BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS
An Epic Save From the Scrap Yard
MOST OF US CAN ONLY DREAM ABOUT SPOTTING AND TAKING HOME A BEAT-UP OLD BARN FIND FOR NEXT TO NOTHING. It isn’t that uncommon a sight, but usually the guy who owns the truck isn’t interested in selling because he has grand visions of restoring it himself one day. Either that, or the dude is trying to make a killing off of the rotted relic that he’ll likely say ran like a dream when it was parked back in 1979. The truth is the success stories of scoring a sweet barn find are becoming scarcer as the years go by, but every now and then somebody still manages to strike gold.
“I bought this truck for $500 back in 2008,” says Jim “Epic” Scheiffele. After the required grilling session such a claim prompts, it turns out ol’ Jim is telling the truth (or at least close enough to it). “We have a cabin near Strawberry, Arizona, and we went out for a hike one day and spotted the truck in a field. It looked like the old Chevy had been forgotten about for years, but you never can tell. I couldn’t make any sense of why it would just be sitting there like that out in the elements, but there must’ve been a good story behind why someone had just abandoned it like that.” It turns out someone had given up on the truck, but didn’t really worry much about having it hauled away,
since the gentleman who left it there had room to spare on his land.
“I talked to the property owner and I learned that he had left the truck in his back lot after the original motor blew. He didn’t want to sink any money into putting a new motor in after the other one gave out, so that’s why it had been sitting there all these years. Half the wheels were sunk in the ground, and it was covered with dirt and debris.” The green patina color was what first caught Jim’s attention, and once he got a closer look, he knew that he could revive the Apache. “The gentleman was just happy to get the truck removed from his lot without having to pay someone to do the work. I was more than happy to give him a few bucks and tow it back to my shop where I could get a better look at what would be needed to whip the truck back into shape.”
After taking some notes about what he wanted done, he commissioned a concept rendering to get a better idea of what the truck would like with his planned changes. “My vision for the build looked almost identical to how the rendering came out,”
Jim says proudly. “I wanted to keep the original flavor of the patina intact, and let its real history shine through, instead of painting over all those years of beatings the truck took from the weather. The truck already had a lovable, ratty sense about it when I took it home, and I thought it was important to keep it looking close to when I first saw it in the lot.” The general premise of Jim’s idea was to build a junkyard dog of a truck that was reliable to drive and made big power doing it. Since he was starting from scratch in the engine and drivetrain department, and planned to keep the exterior as-is, the project was very doable.
After sitting for who knows how many years in that dirt lot, the truck ended up sitting for five more while Jim tended to other projects
that were further along. Epic Screenprinting is his place of business, and while he focuses on business cards and T-shirt production, a fair amount of the time he also specializes in vehicle wraps and other hand-selected custom jobs. “By the time we got around to the Apache in 2013, I was ready to rip into it like a madman,” he remembers. “The build ultimately took two years to complete, which wasn’t too bad considering that I did have to start and stop on a few things with it, and I did outsource a good amount of work to some very talented individuals around town.”
Since the truck’s exterior wasn’t going to be altered too much, all Jim had to do was clean the surface and create a logo to apply to the doors. Some modest pinstriping was added around the front fenders and hood, which was the extent of the paint work. Rudy Romero of Streetlife Performance in North Phoenix was recruited to get the chassis in order and to get the twin-turbo-equipped LS1 firing on full blast. The real high point of the build, at least for Jim, was creating an interior space that fit the look and feel of the rest of the truck. “This truck’s interior was a concept I had cooked up with metal master Nick Sinioris at the famous Hubcaps Hotrod
Design.” The aesthetic of dimpledie, bead-rolled aluminum has completely taken over the cab and fits the gritty nature of the truck perfectly. The bench seat and the diamond-tuck effect with the bead-rolled aluminum from the headliner, sun visors and door and kick panels—it all just makes sense and flows so naturally. “Nick took what we had originally discussed for the seating and created an interior art piece for the truck. There was no way we could’ve planned this well for it. The whole thing just evolved while it was happening.”
The dimple-die styling also made its way to the top of the hood, front fenders, rear bumper and bed. The look was just too good to confine to the inside of the cab. Even through all of the truck’s many phases of restyling, however, it maintains a very genuine and authentic aura, thanks to the natural patina finish it has earned through the years. Its rusted, worn-down façade is almost like a badge of honor, an award, of sorts, for surviving after decades of being down for the count. The imperfect surface also stands as proof that these types of finds are still out there for those willing to search. Jim did it, and so can anyone else out in the wild who isn’t afraid of a challenge.
PLAIN WHITE-FACE AUTO METER GAUGES BLEND RIGHT IN AS THEY REPORT THE APACHE’S VITAL SIGNS WITHOUT ATTEMPTING TO OVERPOWER THE DASH.
CUSTOM ALUMINUM DOOR PANELS DO THEIR PART TO LOOK GOOD WHILE SERVING A PURPOSE IN THE CAB.
RIGHT. JIM COOKED UP THIS “EPIC” LOGO DESIGN TO FIT THE TRUCK’S UNIQUE VIBE.
ABOVE. RUDY ROMERO AT STREETLIFE PERFORMANCE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
LS1 BEAST UNDERNEATH THE APACHE’S HOOD. THE HORSEPOWER AND TORQUE NUMBERS THIS SETUP CREATES ARE UNREAL.
LEFT. MATCHING ALUMINUM HEADLINER AND SUN VISORS ARE THE ONLY WAY TO FLY.
NICK SINIORIS AT HUBCAPS HOTROD IS THE MAN BEHIND THE EXECUTION OF THIS TRUCK’S IMPRESSIVE INTERIOR. DIMPLEDIE, DIAMOND-TUCK AND BEAD-ROLLED DESIGNS RUN AMOK THROUGHOUT THE CAB AND BEYOND.
ABOVE. THE BED IS ANOTHER
PRIME EXAMPLE OF HUBCAPS HOTRODS’ DESIGN AND EXECUTION ABILITIES. EVEN THOUGH IT IS FULLY CUSTOMIZED, NOTHING LOOKS OUT OF PLACE.