It’s been 59 years since this 1958 Chevy first rolled off the assembly line, if indeed it really is a 1958-year model. An argument starter for sure, take a look at the Apache 3100 emblems on the side of the front fenders and they are from a 1959. But it’s really not a big deal what year this truck is, it’s all about what’s been done to make it stand out from the crowd. That said, there never really was a big herd of Tri-Five Fleetside Chevy and GMC pickups roaming the earth. The Fleetside bed came out in late 1958, and when the 1960 models came out the original Fleetside bed design was gone.
The Ayres family, Frank and Tina of Sacramento, California, wanted more performance and comfort from their 1958 Chevy shortbed Fleetside than it came equipped from the factory. The only apparent option, its short Fleetside bed in place of the base Stepside bed was a good start to obtain what they were after. The first step in a project that took around five years to complete was to upgrade the 1958’s handling and ride characteristics, not to mention dropping its stance from a stodgy old stock truck to something that looks cool.
The suspension changes made to the stock 1958 Chevy 1/2-ton frame were done at the now-defunct WyoTech campus in West Sacramento, California. In front the stock straight axle with drum brakes and recirculating ball steering met with the scrap bin, and a Heidts Mustang II was installed. The Heidts Mustang II in one sweep converted the 1958 to IFS (independent front suspension) precise rack-and-pinion steering, and beefy Wilwood disc brakes added as an available option from Heidts.
Aiding the lowered stance there’s a pair of 2-1/2-inch drop spindles bridging the gap between Heidts A-framestyle tubular upper and lower control arms. Coil springs with Monroe telescopic shock absorbers damp the bumps. To drop the rear WyoTech students box-notched the framerails to allow de-arched leaf springs by Sacramento Spring to tuck the Chevy 10-bolt differential with 3.9 rearend gears deeper into the rear fenderwells.
From WyoTech the Ayres’ Chevy pickup went to Blue Collar Customs in Sacramento where Blue Collar’s crew of old-school devotees completed the project. Underhood the Blue Collar guys shaved and gapped the 1958’s stock 235-inch Stovebolt-six, which was canned in favor a 350-inch small-block Chevy V-8. For induction an Edelbrock aluminum intake with an Edelbrock AFB carburetor sits beneath a chrome air cleaner. Cal Custom finned aluminum valve covers cap the heads. The exhaust system begins with a pair of block-hugger headers dumping into 2-1/2-inch pipes into dual mufflers into two tailpipes flanking a receiver-type trailer hitch.
The 1958’s Lokar-shifted TH350 automatic transmission was rebuilt by Josh Fox at Blue Collar Customs. The dashboard features laminated Plexiglas teardrop knobs with a stock 1958 Chevy gauge cluster fronting for a 1954 Chevy passenger car steering wheel. The stock 1958 pickup steering column was adapted to accept the Heidts steering rack. For carpet and upholstery the 1958 went to Ward Auto Interiors. Ward laid gray square-weave carpet over Dynamat insulation, and recovered the later-model C10 bench seat in gray and Oxblood vinyl. The exposed steel areas found in a stock 1955-1959 interior were left exposed and painted two-tone gray and Oxblood to match the exterior. A Lokar chrome spoon pedal replaced the stock gas pedal, and the floor starter found adjacent in six-cylinder trucks was converted to a key switch. Blue Collar wired the truck with an American Autowire wiring harness, and Kidwell’s Glass handled installing the windshield and window glass.
The two-tone exterior finished in gray and Oxblood Valspar paint products was accomplished by Holland Hollingsworth, followed by pinstriper Dillon Proctor pulling stripes inside and out in One-Shot striping enamel. The finishing touch was installing a set of four Wheelsmith 15-inch steelies capped with beauty rings and spiders stuffed into 670-15 Coker Firestone wide whitewalls.
1958 Chevy 3100 Fleetside