Jim and Sabrina's
1959 Chevrolet Apache 32 Stepside Pickup
The Stovebolt Serenade - June 25, 2005

On Thursday, June 23, Auto Tek received the stainless steel exhaust system we ordered from Kepich Exhaust located in Ft. Meyers, Fl. Kepich Exhaust is owned an operated by John Kepich and his wife Gretchen. They supply vintage exhaust systems for many old classic cars and trucks across the country.

John at Auto Tek worked hard on Thursday and Friday to have the exhaust system installed before the weekend. The exhaust system consisted of an exhaust pipe, muffler and tail pipe. John reported that the fit was very good and the only slight modification he had to make to any of the pre-bent pipes was to the tail pipe. He needed to cut about six inches off of it so it would line up right to go over the rear axel. Even with that cut, there was plenty of enough pipe length for the exhaust tip to be located towards the rear of the truck. Here is a picture of the exhaust system:


On Saturday, June 25, 2005 Sabrina, Peg (Sabrina’s Mother) and I went over to Auto Tek to see the latest work on the truck. We all new this would be the “big day”. Shortly after we got there, John announced over the shop’s PA system that the Apache was ready for the first test start. All of the techs stopped working on their assigned jobs and they all gathered around our truck. Steve the engine guy double checked John’s last minute check off items such as making sure the distributor cap was back on.


Sabrina captured the old Apache coming to life for the first time in about 26 years on video.
Click on the picture above to watch and listen to this old Chevy’s Stovebolt sing its special serenade.

After Steve completed his quick check, John climbed into the cab of the truck. He asked if everyone was ready. All of us yelled “start it!” John turned the key in the ignition switch to the “on” position, pressed the accelerator peddle two times and then pressed his foot onto the starter button. In less then a split second, the 46-year-old engine came to life once again. It roared as John stepped on the accelerator peddle some more to increase the RPMs for the first few minutes. The whole group expressed happiness that the engine sounded so good. It was definitely music to our ears!

After about 10 minutes at a fast idle, John let the RPM’s cycle down to a slow idle and we all listened to the stovebolt purr like a kitten. A few more minutes went by and John turned the key back to the “off” position and the engine came back to a rest. John then asked if I wanted to start it up. I responded quickly with a “sure” and climbed into the cab of the truck. I followed the same ritual that John did and turned the key to the “on” position, gave the acclerator peddle two taps and pressed the starter button with my right foot. Instantly the 235 six-cylinder engine fired up and the gauges all moved to their respective positions in the instrument cluster. The sound of the solid lifters clacking away was awesome. Although a final valve adjustment will be done, they sounded great. I let the engine idle for a few minutes and turned it back off.

I got out of the cab and went to look under the hood. The exhaust manifold powder coating still looked like it did the day we got it back from Embee Performance Coatings in Santa Ana, CA. We checked the entire engine compartment to see if we had any leaks. Everything looked great. No problems were found. So, after 26 years, this 46-year-old Thiftmaster is ready for continued service for many more years to come.

To check out our OEM style maintenance-free AC-Delco battery click onto the “Next” button below.


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