Another resto Jeff Wilson

Another resto!!,

I swore black and blue after I finished the rebuild on my 55 Chev, that I would not do another, ah what a short memory I have. A bit over 3 years ago I bought a 1959 Chev Apache step side pick up and we started all over again.

The first resto/rebuild I done was with my dad on my grandfathers 1922 T Model, this was in1992, it took 4 years, it was a big learning curve for us with many disagreements over things. Father and son combos don't really work!!.

Then in 1998 I bought an EH Holden, and started a rebuild on it, HR disc brake front end, warm 186 motor, 4 speed aussie box, premier interior, and a repaint job done by myself, this is where the fun started, stupid me decided to paint it in a pearl white, dumbest idea I ever had, but I could spray paint!!, yeah right.

Ended up getting a painter from my work to fix it and do it properly.

In 2002 I swapped the EH and a few thousand bucks for my 55 Chev. It had a 454 big block motor, I thought that was great until I decided the go anywhere, it hogged fuel like it was going out of fashion. A weekend at the Bright Rod run sealed it's fate, $135 worth of fuel for the weekend, Bright is only 100km from Benalla. So in 2008 I decided to do an engine swap. I had a 350 built, coupled it to a T700 auto and decided to dolly up the engine bay. That's when I lost the plot, a bit over 4 years later with a bare metal respray, disc brakes, new interior, suspension, and all the small bits and pieces that just seem to add up so quickly. Then to top it off we BBQ'd the auto on the dyno, testing and tuning the motor, another $2k to fix that.

That's it, never going to do another resto job!!

That was until about 3-4 years ago, I had just sold my 56 4dr hardtop, when I got interested in pick ups, saw this 59 Apache advertised for the right price!! so I bought, it was on the water from the states when I done the deal.


The grand plan, quick basic resto, take to old 235Ci, 6 cylinder out and I had a 292, 6 cylinder lined up, put a 4 speed manual in it and that would do.

Unfortunately I was talking to Tony A about it, he told me they drive and ride like a truck with the original suspension, put a Jag front end in it convert to RHD it will be good driver then. Seems I'm easily influenced, I bought an 1984 Jag from the Wang swap meet, $500, pulled the front end out and sold the rest for $600. Then it was down to Tony's to get the Jag front end grafted in.

I decided to get the cabin dipped to get rid of the old paint, this unearthed a heap of issues and classic Mexican resto issues like, just weld new lower cab corners over the original rusted metal and bog it in, floors were like swiss cheese and the normal lower hinge pockets rusted out.

My mate Cooke' talked me into signing up to a Hobby Paint and Panel course held at the Wang Tafe on Saturdays. This was the best thing I had ever done, I learnt so much and everybody there were working their own projects. I ended up repairing and painting the whole step side body there, and doing heaps of other body repair work. Unfortunately this course no longer runs.

To date I have removed and replaced the lower cab corners, lower hinge pockets, steps and floors. Of course now it is a RHD vehicle so everything has had to be changed over, so new steering column, change the dash over, I decide not to refit the original dash in the RH side, instead I rolled up metal and kept the same top dash profile, this was 4 weeks of cursing and swearing and remaking profiles before I got it right, but it looks good now.

I decided not to try to repair the doors, they were rusted out in the bottoms bogged up and fibre glassed, so I bought repo ones and a RH guard also. I tried to fit the LH side door first, great another problem it did not fit in the hole, it over lapped the top outer B panel, so I bought new hinges thinking they might be the problem. No that didn't work, so I ended up unpicking the spot welds and splicing the outer skin to get a gap on the door, then weld it all up

again, great fun!!. There have been numerous other challenges, but rebuilding old cars is never straight forward, if it was everybody would be doing it!!.

The pick is now going to run a 350ci motor with T700 auto and Holden one tonner diff.

I am just about ready to put primer on the cab and get it ready for top coat, which I plan to do later in the year.

When this is finished I am positive, I am not going to do another resto job.

Here's a few photos of the pick up during the rebuild. the last photo is of the step side body in the finished colour I am painting the pick up. The original colour was Forest Green Metallic, a Dupont colour as I could not find the formula for this colour I found this Mazda colour which is as close as I can get to the original.


Jeff Wilson


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