Jim and Sabrina's
1959 Chevrolet Apache 32 Stepside Pickup
Out and About - August 13, 2005

This was a morning we have been looking forward to for quite some time. This was the day I was going to go for a ride in my old truck for the first time in over 26 years. Needless to say, I was like a kid waiting in line for ice cream when I woke up this morning and was waiting to head out to Auto Tek. As soon as the clock struck 9:00 am, I bellowed out to all those within hearing distance, “Its time to go!” Sabrina and Peg (my mother-in-law) quickly responded and we all headed out the door.

When we arrived at Auto Tek, John already had the truck backed out of the bay. Since I wasn’t able to get an insurance policy in place on the truck yet, I asked John if he would drive. He said no problem since he had already planned on going with us, as this trip was serving two needs; first to serve as a road test and second to go to the local Automobile Club of Southern California office in Anaheim, CA to complete the DMV registration process.

Before we went on our road test, John first showed us his latest work on the truck. He cleaned up and installed the vacuum powered windshield washer jar and bracket. He let us know the pump inside the jar had a leak causing a severe vacuum leek so he put a plug inside the lines to and from rest of the system and although it is fully hooked up and filled with fluid, it is not yet operational. He let us know if the correct repair parts can be located, he will try and get the washer system fully functional, but that all of the necessary parts may not be available and if that is the case, the system may remain as the only non-functioning system in our truck. We both agreed to try and figure out how to get the parts we need to get the system running after the Labor Day Car Cruise show is over in September.

After checking out John’s excellent work, which also included admiring the nice decals he had affixed to the various engine components, John asked if we were ready to go for a ride? I said, “I thought you would never ask!” Sabrina brought over our temporary operating permit from our records folder and John brought over a piece of tape to attach it to the rear window. John then said, “lets go” and we hoped into the truck and Sabrina and Peg followed behind us in her Ford Freestar.

John turned the key to the “on” position, pulled out the choke, pressed the accelerator and stepped on the starter button. The 235 Stovebolt fired up right away and purred like a kitten. The truck sounded great. John put the truck into reverse, released the parking brake and we were on our way.

John drove to the end of the Auto Tek driveway, and after checking traffic in both directions, John inched our Apache pickup onto the street under its own power for the first time in many years. With my window rolled down, I could feel the cool breeze hitting my face as John started to shift into second gear and gain some speed. Soon he was in third gear and the truck was cruising right along. I was smiling from ear to ear.

Here are a few pictures of our cruise over to the AAA office.

When we arrived at the AAA office, I went inside and started the paperwork process. Soon, the DMV clerk and I returned outside to the truck so she could perform her verification process. As you can see in the pictures below, she needed to check the Vehicle Identification Number and Odometer.

When the DMV clerk was done with her verification procedures, she asked me to come back inside with her to finalize the paperwork and so she could give me the new plates for the truck. I went inside while John, Sabrina and Peg stayed with the truck. As I was walking back inside, a gentleman in a new Chevy truck waived and shouted “They sure don’t make ‘em like that anymore!” I smiled and said, “Nope, they sure don’t!” He waived again and went along his way.

That short exchange gave me a great feeling inside as I walked back into the AAA office. The clerk finished entering the information into the computer system and shortly thereafter gave me a set of license plates and stickers for the truck. I thanked her for her help and headed back outside towards the truck. Sabrina and John were quick to tell me that the truck was garnering attention from just about everyone going in and out of the AAA office. Sabrina said one lady even took three pictures of it to show a friend of hers.

John and I got back into the truck and Sabrina and her mother got into the Freestar to head back over to Auto Tek. John looked down and realized he had left the key in the “on” position when he was tinkering with the truck. He stepped on the clutch, accelerator, and then starter button. The truck groaned but soon went dead. Hmm. As you can see in the pictures below, soon the hood was once again open and we were scratching our heads.

After a few moments to think, John said he figured either there was an electrical drain in the system or the generator had issues. Either way, we needed road assistance. Sabrina said, “Good thing we are at AAA!” After another few minutes, we decided that since we had the Freestar with us, we could jump-start the truck. John asked if we had jumper cables. No, we sure didn’t. Sabrina said she would go across the street to Rite Aid and buy a set. Soon she returned and the Freestar was nose to nose with the Apache.

As John hooked up the jumper cables, I got into the truck and on John’s direction, turned the key back into the “on” position and stepped on the starter button. The truck turned over but it seemed like it needed fuel. So, I looked over at the choke and it wasn’t pulled out. I had forgotten this step. I pulled the choke out, and stepped on the starter again after another tap on the accelerator. The 235 fired right up. John quickly disconnected the jumper cables and soon we were on our way!

I got out of the truck and walked around to the passengers’ side. John asked me “Are you sure you don’t want to drive it back?” I quipped back “You don’t know how much I want to, but I better be good, since I don’t have my insurance on it yet!” He said, ok and climbed into the drivers’ side of the truck. He put the truck into gear, released the parking brake and eased out the clutch. As we backed out from our parking space, folks were waiving to us from the front of the AAA office door area. John put the truck in first gear and soon we were back on the road again.

The truck made many different sounds as John started to accelerate and go through the gears. The various noises were music to our ears. As the transmission wound out between gears and the six cylinder RPMs increased, the noise level in the cab also increased. However, this was a nice experience. Considering it is a 46-year-old truck it road extremely nice. The new shocks, brakes, power-steering system and re-built front end all contributed to the great ride.

Soon we arrived back at Auto Tek. John turned into the driveway and pulled up to in front of the bay. He turned the key to the “off” position and the truck’s motor ceased to run. I felt like a kid at Disneyland when the ride comes to an end. I was thinking, no, not yet, I don’t want to get out. But, I knew I had to. So, I opened the door and stepped out. John quickly rounded up Steve and Tom to tell them of our mishap. He also shared with them how the truck received so much attention at the AAA office. He mused that it is going to do well at the shows.

Tom told me that the hubcaps and chrome emblems should be back in the next week or two. I also shared with them that the heater should also be in as Bowtie Bits Antique Truck Parts in Wichita, Kansas confirmed with me this past week that it had shipped and is on its way. John will fix the rest of the outstanding issues such as the electrical problem we experienced today, the leak in the power-steering pump and a few connections on the gauges in the instrument panel.

In addition, the truck is also going over to Larry at Cerny's Auto Painting for some final touch ups. After that John will make up a final checklist and make sure all of the outstanding items are addressed. If all goes as planned, Tom wants us to take the truck home for a week or two before the first show so we can spend some time driving the truck, taking pictures and any other activities we want to complete in preparation for the fist debut of the truck to the Southern California classic automobile enthusiast community. I can hardly wait.

That is it for this report. Until next time, thanks for visiting.




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