Updated: Sep 10
Originally built to work the farm the owner of this rat repurposed this workhorse to bootleg high octane moonshine through the backroads of the Midwest.
The truck is appropriately named Apache as the term "bootleg" came into general use in the Midwest in the 1880s to denote the practice of concealing flasks of illicit liquor in boot tops when going to trade with Native Americans.
The truck is a 1961 Chevy Apache C10 sidestep. The "C" means the truck has rear wheel drive there was also a variant with a “K” means a four-wheel drive truck.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the owner of this rat Rich of Rich's Rods (Click to see all of Rich's cars) to learn about his build.
Rich started his hobby collecting and building motorcycles and then adding over nine cars his garage that include a gorgeous completely rebuilt Hudson to the rat truck in this article and everything in between.
The Apache is a well sought after truck due to its short history with this body style only running for two years. The truck was brought up from Texas to northern Illinois. Once Rich connected with the buyer, he knew he had to have the truck.
The style lines of this truck are truly unique and super sexy. The truck was produced during the 60's when the race to the moon was on and futuristic curves of aircraft at the time captured the imagination of Americans. The nacelles on the front hood give the look of a jet engine just waiting to launch, those curves end at a wraparound windshield.
Another feature that stands out is the side-step and spare tire just behind the cab that beautifully breaks up the straight lines of the truck bed.
Although this is not a number matching vehicle the tin is all original and Rich did all the work on the truck himself with the exception of the engine but more on that in a minute.
Running jugs of moonshine along the backroads in the humid climate of the Midwest will cause rust and dents that the owner covered with a matt black paint.
The Apache sits on a ladder frame that allowed the cab to sit lower than before and featured an independent front suspension for car-style handling.
The Apache was built to be a solid workhorse with a straight-six engine 236 (technically 235.5) cubic inch at 130hp and a whopping 27 pounds of torque and was mockingly called the "Cast-Iron Wonder" and "Stovebolt Six" for its seemingly old-fashioned design, but it was famously advertised as "a six for the price of a four" to great success.
The motor was the only thing the owner did not build and instead farmed it out to an expert on six bangers to save time but unfortunately ended being more of a hassle. The said "expert" forgot to put in pressure regulator ball and spring in the motor that replaces a typical oil pump and after a test drive oil started pouring out of the engine. The pressure built up so bad that the lines blew spewing oil all over.
For the rest of the restoration Rich and friends would complete the build including a mild cam and a one-barrel carburetor.
Rich would later go on to say the toughest part of the build was waiting for the engine.
The transmission had issues and had to go through a complete rebuild, when asked what the brand the transmission is, Rich responded with "old".
During the rebuild the owner took the opportunity to move the shifter from three on the tree to three on the floor so the long outlaw style shifter could be added with a skull at the top.
BRAKES AND SUSPENSION
The stopping power did not need to be upgraded due to the low torque and horsepower and remained drums all the way around.
The stocks also were replaced with factory style shocks, Rich described the look as a rat but drives like a new car.
Although the exterior has a rusty rat feel to it the interior has a very clean look and comfortable seats. The inside of the doors was rebuilt, and the shifter described earlier stands out with a skull at the end of the shifter.
The rat emblem sits on the dash and the cabin is littered with stickers that highlight Rich's personality and taste in music.
You can check out the full interview with Rich here:
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