate it...
Thanks for your info guys. You really got me even more excited than I already was.
'58 is even better - I love the double headlights. Keep us posted! Get a picture.
One more thing. My GMC came with windshield wipers that operated off of intake manifold vacuum. When going down a hill with my foot off the gas, they were awesome. However, on acceleration, they were very slow to operate. I went to a swap meet and bought a NOS (new old stock) electric motor - it was very much worth the $40 I spent on it.
A 283 would be a good choice. I had a 2 barrel carb on my 347 - it was plenty.
Is it an automatic? (via switches on the dash?) Does it have the (very cool) external visor mounted? Short wheel base? Chrome? Interior?
I actually preferred the 1957 front with that "wide mouth" grate. But the 1958 is a beauty too, no doubt.
Dunno, hehe. I'll be spending the week learning all I can about it so I go well armed. But I'll definitely get myself those external visor mounts if it doesn't have them. Love them too.
Originally Posted by Dino
I'll bring a truckload of pictures.
These trucks are the only vehicle I know that appear to be lunging forward when sitting still. Good luck!
That truck looks beautiful. And for $6.5k euro? I don't know much about pricing of classic cars, but I'm tempted to say that's a pretty good price, especially seeing what this site returned to me in terms of prices:
AutoTrader Classics Vehicle Search - Chevrolet Apache