1957 Chevy Apache - My First Hot Rod Truck

6/30/2024
Ron Smith
When I was a little boy, my grandfather that I call Pappy started having me wash his antique cars and trucks. Sometimes when I was working on his 1947 Dodge pickup, I would get inside and pretend like I was driving. It’s really neat with the split windshield that cranks out, white leather bucket seats, and a Budweiser floor shift with a beer keg for a gas tank that’s mounted right behind the cab on top of the wooden bed floor. I would turn that big steering wheel and pretend to drive for miles and miles. I think I knew right then that when I got older, I wanted to get me an old truck.
 
 
So, over the last several years I’ve cut and sold a lot of firewood from my other grandfather’s farm. I call him Grandpa. I also did a lot of odd jobs, mowed lawns all around town, and did just weed eating for several others. And I saved all of my money that I made. Then when I was fifteen, I found just what I’d been looking for. It was a 1957 Chevy Apache 3100 Rat Rod pickup truck.
 
My ride is some kind of awesome! It has a 327 small block, a Turbo 350 transmission with 3 in the floor, and custom drop-off exhaust pipes. It has a unique rusty patina exterior to go with custom Detroit steel wheels. The interior is creamy patina rust colored with matching door panels, and an original but re-leathered bench seat.
 
While researching the history of my truck, I found out that the man I got it from had bought it from a guy named Zeke that had purchased it when he was only thirteen years old. He had got a lot of work done on the engine, and my dad and I pulled the old transmission and put in the Turbo 350 along with a new 3500 stall converter. We’re still doing some minor work on the mirrors and tail lights.
 
Pappy had told me a story about how the guys and gals used to take their trucks back on a hill in a meadow, and then park them in a big circle with the headlights turned on and facing into the center of the circle. They would then tune their radios to the same station and turn the volume up as loud as possible. Listening to the music, they would all dance in the center of the circle. I thought that was neat and wanted to give it a try. After getting permission from a local farmer, I got a few kids together and up the road to the farmer’s big meadow on the very top of a hill we went.
 
We got our trucks all lined up in a circle, lights on, radios blaring the music out full blast, and we partied and danced the night away (at least as much of the night as our curfews allowed). Then when we got ready to leave, one of my friends realized that his truck had quit running, and none of us had heard it. The battery was completely dead. We were all rolling on the ground laughing at him. Fortunately, one guy had a set of jumper cables. So, all in all, we had a great time.
 
I just took my truck to the 33rd Annual Summer Knights Cruz In also called the Ralph Waggy Memorial at the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum here in Weston, WV on June 20th. There were 152 cars and trucks entered at the car show, and they were picking the top 50 rides for trophies. I was picked 2nd overall out of all of the 152 contestants.
 
I can’t thank my grandpa enough for having me around his Corvette, Chevelle, and especially the old Dodge truck, and exposing me to the wonderful world of old vintage and classic hot rods. I’m addicted.
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