454 Project! 1961 Chevrolet Apache Crew Cab

Offering a potential cross-section of two custom trends, this 1961 Chevrolet Apache Crew Cab outside San Bernadino, California offers the potential to build a custom C10 that is also a crew cab. The first-generation Chevrolet C10 has become a hot ticket among builders, swallowing modern twin-turbo engines and handling suspensions, even autocross setups. Meanwhile, companies like Rtech build vintage crew-cab trucks with modern conveniences. The seller of this C10 may have had similar dreams and offers the truck here on craigslist with its original inline six-cylinder in non-running condition, but ALSO including suspension parts and a rebuilt 454 cid (7.4L) Chevy big block! Anyone salivating over the potential finished project can pay $15,000 for everything and start working. Thanks to reader Pat L. for spotting this rare crew cab Chevy.

Though it may not be long for this world, a four-speed manual transmission backs up the sensible I6 motor. Most of these early crew-cab trucks were fleet orders for commercial customers like the highway, forestry, and railroad crews. Many saw a rough life and were used up and throw away like lunch napkins. We covered this truck in 2017 when it was prepared for an LS motor and related goodies. Plans have changed and the new owner may have a completely different vision.

That dented tailgate tells a story of just one beating taken by this beast of burden. Imagine the surprise among 1960s railroad workers who may have ridden in this C10 upon learning it might become a high-dollar showcase with a hopped-up drive-train. The combination of a short bed with four doors may seem normal and sensible today, but decades ago most pickup trucks, in general, were simple mechanical tools, like a road-going tractor, built to accomplish work and little else.

This picture looked like a photograph of a computer monitor, so it’s uncertain whether it’s the actual engine or a representative similar engine. Maybe the third time will be the charm for this interesting project truck. When’s the last time you saw a first-gen crew-cab C10?

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Comments

  1. JimmyinTEXAS

    I would like to have something like this. I would hope for less rot or a lot less money. I wonder if he would take less and keep his rebuilt engine?

    Like 4
  2. Mike

    Bed seems tacked on and out of place. I do like the other 2/3 of it.

    Like 3
  3. Skorzeny

    The ugliest hood Chevy ever put on a truck.

    Like 3
    • Josh

      So ugly it’s cool.

      Like 5
    • man ' war

      I almost bought a Suburban from the same gen with that hood 9-10 years ago. It didn’t look bad on the yellow burb. 3 on the tree. Looked good except for some rust on the frame so I passed. Saw the burb in a little used car lot about a year later then never saw it again. Sometimes passing them up is the best thing. I have come across some that that would have been nice to say about now:)

      Like 1
  4. Howard A Member

    I say keep the 6. What makes this so unusual, at the time, these were unheard of in the public sector. Construction crews, forestry or railroads, used these to transport crews to work sites. Never in a million years did we ever think this would become the standard vehicle for Americans. As long as you aren’t pulling a living room, the 6 would have plenty of power and more user friendly today. Another, if you’re going to make something old useful again, here you go.

    Like 10
    • 370zpp

      I was one of those drivers back in the day, on a work crew, for the D&H Railroad. Twice a week we would put it on the tracks and patrol the main line between Fort Edward and Saratoga, NY. And yes, six cylinders were all we ever needed,

      Like 8
  5. Edd L. Brock

    This looks like a Matchbox car I tried to superglue back together. It doesn’t look good, but it ain’t ugly either. Personally, though, I would keep the cab, custom fab a new frame for a crew cab long 4×4, restore/redo/rebuild the cab from the ground up, custom fab a new bed and 4WD transmission, and put it all together. But what do I know? I’m 17.

    Like 6
  6. Robert Hauxwell

    I bought one years ago from Fleet Carrier Corp. It was used to pick up drivers that drove school bus chassis from Pontiac (GM TRUCK AND COACH) to Lima Ohio (I believe it was Superior bus at the time) to have bodies installed. The chassis was just that, a front end and dash (called a cowl) no windshield (except a 2×2 with clear plastic stapled to it during winter months) no other protection for the driver. A wood box strapped to the frame and no seatbelts.This process took place year round. UAW employees from the plant would moonlight after their shift was over and make as many trips as they could before their normal shift at the plant began. It ended when the carriers(Fleet Carrier and Truckaway) were required to haul the chassis on lowboy trailers.
    My uncle and I used that truck for many years advertised as “U call, We haul”. And we did, but those are other stories!!

    Like 3
  7. Steve Clinton

    The truck looks as bad as the photos!

    Like 1
    • Edd L. Brock

      Just get some Duck Tape! You can fix anything with Duck Tape.

      Like 1
  8. Too late

    I heard / read Chevy didn’t make an actual crew cab ,apparently they used the front doors for the rear doors.and welded another cab on.

    Like 2
  9. Alex TACO Jenkins

    Well Edd L,You may not feel like you know a lot now,but hey,Your looking at barn finds,You’ve got good ideas mentioned for this C-10,all you need now,is follow your your dreams. I would guess you love cars,I did wen I was young too! I started with Hot Wheels & Matchbox cars,then Bicycles,MiniBikes,Motorcycles then finally…Cars! And from then on I havent stopped loving em,workin on em,rebuilding em,customizing em the way I wanted em.I got a job wit GM Dealer in 1984,Cadillac/Olds.
    Started doin side jobs at home about 1990.Now here we are in 2021,I retired from the Dealer about halfway thru 2019. Ive got a 3 stall shop in my backyard,2 lifts,1 flat stall & an office/breakroom/ man cave lounge a lil bigger than the size of 1 stall. I took advantage of ALL the GM training GM offered,along wit everything the old timers I worked wit over the years. Now I’m the old timer & I loved being able to teach younger guys comin into the automotive trade.Ive worked hard all these years,in this Fla heat,& the 2 months of cold we get here,abused my body some,but I still love it. You hang in there Edd L,follow ur dreams,Theres nothing better than to see people looking at a vehicle you’ve built or fixed up urself and hearing the good comments they say.Good Luck to you young man
    Dont give up,YOU CAN DO IT!

    Like 3
  10. chrlsful

    Robert’n Alex found the good life!

    Well, I enjoy (esp the 1st few yrs) it when I see these early ‘crews” as I know all about them w/a glance (as do the rest of us). 2WD means “a lill ‘stuff’ in the back, mostly CREW inside.” 4WD might mean “more in the back, linesmen, loggers, miners, or oil field inside.” All ways surprised when seeing the mini p/u (imports) w/the crew when of the ’70s era build (hardly any imported, eh?)

  11. James B Rogers

    Good luck to the seller and buyer,I would give him 4k for the body and he could keep the rest.

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