Mr. Rizzo, I’ve got a ’59 Apache that I’d like to hot rod. Since I don’t feel I have the necessary skills to do the majority of the work myself, I’ll have to hire a shop. That gets expensive really fast. Someone suggested putting the Apache body on the chassis of a late model vehicle as a way of saving a lot of money and getting a lot or newer-model components, including suspension. If it’s such a good idea, why have I yet to see anyone in Classic Trucks magazine doing it? I don’t necessarily expect to have a show truck when I’m finished, but I do want something I’m not embarrassed to lift the hood on. I respect your opinion and I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate your step-by-step articles.
Hi Jim, thanks for taking the time to write. As far as your ’59 goes, a chassis swap is not out of the realm of possibility though a job like that would entail almost as much skill as would redoing/re-outfitting your original. Depending upon what shops are available to you in your locality, the chassis swap may well be a bit cheaper than a standard build but you’ll have to approach the shops you have in mind to make sure they agree. If a chassis swap is what you do decide on, the most important item to keep in mind is finding a chassis that’s as close to the same wheelbase and track width as your original as you can. Once you do, the main fabrication/modification you’ll run into is making and locating body mounts that match your cab to the donor chassis. Since I don’t know where you stand in regard to fellow classic truck or gearhead friends is concerned, you may be able to recruit a pal or two to give you a hand both planning your project and pulling it off. Anyway, best of luck. Your project will surely be a learning experience—just try and make it a pleasant one, take it slow, and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Riz