Don’t dream it, build it is RMD Garage’s catch phrase, and the talented team there has definitely done that with this ’58 Chevy Apache fleet-side. For business owner Ralph Holguin, the building process began when he started his own detailing gig, Ralph’s Mobile Detailing (the “RMD” in the title of the new venture). The shop is now the stage for its own eponymously named show on the Velocity channel. Success has not come overnight, and Ralph has worked hard to get to this point.
Like many of us, Ralph is into anything on wheels, which is why he started a detailing service when he was 19. While working hard at his new job, he got involved with vehicle launches, doing the labor at major shows. This got the RMD name noticed in the industry as he built displays for large companies, dealerships and even big auto makers. Although it’s good work, Ralph enjoys building vehicles most and continued to do so as a small-scale production until Velocity approached him about doing a show. Things took off from there, and RMD Garage ramped up its efforts to film an eight-episode season.
One of the vehicles Ralph decided to build for the television show was this ’58 Chevy Apache. He and his daughter noticed it as they passed by on their regular daily route. Though it was in a rough state, his daughter, Jesslene, recognized its true beauty and suggested that he purchase and customize it. This went on for about a year, until one day the truck was gone. Jesslene let her dad know that she thought he’d made a mistake by not buying the Apache when he had the chance. Little did they know that the owner had simply moved the truck for street sweeping, and the next day it was back in its usual spot. Ralph wasn’t going to let opportunity slip through his fingers again, so he met up with the owner, ready to strike a deal.
Ralph’s show needed vehicles to construct, and the Apache was first on deck; it didn’t hurt that the truck was a father-daughter project, either. The crew got right to work, and the truck was blown apart to reveal its bones so that the team could assess its true condition. It’s never a good idea to build a project when you don’t know what’s underneath. Paint can lift up and pieces can erode due to rust. Tearing down the Apache was a particularly good idea because there was rust on the cab, and donor pieces were required to replace the affected areas.
While the crew was working on the body, Ralph developed a plan for the meat and potatoes of the Apache. He wanted it to go fast, and to do so a modern, high-quality chassis would be necessary to maintain traction. Ralph called the folks at Total Cost Involved (TCI) for a new complete chassis. This was a smart choice because TCI has a long history of helping builders fully update the drivability of classic vehicles. The chassis Ralph chose improved steering and ride comfort, while the coil-over suspension helped transfer power to the pavement. Speaking of power, Ralph chose a brand-new LS3 engine and TREMEC six-speed transmission to power the Apache. On the back end, a Currie 9-inch rearend was included with the TCI chassis.
With the foundation on the way, the body was not only shaping up, it was getting some improvements. The body lines were accentuated on the sides, and the gutters were removed from the top. The wiper cowl was shaved, the tailgate was smoothed, a roll pan was added and custom exhaust tips were fitted. Under the hood, everything was reworked to flow better, and the firewall was smoothed and made to match the cowl. In the bed, the sides were smoothed, and the wheel tubs and the floor were made from ½-inch acrylic. After all of the body panels were gapped and worked smooth, the truck was covered in two-tone of BASF R-M Silver and Dark Shadow Gray. Topping off the exterior are 22- and 24-inch Raceline Eruption 5 wheels with Toyo Proxes STII tires.
The inside of the cab was completely redesigned to match the classy look of the rest of the truck. The dash was shaved clean and a multitude of accessories were installed. The top was modified to fit a custom seamless headliner, and a center console was handcrafted from scratch. Bucket seats from a Lexus SC300 were modified to fit the luxurious interior. Custom door panels and tons of high-grade leather round out the interior.
When all was said and done, the truck was made presentable and rolled to our photo shoot, which was showcased on the TV show. Shortly after, the possibility of a sale to Pablo Veglia was discussed, but a deal was never struck. You might wonder why Ralph would sell the truck that he and his daughter love so much? It’s all part of a plan to build a nest egg for her future. Since the truck remains in the RMD stable, they’ll enjoy it until it’s time to move on to the next project. After seeing the outcome of their hard work, we wouldn’t be surprised if the next truck completely blows our minds.
The Roadster Shop
1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleet-side
Long Beach, CA
- Shop: RMD Garage
- GM LS3 crate motor from Turn Key Engine Supply, Oceanside, CA
- Custom engine cover
- Custom air intake
- Energy Suspension motor mounts
- Custom polished stainless 3-inch exhaust with Borla mufflers and custom tips
- Matson’s custom radiator and Fanman electric fans
- Aluminum gas tank
- Ron Francis wiring harness
- TREMEC six-speed manual transmission with custom shifter
- Currie 9-inch rearend
CHASSIS & SUSPENSION:
- Shop: RMD Garage
- Total Cost Involved full chassis with rack-and-pinion steering, IFS, front sway bar, rear 4-link and pan-hard bar
- Ridetech coil-overs
- Wilwood disc brakes
WHEELS & TIRES:
- 22×8 and 24×10 Raceline Eruption 5 billet wheels with powder-coated centers
- 265/35R22 and 295/30R24 Toyo Proxes STII
BODY & PAINT:
- Shop: RMD Garage
- Shaved door handles, front bumper bolts, roof gutters, mirrors, tailgate, gas cap, badges and wiper cowl with added design
- Accentuated body lines
- Reworked upper door frames
- Roll pan with exhaust cut-outs
- Deleted bed seam
- Shaved inner bed with custom wheel tubs
- Clear bed floor made of ½-inch translucent black acrylic
- Single-piece side glass
- Shaved firewall with added design
- Custom front inner fenders
- Eddie Motorsports hood hinges
- Reworked hood support brackets
- 7-inch headlights
- United Pacific LED taillights
- All body panels gapped for a clean finish
- 200 hours of body work
- Custom two-tone BASF R-M Silver and Dark Shadow Gray paint
- 10 hours of paint work
INTERIOR & STEREO:
- Shop: RMD Garage
- Shaved dash
- Classic Instruments gauges
- Vintage Air AC system
- Classic Performance products steering column
- Raceline steering wheel
- Custom center console
- Lexus SC300 bucket seats with headrest cut off
- Custom door panels
- Lokar Performance Products door handles
- Custom seamless headliner
- High-grade Silver Gray and Oxford White leather upholstery
- Kicker PXi50 head unit, 6 ¾-inch speakers, 10-inch subwoofers and 800×4 amplifier
- Battery mounted on the frame