Starting day two of Hot Rod’s Week to Wicked build in partnership with Sta-Bil Performance Chemicals, the 1958 Chevrolet Apache pickup sat sans front clip and the front end was stripped down to the bare frame. Once the foundation was prepped for welding, the CPP Mustang II front cross-member as well as the top hats were welded into place before being given a coat of black paint to prevent future corrosion. Then the tubular control arms, spindles, coil overs, disc brakes, as well as rack and pinion steering were bolted on to make this truck drive more like a modern vehicle. With the cross-member welded into place the truck was ready to receive its new heart.
For the power plant of this machine we decided to go with an LS3 Connect and Cruise crate engine from Chevrolet Performance packing 430 horsepower accompanied by a 4L65E automatic overdrive transmission from Gearstar Performance Transmissions. This combo was chosen because we know it is tried and true and will keep this car reliable on Power Tour while delivering stellar performance. The build team mated the engine and transmission together and then mocked up the adjustable engine mounts and transmission mount from CPP to the frame before they were welded in permanently.
After the engine and trans were mounted back in the truck, up it went on the lift so that the original rear end and saggy, old leaf springs could be yanked out to make room for the new Currie 9” rear end and new leaf springs along with disc brakes from CPP. The rear suspension was completely installed and the rear end mocked up before being pulled out for final welding and a coat of paint. Even while the pickup was still on the lift, one of the guys was up inside the cab prepping for the rest of the work by starting the installation of the Painless Wiring kit accompanied by a gauge cluster from Dakota Digital. This team effort just goes to show how one of these builds can be done in only a week’s time, and we’re excited to see this thing come together.