BLOOD, SWEAT & GEARS

An Epic Save From the Scrap Yard

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - TEXT BY JOHN MATA JR. PHOTOS BY KEVIN AGUILAR

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.

FAR RIGHT.

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

TWIN TURBOEQUIPPED

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.

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