PATINA & PERFORMANCE
When Jon Pratkanis, aka JP, officially introduced his next big venture with the opening of the Standard Speed Shop in mid-2021, he was looking to establish a space where he could continue building his unique style of automotive creations under a highly appropriate, stately name. This project is fueled by Jon’s integrity in piecing together the highest quality one-off vehicles that are a celebration of pure, peak performance in regards to big power and agility beneath an unassuming, weathered patina shell. This is the standard that Jon has always abided by, and where the bar will be set for all future four-wheeled endeavors that roll out of his shop’s front door.
Although I love every facet about the build, the combination of unassuming original paint patina and a 1,000hp boosted 6-speed will never get old.
While Jon has completed his fair share of personal classic cars and trucks up until the point of The Standard Speed Shop becoming what it is today, one particular vehicle swayed his decision to take things to the next level. This ’59 Chevy Apache was an important work in progress for Jon, as its overall execution in all aspects was to serve as The Standard Speed Shop’s physical mission statement. From the ride quality to the horsepower and torque under the hood, to the subtly stylized yet highly impressive interior and exterior presentation—the whole package had to come out perfect for the truck to be placed at the forefront of the shop’s grand opening.
Even before Jon started on his ’59 Apache, he had the perfect chassis in mind for it. In fact, the chassis was already in his shop sitting underneath a gray ’58 Apache truck of his that was a completed, running and driving pickup. While nothing was wrong with the ’58, Jon had his vision locked on building a beige patina, big back window Fleetside Apache, so he sold everything off except the frame and began to rework the chassis to prep it for use in the upcoming project.
This ’59 Chevy Apache was an important work in progress for Jon, as its overall execution in all aspects was to serve as The Standard Speed Shop’s physical mission statement.
The frame itself was already in solid as-is condition, but Jon just wanted to blow it apart and redo the air and brake plumbing, electrical wiring, and fuel and A/C systems, along with new Wilwood brake components—just so the new build wouldn’t be based on a simple body swap. The stock rails were utilized in creating the boxed and reinforced frame that now features front Mustang II geometry, a rear 2-link, Slam Specialties ’bags, Ridetech shocks, AccuAir e-Level air management, and Viair compressors to reach the most ideal ride and park heights. To finish off the newly reconditioned chassis, Jon selected a set of 20-inch Rotiform SAC-M wheels, along with Nitto NT tires for a modern twist on both form and function.
To add to the Apache’s overall performance, Jon contacted Accelerated Performance in Toledo, Ohio to build up an LS iron block 6.0L complete with every top shelf, go-fast accessory imaginable, including a Precision 76mm turbo for a hearty helping of boost. Jon built the TIG-welded stainless exhaust system in-house, as well as all of the engine bay panels that have been completely Cerakoted for a perfectly “untouched” appearance. Next, the 6-speed Tremec T56 Magnum transmission was mated to the LS once it was dropped back into place. This signature performance drivetrain setup is the “standard” of classic vehicle builds Jon is expecting The Standard (hence the name) to deliver. Big power will always remain a prerequisite for anything that leaves the premises.
Another mainstay at The Standard Speed Shop is the preservation of gorgeous, natural patina, which Jon is adamant about differentiating from rust. A total of three different trucks were purchased to piece together this one truck. The cab’s original small back window didn’t stand a chance of remaining intact, since Jon was hell-bent on running a big window conversion. With little information available online on how to successfully pull this transformation off, Jon decided to just go for it on his own with the use of a big-back-window-equipped donor cab. The conversion wasn’t as bad as he’d first feared, so while he was in full metalwork mode, he went ahead and created custom inner fenders, a custom firewall, and then widened the rear factory tubs a full 6 inches.
Once Jon was done with his share of the metalwork, he sent the body to Cleveland, Ohio so James Borris could blend the spots that were recently worked on with the original painted patina. Any and all rusted areas of sheetmetal were then either repaired or replaced for good measure. “Just because you’re building a patina-style truck doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for taking proper care of the details,” Jon says. To add further details to the Apache’s façade, a custom raised bed floor consisting of 100-year-old oak planks, as well as a one-off Standard logo gas cap, were put together to earn some truly killer character points for the truck.
The same natural aesthetic of the exterior was incorporated inside the Apache’s cab for continuity’s sake. Beautiful patina adorns the metal dash and door panels, and to give the truck modern function without disturbing the 63-year-old barn-find vibe, a custom panel was made to house a Turbosmart boost controller and AEM wideband inside the glovebox. The AccuAir TouchPad was stashed inside of the ashtray. Restomod air knobs were then positioned at the factory locations so they would not look out of place. Dakota Digital gauges always pair well with classic vehicles, which is the reason Jon made sure to include them inside the Apache’s cab. Believe it or not, a full JL Audio sound system was squeezed in, too, with only the speakers in the custom kick panels making their appearance known. Scott Zielinski of Sew It Seams joined the project by chopping the stock seat frame and upholstering it in Relicate Nightshade distressed leather for a look that is an absolute perfect fit for this Chevy’s interior space.
SETTING THE STANDARD
Completed over a 15-month period (mostly during the ol’ quarantine days), the Apache is now a direct representation of what The Standard Speed Shop is all about. “I went into this build knowing exactly what I wanted the truck to be,” Jon says proudly. “From there, it’s just about making it all happen. Making sure every detail was cohesive and fit the part, right down to the color and style of hardware, is what it takes to pull off a project such as this. Although I love every facet about the build, the combination of unassuming original paint patina and a 1,000hp boosted 6-speed will never get old.”
1959 Chevrolet Apache
- Shop: Accelerated Performance, Toledo, OH
- LS Iron Block 6.0L V-8
- Callies H-beam connecting rods, 4.0L stroker camshaft
- Clevite bearings
- Diamond LSX pistons
- Total Seal HD rings
- Holley Hi-Ram intake, 120-lb/hr fuel injectors
- LS ignition
- Aeromotive a1000 fuel pump
- Brown & Miller fittings
- Billet Specialties valve cover adapters
- TIG-welded, purged 4-inch stainless exhaust by The Standard Speed Shop
- Precision 7668HP-B turbo
- TiAL 50mm blow-off valve and v60 wastegate
- Front-mounted intercooler
- Full Cerakote on engine components
- 6-speed Tremec T56 Magnum transmission
- Custom shifter
- Monster triple disc clutch
- Shop: The Standard Speed Shop, Valencia, PA
- Stock frame rails
- Boxed and reinforced frame
- Mustang II front geometry, rear 2-link
- Slam Specialties front and rear ’bags
- Ridetech shocks
- AccuAir e-Level air management
- Viair compressors
- Custom hard lines powder-coated satin black
- Strange Engineering Ford 9-inch rearend
- Aeromotive fuel tank
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
- 20-inch Rotiform SAC-M wheels
- 265/35/20 and 315/35/20 Nitto NT05 tires
- Wilwood 6-piston front, 4-point rear calipers w/electronic parking brake, 14-inch rotors, master cylinder w/ hydroboost
- Custom stainless hard lines and flex lines w/ Brown & Miller fittings
Paint & Body
- Metalwork, original patina blending by Jerome Borris, Cleveland, OH
- Factory grille and brushguard
- Factory rear wheel tubs widened 6 inches
- Big window conversion
- Custom inner fenders, engine bay panels, firewall
- 100-year-old oak wood bed, one-off gas cap
- Tucked rear bumper
- Shop: Sew It Seams Interiors, Erie, PA
- Chopped stock seat frame, upholstered in Nightshade distressed leather
- Light brown square-weave carpet
- Dakota Digital HDX gauges
- Budnik Shotgun steering wheel
- JL Audio Bluetooth head unit, components, amp, subwoofer
- AEM wideband in glovebox
- Custom patina-look panel to house Turbosmart boost control
- AccuAir controller in ashtray
- Restomod air mods in factory locations
- Wilwood e-brake
- Activation knob
- Ididit column