Jim and Sabrina's
1959 Chevrolet Apache 32 Stepside Pickup
A Delco in the Dash - July 23, 2005

Our weekly Saturday morning trip to Auto Tek got underway just shortly after Sabrina and I loaded up the Expedition with a few parts boxes for John and the gang. After the parts were all loaded up and we were headed out the door, Sabrina handed me a travel mug full of hot fresh coffee and she grabbed the digital camera and a drink for herself.

When we arrived at Auto Tek the place was buzzing with activity. Our truck was parked out on the driveway and all of the shop’s bays were filled with vehicles. The whole gang was spread over several cars and trucks and everyone was working away. While this might be the usual scene at the shop Monday thru Friday, usually on Saturdays, things slow down a bit. This is due in part to the fact that the guys expect to be interrupted frequently on Saturdays by their restoration project customers paying weekly visits just like Sabrina and I have done for the past 15 months.

Sabrina and I unloaded the parts we brought next to John’s toolbox and I went to see what all of the guys were working on. While I was talking it up with the Auto Tek crew, Sabrina headed straight for our pickup and started snapping pictures. Here are pictures of John’s latest work:

As Sabrina clicked picture after picture, I went over to talk to Steve who was under the hood of a 1987 GMC pickup. I said to him, "oh your working on the new stuff today!" He looked up at me and with an evil grin said “not by my choice!” I laughed and said, "yeah, I believe that." Soon thereafter, John stopped his work on a 1933 roadster and headed over to where Sabrina was and asked out loud “What did you bring today?” I walked over to meet him and told him we had some presents for him.

With that I opened up the boxes and showed him the steering column we bought from Fred’s Truck Parts located in Tucson, AZ. The steering column is an original 1957-59 Chevrolet truck column. It will have to be cut an inch or two more and needs some cleaning and painting, but it should look good in the cab when it is installed. The column will be mated to the Toyota steering box mounted on the frame rail close to the same location the original steering box was located. Along with the installation of the steering column, John will also install the transmission shift linkage, shift leaver, turn signal switch assembly, steering wheel and horn button.

As the first couple of pictures above depict, John installed the original AM Delco radio we purchased quite a few months ago from Bowtie Bits Antique Truck Parts located in Wichita, Kansas. Jeff McCoy, the owner, runs a parts business that specializes in providing "hard-to-find" parts for old Chevy and GMC trucks. They restore things like our radio, steering boxes, heaters and wiper motors. Our heater will also be provided to us by Bowtie Bits Antique Truck Parts and should arrive within the next couple of weeks after Jeff’s crew gets it fully restored and ready for use once again. The AM radio that John installed this past week looked and sounded great. In addition to the radio, John also installed the vent cables and knobs under the dash just where the radio is mounted. Here are some pictures of the other work John did on our old truck:

In addition to the dash related items described above, John also installed the side window glass. The window glass in each door included both the roll down windows and the vent windows. While side vent windows were commonly referred to as “wind wings” that moniker was actually coined for “open air” cars not enclosed cars or cabs. Vent windows for closed cars were dubbed “draft deflectors” in the early 1930s. However, I can’t recall anyone ever calling those little vent windows in my truck or in the many cars I road in as kid that had them anything other than “wind wings”. In any event, our vent windows are installed and looking good.

John still needs to finish up some window trim work on the inside of each door, but he told us he was very happy with how the glass went in. Although, he explained to us how it was difficult to figure out how to get both the roll down window and vent window to “drop in”. After several different types of attempts, he finally was able to get them to “drop in” by sliding both assemblies in at the same time. He told us that the passenger door windows went in much faster then the drivers’ door windows. He also pointed out a minor flaw in the aftermarket glass we purchased. The “safety glass” label was etched upside down on both vent windows. Given the difficulty of the installation, Sabrina and I both told John not to worry about it. Actually, Sabrina mused that it was a good little detail to tell stories about.

The other parts we brought John today included the tire jack we bought on eBay from a gentleman located in American Fork, Utah sometime back. We also brought John a set of gasoline tank straps from Jim Carter Classic Truck Parts located in Independence, MO. Finally, we brought a set of black dash knobs from Chevy Duty Truck Parts located in Kansas City, Missouri. These black knobs are the actual style and color of knobs on a Deluxe cab truck such as ours. The chrome knobs you see in the pictures above were reserved for the Custom cab trucks in 1959. In addition to being correct, Sabrina and I both believe the black knobs will actually look better against the goldish color of the dash then the chrome knobs do.

After I checked out all of the work he did on our truck this past week, John gave us an update on the status of the chome pieces and hubcaps. The chrome side name plates and front hood badge were sent over to Charles Sihilling Metal Polishing in Santa Ana, CA. They advised Tom that they would try and get them back to us by the end of August. If they do, that will allow plenty of time for them to be installed prior to the Labor Day Car Cruise at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, CA. The cruise is also why the folks at Auto Tek were working so hard today, as they have 14 customer cars being displayed at the show this year - including our truck.

John also told us that Tom sent the hubcaps over to Danny Al Martinez Custom Motorcycles located in Orange, CA just across the street from Auto Tek. Tom decided to send them over to Danny as Larry Cerny is quite busy trying to get all of his projects for the Labor Day Car Cruise ready as well. Tom uses Danny for some of these types of projects, as Danny’s crew does all types of custom paintwork for his motorcycle cliental. Painting the bowties on our hubcaps while not an easy job is certainly a cakewalk compared to the intricate hand airbrush work they do on the custom bikes for their customers. John thinks Tom will also send Danny our tailgate for it’s painted lettering as well.

Items next on the list include:

About the time we finished up reviewing our plan for the next couple weeks, lunch arrived for the Auto Tek crew. Sabrina and I said our goodbyes and let John and Tom get to their lunch and we continued on with the rest of our weekend.

To check out the latest progress on our truck, click on the "Next" button below.





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