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One Man’s Legacy of Chevrolet Nostalgia

THERE ARE CERTAIN IDEAS THAT STICK WITH US THROUGHOUT OUR LIVES, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO TRUCKS—AND IT’S NO ACCIDENT. The iconic haulers showcased in our favorite television programs and movies were chosen by producers because they’re badass machines. There might have been some product placement motivation from sponsors behind the scenes, but by and large, our favorite trucks, especially those that made an impression on us when we were kids, were chosen to wow audiences.

Yet, some of us are inspired by real-life heroes rather than actors—people or vehicles—so, tagging a truck with a positive memory because we admired the driver/builder is also pretty common.

I WANTED TO BUILD ONE MY WAY. THE SAME THING GOES FOR THE COLOR. I REMEMBER SEEING A LATE ’50’S CHEVY SEDAN IN A MAGAZINE WHEN I WAS ABOUT 15-16 YEARS OLD, AND I’VE WANTED MY FUTURE TRUCK TO BE PAINTED THAT SAME BURGUNDY COLOR EVER SINCE.”
— AUSTIN SMITH

Austin Smith, a custom car/ truck/motorcycle fiend from Beavercreek, Ohio, definitely falls into this second category. “Ever since I was little, my family had an old Chevy work truck,” he tells us. “After I got a little older, I wanted to build one my way. The same thing goes for the color. I remember seeing a late ’50’s Chevy sedan in a magazine when I was about 15-16 years old, and I’ve wanted my future truck to be painted that same burgundy color ever since.”

When Austin’s chance to build his dream truck finally presented itself, he didn’t hesitate to chase it down. He’s had his share of custom cars in the past, so this build wasn’t going to be his first go-around. He’s developed an elevated taste for quality as he’s matured, so he wasn’t interested in cutting corners. “This time around, I wanted a very clean, very reliable and very well-done ride that will stay in my family for a long time.”

THIS TIME AROUND, I WANTED A VERY CLEAN, VERY RELIABLE AND VERY WELL-DONE RIDE THAT WILL STAY IN MY FAMILY FOR A LONG TIME.”

Austin purchased his ’58 Chevy Apache pickup from a coworker seven years before starting the build, but once he got going he discovered that it was going to need more attention than he initially planned. “[It] looked decent enough and relatively stock, but after some minor tune-ups and maintenance, I started to realize the truck was a little rougher than I first thought.”

THE WHEEL-AND-TIRE PACKAGE CONSISTS OF 20/22-INCH COYS WHEELS, AND 225/35ZR20 FRONT AND 295/30/ZR22 BACK DELINTE DESERT STORM TIRES.

THE RAISED WOOD BED FLOOR IS DESIGNED TO CLEAR 22-INCH WHEELS AND STILL LAY THE BODY ON THE GROUND.

Austin talked to Pat Patterson of Led Sled Customs, who was in the process of building a bike for him, and Pat recommended Jake Burton of Burton’s Kreative Motorwerks in Dayton, Ohio. “I’d heard nothing but good things about Jake in the past, and I trusted him enough to start putting in some real work on my new truck project.”

THE GUYS WANTED TO SEE THE TRUCK SITTING LOW WITH CLASSIC STREET-ROD STYLING, AS WELL AS AN ADDED DOSE OF PERSONAL STYLE TO MAKE THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE UNFORGETTABLE. ”

Austin and Jake sat down and went over some basic ideas. The guys agreed upon some of the same types of modifications and styling points, and eventually Austin gave Jake full creative freedom over the project. According to Austin, “[Jake] showed a level of interest in the truck that matched mine, and he took the initiative to start planning the build. I knew from there that my truck was in good care.”

THE TEAM AT WICKED WHIPS HELPED COMPLETELY OVERHAUL THE INTERIOR, INCLUDING ADDING A BENCH SEAT WRAPPED IN AN ATTRACTIVE WHISKEY TAN ULTRALEATHER UPHOLSTERY, WITH MATCHING CARPET, PANELING AND DASHBOARD. BUILDER JAKE BURTON ALSO FILLED THE CAB WITH TOP-NOTCH ACCESSORIES IN THE FORM OF A BILLET SPECIALTIES STEERING WHEEL, STEWART WARNER GAUGES AND A VINTAGE AIR A/C SYSTEM, JUST IN TIME FOR SUMMER CRUISING.

The guys wanted to see the truck sitting low with classic street-rod styling, as well as an added dose of personal style to make the driving experience unforgettable. To start, Jake lined up an impressive array of premium suspension components to bring the Apache down to a respectable cruising height while maintaining an excellent ride quality. A set of 20/22 Coys wheels also made its way into the equation as well.

THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE TRUCK THAT I WOULD CHANGE OR DO DIFFERENTLY, OR EVEN THINK ABOUT ADDING IN THE FUTURE.”
— AUSTIN SMITH

When it came time to address the truck’s exterior, Jake found that almost all of the original sheet metal was unusable, which proved to be one of, if not the, largest obstacles during the entire build process. Luckily, quality aftermarket sheet metal is readily available. Once the truck’s new skin was in place, Jake kept things pretty streamlined as far as modifications go. Keen eyes will notice subtle, incredible metalwork, such as the contoured bed wall and the narrowed grille. The House of Kolor Brandywine paint finishes it all off perfectly— it’s the exact color Austin had wanted since he was a teen. “Some of Jake’s tweaks to the exterior might go unnoticed, but he took his time and followed his creative side to make it stand out when parked near other Apache pickups.”

A 2004 CHEVROLET 6.0L V-8 POWERS THIS APACHE WITH HELP FROM A MAGNUSON SUPERCHARGER, ALUMINUM RADIATOR, BRIAN TOOLEY RACING STAGE THREE CAMSHAFT, MAGNUSON INTAKE MANIFOLD, C4 CORVETTE HEADERS AND A 2.5-INCH MAGNAFLOW EXHAUST SYSTEM.

To set the truck apart even further, the interior was slated for a full overhaul complete with a Wiseguys bench seat wrapped in an attractive whiskey tan Ultraleather upholstery, with matching carpet, paneling and dashboard. Jake filled the cab with top-notch accessories in the form of a Billet Specialties steering wheel, Stewart Warner gauges and a Vintage Air A/C system, just in time for summer cruising. Wicked Whips, another shop local to the Dayton area, scored an assist with the creation of the plush interior landscape, which has come to be Austin’s favorite facet of his freshly restored pickup. “Jake blew this thing out of the water, inside and out. It’s apparent to me that he went above and beyond what I expected, and I set my expectations high from the start.”

Austin might not have been inspired to build this truck based on a popular movie or TV show, but his experience with growing up with an old Chevy pickup in the family was just as meaningful. The road from start to finish spanned nearly a year and half, which isn’t too bad considering the amount of work and strategic planning that was poured into the truck’s resurrection. “There’s absolutely nothing about the truck that I would change or do differently, or even think about adding in the future,” Austin adds. “Jake Burton is a true artist and has earned a lifelong customer in me. Actually, we already have a new project in the works.”

HOUSE OF KOLOR BRANDYWINE PAINT IS THE COLOR CHOICE ON SOME OF THE MOST ICONIC HOT RODS TO DATE. IT LOOKS AMAZING ON AUSTIN’S APACHE TOO.

We’d be hard-pressed to make any suggestions for this Apache, either. It has the looks, unique styling, killer upgrades and the reliability that Austin was after. Now, about that other project he just mentioned, we’re waiting just as eagerly as you probably are to see what it could be.

TRUCK SPECS

OWNER

Austin Smith
1958 Chevrolet Apache
Beavercreek, OH

ENGINE

  • Shop: Burton’s Kreative Motorwerks and TK Performance, Dayton, OH
  • 2004 Chevrolet 6.0L V-8
  • Chevrolet 4L60-E transmission
  • Magnuson supercharger
  • Aluminum radiator
  • Standalone wiring harness
  • Brian Tooley Racing stage three camshaft
  • Magnuson intake manifold
  • C4 Corvette headers
  • 2.5-inch Magnaflow exhaust system
  • Liquid-to-air heat exchanger
  • Custom 3-inch driveshaft
  • Circle D torque converter
  • Speedway Motors transmission cooler
  • Chris Alston’s Chassisworks Fab9 9-inch rearend

CHASSIS & SUSPENSION

  • Shop: Burton’s Kreative Motorwerks Factory 1958 GM frame updated with IFS tube cross member and step notch
  • Tubular control arms
  • 2500 front and 2600 rear Firestone ’bags
  • Air Lift AutoPilot V2 air management module mounted under bed
  • Speedway Motors power rack-and-pinion
  • Monroe shocks
  • 3-link rear suspension setup
  • Custom aluminum fuel tank
  • Wilwood brakes and master cylinder

WHEELS & TIRES

  • 20/22-inch Coys wheels
  • 225/35ZR20 and 295/30/ ZR22 Delinte Desert Storm tires

BODY & PAINT

  • Shop: Burton’s Kreative Motorwerks
  • House of Kolor Brandywine
  • Replacement grille removed of chrome and narrowed
  • Rolled rain gutters
  • Welded one-piece doghouse
  • Bed wall contoured to cab
  • Lengthened stake pockets
  • Raised bed floor
  • Wood bed floor
  • Roll pan

INTERIOR & STEREO

  • Shop: Wicked Whips, Dayton, OH
  • Wiseguys bench seat
  • Whiskey tan Ultraleather upholstery
  • Smoothed dash
  • Stewart Warner instrumentation
  • Billet Specialties steering wheel
  • Kenwood sound system
  • Vintage Air A/C
  • Power windows
  • Deleted wing windows
  • Specialty Power Windows wiper kit