Black Plate Dually: 1959 Chevrolet Apache


Do you want some black plates? BF readers know that black plates matter. Here is a 1959 Apache short bed service dually parked in Ukiah, California for $4,550 or best offer. This service truck compete with the black plates is listed here on craigslist.

'59 CHEVY APACHE engine

This barn find sat for 19 years. It is reported to be all original and best of all it does run! Fred, the seller, says that a new battery, fuel filter, plugs and an oil change were done and yes she did start up. There are no details given concerning the fuel tank, if it was drained, cleaned and/or boiled out. The two front tires were also changed. Fred says that the brakes are in working order, how great is that?


The odometer shows 26K. We don’t know how many, if any, times this has been turned over? The gauges, lights and even the lift-gate are all are in working order.


It is nice to have a working “back saver” lift gate!


Would this be a nice rig to haul your race vehicle to events? How would you use this rig? There are some dings and rust, remember this is a 1959 work truck. The next owner may want to recover the bench seat or just throw a Mexican blanket over the seat. There are more images with the ad for your review. What a great barn find work truck!



  1. Bobsmyuncle

    This Barn Find reader couldn’t care less about ‘black plates’.

    And since most of us educated car guys know that a car that has spent it’s life in (for example) New Mexico, or the Arizona or Nevada desert is among the driest, why do so many of us get sucked into the California ego trip but couldn’t tell you the colour of those plates?

    Truck is darned cool though!

    Like 1
    • ydnar


      Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      You’re obviously not one of those “educated car guys”, at least on the popularity and impact of black license plates on a pre-1969 vehicle in California.

      If they qualify, they can be re-assigned to a vehicle under the “Year Of Manufacture License Plate Program”, a hobbyist benefit I wrote and which became law, effective July, 1983. A clean, near mint set of 1956-1969 yellow or black plates can bring $300 – $500, depending on the alpha characters and how early (starting with ‘A’) they are in the alphabetical sequence.

      They have other uses, too, like slapping them on a rust-belt car for a photo, then claiming the car was from California.

      Like 1
      • Bobsmyuncle

        I’m VERY clear on it. Their value for reassignment is secondary to that alluded to here and elsewhere.

        The PRIMARY reason being some belief that all California cars are rust free in combination with some romantic notion of vintage Californian motoring.

        That is why I point out the irony that few folks outside the desert states that I mentioned know the respective plate colours yet EVERYONE knows black and blue California plates.

        Like 1
  2. ydnar

    Another nice truck, thanks. I’d put a nice wood flat bed on it, and use it to haul hay etc.

    Like 1
  3. Woodie Man

    Too Cool Fer Skool……….I’d have to ditch the lift gate though…too much weight. Wonder what the gearing of the rear end is….pretty low I’d imagine. As for the plates… plates matter!

    Like 1
  4. MountainMan

    Looks like its ready to return to work. Like the color and the scars…maybe a flat bed like ydnar suggested but I wouldnt make any other changes…just use and enjoy

    Like 1
  5. Jason Houston

    I don’t think GM will ever realize the damage they did to that beautiful 1955 cab design when they glued those ugly dual headlamps on!

    Like 1
    • St. Ramone de V8

      I agree.’58 everything had to get quads, and it really didn’t work on some shapes. This was one, IMO.

      Like 1
  6. Kieron

    I live in the uk and don’t understand the black plate thing
    Could somebody educate me please

    Like 1
    • Bobsmyuncle

      This sums it up;

      In the North American classic car circle many folks (mostly Californians) go nuts for a car that legimately runs it’s original black plates.

      This generally but not certainly means the car was bought and registered in California. This also CAN mean the car has been under single ownership, and thus has spent it’s life in the state.

      Many wrongly assume that a car that has spent it’s life in California is free of significant rust. This is of course absolutely NOT the case.

      Others (mostly Californians) like the romantic image of a 60s car ‘born and raised’ in the thick of California car culture.

      Unfortunately for those that care reissues of classic plates along with black contemporary plates have sullied the image.

      Like 1
      • Jason Houston

        Both black-based and yellow-based plates are now being issued in the contemporary configurations, that is, seven characters, alpha and numeric. The far better-looking originals were restricted to 6 characters. They’re also prohibitively expensive as hell (like everything in The Greedy State).

        Like 1
      • Wayne S.K.

        Hey, if “Black Plates” were good enough for Frank Bullitt and the two heavies in the black charger, they’re good enough for me! (Well, not REALLY…)

        Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      The popularity and impact of black license plates on a pre-1969 vehicle is mostly in California, where they were issued between 1963 and 1969..

      If they qualify, they can be re-assigned to a vehicle under the “Year Of Manufacture License Plate Program”, a hobbyist benefit I wrote and which became law, effective July, 1983. A clean, near mint set of 1956-1969 yellow or black plates can bring $300 – $500, depending on the alpha characters and how early (starting with ‘A’) they are in the alphabetical sequence.

      In California, the plates are assigned to and stay with the car for life, irrespective of how many times it is sold and transferred, which is why they are so endearing.

      They have other uses, too, like slapping them on a rust-belt car for a photo, then claiming the car was from California.

      Hope this helps.

      Like 1
    • Doug Towsley

      Theres a market in the UK for California plates, especially for VW Vans, Many UK owners slap on a pair at shows, wear (Ick!) flowered shirts, and slap a surfboard on the roof. Theres a website called “The Samba” where classified for Cali plates see some big numbers sometimes. Not always, but have seen plates trade for 400-600. same with Feebay. I collect vintage motorcycles primarily, and California period plates are also very desired there as well. Here in Oregon, period plates can be reassigned as well, and the prices have been climbing for some time. I have period plates for my 45, 50, 51 and 52, 54, and many of the 1960s. I also have some period Blue/Yellow pacific wonderland plates as well. State of Oregon reissued Pacific Wonderland plates but just like the Cali plates, you can easily tell period from repop.

      Like 1
    • Stagman

      Similar in principal to the black/silver plates in the U.K

      Like 1
      • Doug Towsley

        I understand that the UK situation is even more detailed. I have a lot of friends in the UK and original rego’s and vintage plates are a super big deal from what I have seen. If anything, they are even more valuable. I just sent info to 2 different people to contact the BSA owners club and the VMCC for period machine dating and certification for some vintage BSAs. Many will then try to reclaim their original numbers and registrations. It seems thats a huge boost in value over there. We imported a Norton years ago, and we sold the plates and registration back to a guy in England. He was very happy to get it.

        Like 1
  7. John Holden

    The notes on this site are 99% friendly and useful – and make really enjoyable daily reading.

    I fail to understand how anyone (in this case ‘Bobsmyuncle’) can take what I can only imagine is perverse pleasure in being so thoroughly and unnecessarily aggressive.

    I think it sours the spirit of Barn Finds.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      I’ve reread my comments and truly don’t see the aggression that you perceive. I’m sorry that you do.

      I’d argue that JH’s response was the passive aggressive one, and if you consider it, so was yours LOL.

      But I couldn’t care less.

      I’d also argue that spending time searching and posting g links to answer the question displays exactly what this site is about.


      Like 1
    • Jason Houston

      I tend to agree with you, but when the salutation says “Speak Your Mind”, on its face it implies an aggressive stance. And the incident you cited is hardly the first, nor will it be the last.

      • Bobsmyuncle

        I’d love to engage you further I REALLY would as your history of negativity is so very telling and disruptive. But I’ll respect the site instead. Too bad we can’t PM. Instead get into the garage and burn off some energy there! Have a good weekend.

        Like 1
  8. JW

    I would also ditch the utility box and try to find a later model dually box that would fit but not take away from the looks of the original truck cab. Very cool truck. As for the California thing I’ve never been much in to that stuff even during the hippie 60’s. I guess my heart and soul belong to the Midwest, except though looking for cleaner but maybe not perfect cars.

  9. Marty Member

    Black Plates Matter. Love it. I’ll have one



    T-shirt to go, please!

  10. van

    We have wondered off the subject.
    This is a cool truck
    Tow a race car, work for Habitat for Humanity or take the Scout Troup camping.
    This would be the old golden retriever that wags his tail when you say let’s go boy.

  11. jim s

    i see a an old work truck that needs to be put back to work. the lift gate is a big plus. if the storage bins do or can be made to lock that is another plus. 6 cyl/manual is a good set up or can be upgraded. great find.

  12. Rancho Bella

    If you have a vehicle registered in California you can buy “new” black plates. So, It has lost it’s appeal unless someone can prove the plate was on the old car from day one.

    Yep, needs a flat bed so I can haul feed

    • Jason Houston

      Since the new yellow and black-based plates are seven characters, and the originals were six, there can be no confusing which was period and which is contemporary.

  13. TdF83

    I know this truck. It has been sitting for a long time down town. The photos show it now somewhere else. Good to see it up for sale finally.

  14. Mark S

    Cool truck I personally would loose the utility box and seek out a period step side box. I’d then refurbish the mechanical side of things, then straighten out the body with a repaint in a more appealing colour. It would then be a great Home Depot weekend hauler. As for the California black plate romance. Couldn’t care less, as with many things in life it is over rated.

    • Jason Houston

      “Black plates over-rated”? HA! You won’t feel that way after you’ve listed on eBay…

      • Doug Towsley

        Again Jason, you should do some research on FeeBay before you post. While many collectors DO value California black plates, and even the blue & yellows they are not exactly selling like hot cakes either. Whenever i spot any for low prices I pick them up, often great trading material. But I wouldnt rate them too highly.

        Here is a COMPLETED item adv search on FeeBay Mtrs, thats everything in last 60 days under adv search California plates. The sales prices are shall we say uhhhmm, Underwhelming:
        Now truth is, maybe the market has changed because i HAVE seen them in the past SOMETIMES sell for big money. But that doesnt mean quit your day job. Now,. if you or someone else feels strongly that you need a set, I currently have some Black & yellow car/trucks plates for California. Id like $200 a set, but as you can see, not a lot of them selling. Maybe we should look around again after tax returns?

  15. Drew L.

    This is a find for sure!! As a carpenter I would love to have a classic truck with utility bed! Looks like the drivers door is banged up but otherwise in great shape. If it had been on my side of the U.S. I would go after it. I hope whoever gets it retains the utility box, lift gate could go for a standard tailgate.

  16. Jim

    Perfect for hauling to the track. Late model big block or Duramax and overdrive trans, 4wheel disc brakes and it’ll walk up and down the mountains pulling a car trailer. Someone said GM ruined the truck with dual headlamps, I love ’em and only two years makes them more unique, they used singles for 50yrs(?).

  17. Tom S.

    Very nice truck. I wouldn’t change anything. Fabulous yard art.

  18. Doug Towsley

    For the lic. plate collectors, heres a couple out of my stash. The black & yellow California plates I want $200 for the pair. (If i dont get my price im slapping them on a ratrod project I will be selling soon and taking it to events in Calif) The Blue & Yellows came from a Vintage Jag I had sitting here. (420 Jaguar, pretty weird looking but cool cars, cars since sold. Was fun yard art, but i am in downsize mode) The personalized plates were some sort of reference to the Jags, should be open for re-assignment I want $100 for the pair. I also have some vintage Alabama plates and I think maybe some Georgia’s I would rather sell them to a collector enthusiast here than FeeBay, and Would kick 15% of any sales towards the Barnfinds site in return. Seems fair in return. Ping me if serious and ill give you contact info. Im in Oregon USA and willing to ship anywhere USA or most countries International.

    • Jason Houston

      Sorry if I pissed you off dude. First, I would never quit any job just to be screwed, plowed, cheated, ram-rodded or looted by the spineless cowards who run eBay. Lies pour off their lips like sugar from a bag – from the president all the way down to the rude customer support [sic] dingbat who hasn’t been trained in anything yet.

      I don’t doubt you are correct about prices dropping. In fact, that goes for EVERYTHING that has any degree of baby-boomer identification, and has been for the past two decades. As a practical matter, Calif. did enjoin early blue plates (1969-1972) into the YOM program recently, but they are neither expensive nor hard to find. And ELP’s were never eligible for YOM use.

      Black- and yellow-based plates are another matter. The earlier the plates, the more unique the configuration, the nicer they are, the stronger the price, and that’s from Californians. I just sold a gorgeous set of early 1956 (technically 1955, as that’s when they were issued) for $475 and had several takers.

      I’m surprised at the prices you want for those plates, since you are representing yourself to be an expert on pricing. Your black plates were issued in 1968, they are not too difficult to find, and are in only fair condition. They also have the wrong stickers for YOM use. ELP’s – especially those with no obvious meaning – are good for wall art and little else. However, I still get a chuckle when people tell me they’re downsizing and need to get rid of stuff, but if they don’t get their inflated price, they’ll just keep it! I lobbied to eliminate street rods from using YOM plates, but lost that battle, so now there’s a lot of otherwise nice plates going to waste on non-authentic cars.

      If you want to see a $200 set of black CA plates, find some from 1963 or ’64, in stone mint condition, and with the proper stickers. And if you want a legitimately desirable, and transferable, set of personalized plates, I have a highly desirable Edsel configuration from AZ but it’s gonna cost you a Big Nickel.

      • Doug Towsley

        I wont quibble about your first hand knowledge about California plates. I think we can both agree here the prices have dropped over the last 5 years or so. I also am not claiming to be an expert either. Im only smart enough to go ask others who are, or often simply just research a topic before offering advice. If i have first hand knowledge, i share it. But i have been known to be wrong at least once. My wife told me all about it.
        What i DID do, is post a link to a ADV search for sales results on ebay in response to your comment. Results show that in the last 60 days at least, high end prices for black and yellow plates have been less that stellar. This is in line with time of year but supports my opinion that while collectors value them, they are not the gold standard some people think. But you never know. Some goofball paid over $30,000 at Vegas a few weeks ago at the Mecum auction for a customized Triumph Bobber so none of us ever expected that. Auctions can and will produce weird precedents and are not the norm.

        As to my plates, I am ambivalent about selling them. I have a LOT of stuff to downsize, so other issues take more precedence. The plates dont take up much room compared to some of my cars and trucks or my 5 40′ foot shipping containers packed full of parts. Further, I have a ratrod I am seriously considering using the plates on, so If someone stepped up and wanted them, so be it. But if not my focus is on other priorities. Need any motorcycles? I have restoration candidates as well as customs. Mostly British, a few Asian, and a couple Buells. And just like those California plates Buell prices will rise back up again someday. But right now Buells are not going for much at all.

        Im not sure about years of California plates either, I know a guy locally who buys and sells license plates and is well known on the west coast as an expert. While i have decent metal working skills, he offeres reconditioning services as well as extensive collections of plates. Look up Jims vintage in Gresham Oregon if interested. My main interest right now is a set of Oregon 1939s for my 1939 Plymouth Coupe. as well as a 1939 Dodge coupe. Wouldnt mind another set of Pacific Wonderland Oregon plates for my wifes Chevelle, I have a set for my 65 GMC.

        I did take a close up picture of the Cali Black and yellow plates. While one half of the set has stickers, the matching mate does not. You can see clearly it is stamped “63”

  19. Charles

    I like the looks of this truck.

  20. Jason Houston


    All 1963 plates have “63” stamped in the upper right corner. Most people believe that indicates the year it was issued. It does not. If you study the “63” carefully, you can see where the die wore out over the years, and by 1969, it was barely visible. Peel back the stickers and you’ll see none older than 1968 because that when your plates were first issued. Both stickers are not usable on these plates for YOM, since neither is from 1963. However, if you remove ALL the stickers, DMV will let you use them on any passenger car or light truck from 1963-1969.

    I looked at the first page or two of your link. I saw of lot of junky dealer frames and other trash mixed in with the plates. I saw a much nicer pair of 1968s for two bills, but it was a no sale. Same for that $20 pair of blue 1975s that some delusional moron wants $300 for.

    Hope this helps some.

  21. Jason Houston

    EDIT: “All 1963 plates have..” should have read, “All black plates have…” Please pardon the error.

  22. Doug Towsley

    Thats actually really helpful to know that they all had 63 stamped on them, I learn some thing new everyday, I wont debate the ebay stuff either. I started on Feebay back in late 98 or early 99. Its been an interesting ride. Made a lot of money of there for a while, but i grew to despise it. I even was on a ebay motors development team for a while as a consultant. Spent most of our time telling geeks “NO!” for all the goofy ideas and changes they feel compelled to make. Donohoe and his theory of “Disruptive Innovation” makes me retch. That guy should be deep sixed, So, my complaints and rants about feeBay are too many and lengthy to post here. There is a swap meet in Sacto super bowl weekend, was debated jetting down there in my Datsun truck. But most likely my next road trip will be late March/early April to San Jose for the Clubmans show.

    • Jason Houston

      Well, I lasted from 1998 to 2008, when they overhauled the whole system and destroyed the last vestiges of everything that had made it popular. BTW, that SuperMoron Donohue is long gone. An overfed pig named Meg Whitman took over, and further ran it into the mud, then left for greener pastures of becoming California’s next governor. Everywhere she planned to pimp for her bid as governor, I sent an editorial to that city’s newspaper outlining how she ruined eBay, and would probably treat California to more of the same. When she discovered I was in Bakersfield, she canceled her trip to hold an open forum there. I hope I had something to do with her resounding defeat.

    • Jason Houston

      You mean, you’d rather go to an old-car swap met, instead of a Super Bowel?

      Can’t say as I blame you!

      • Doug Towsley

        We are getting a bit off track to the posting of the old Truck, I sent it to a friend and he found the truck super cool, and these discussions amusing.
        But YES,, I love old cars, bikes and airplanes (I am a military AF vet, and a licensed A&P) so football? Not so much. I did watch last years. But i dont care about it that much. The swap meet in Sacramento i am debating about runs from 8 am to about 1 pm. There is a private resort nearby, I could be sitting in a heated swimming pool or hot tub with a strong drink by 2 pm, and they ARE hosting a big Super bowl party in the bar on the grounds at the resort. Stay the night and head home to Oregon in the AM and avoid the drunks on the road. I asked friends i know, and they say the swap meet is okay, a little car stuff, but mostly motorcycles. And 95% Harley and chopper stuff. I do own Harleys and Buells but I am primarily into British Bikes, a little Italian, and a few Asian bikes. So, might be a good place to unload Chopper stuff for me, but not sure its worth a 10 hr drive each way. The Super bowl is at the bottom of my priorities. Sacto is noticeably warmer than here.

  23. Marty Member

    You guys are preaching to the choir about FeeBay. With no inside knowledge, I was just, and unfortunately still am, just a consumer. Ebay was Heaven on Earth until around 2005 or so, give or take. And then I witnessed a transformation the likes of which I’ve never seen in any other business anywhere. It went down hill so fast and so hard, I still can’t believe it. Overnight, the friendly community with endless opportunity suddenly began chomping down on the hand that feeds it, became hostile to its sellers, with no customer service, and multiple levels of punitive little demigods ending auctions and handing out suspensions for the slightest infractions such as forgetting to post some of eBay’s canned, uninformed and ill-advised legalese in an item description, title search capability destroyed, having to sign in constantly, the ever-increasing fees for insertion, photos, final value, storefront, PayPal fees, fees on shipping, for God’s sake. PayPal funds lock outs, forced refunds, in some of which the seller got his money back, AND was allowed to keep the item. Every day something different, with changes in appearance or functionality, most of which no one ever asked for, and steadfastly refusing to deliver the one thing that lots of people did ask for; which would be last minute auction extensions. Just to name a few! In a nutshell, FeeBay sucks now. Hard. End of rant.

    I’m still surprised no one else has been able to step up to the plate and rightfully take away a huge chunk of their market share. They deserve it.

    • Jason Houston

      You write a great editorial.

      I’ve written several since that big eBay crash (February, 2008). I’ve written song parodies, tutorials, updates on their crooked Gestapo tactics, their lame-assed excuses for why every mistake they make is always the user’s fault, how Paypal illegally profits from forced, undisclosed “impound accounts”, their time-wasting drill-downs seeking answers that don’t exist, and a zillion violations of laws, ethics, foreign countries’ interests, fake merchandise, phony suspensions from when a seller should happen to voice a negative opinion in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      The only reason someone else can’t come along and kick their butts out of the ballpark is because eBay is so fat. In the early 2000’s several start-ups did just that – spent millions making a perfect eBay clone, only to have no one use their sites.

      All of eBay’s public BS about protecting their users, etc. is just a façade for their prolific spending on lobbyists to keep any form of regulation from coming to the Internet. If it ever does – if even the monopoly and anti-trust laws we have in the US came to the Internet – eBay would either clean up their filthy act, or dry up and blow away in a matter of seconds.

      And that’s not such a bad prospect itself.

      • Wayne S.K.

        Man, you guys with the ebay bashing. I’ve been what you would call (I guess) immobile since December of 2010. Other than Dr.’s appointments I’ve not left the apartment complex’s property for years. I wheel outside for a smoke, and that’s about it. I have a couple of girls who get my groceries, pick up my meds, and a few other (ahem) necessities. Everything else, i.e. clothes, games, cookware, electronics, antiques, and various other gee-gaws that catch my fancy, and on and on and on, I order on ebay. Never had a problem yet, save receiving what was listed as a “Quilt” (Hey, WI winters are cold) only to receive a bedspread. And everything delivered to my door via FedEx, UPS or the USPS with no charge. AS far as I’m concerned, ebay is awesome! However, in deference to you gentleman, I’ve never attempted to purchase a vehicle. My clutch-pedal-mashing-leg no longer works… :D

      • Marty Member

        …and they removed the possibility for a seller to leave negative feedback. Not that I get any great joy from leaving negative feedback for someone, but malicious (and/or non-paying) bidders should be warned against, the same as a bad seller.

        So obviously eBay thinks sellers can no longer be trusted with the opportunity to leave negative feedback for a buyer or no-pay bidder. But those same bidders are still free to leave negative feedback for sellers. That fact by itself, says a lot.

        But what can I say? I still buy and sell there…

  24. Jason Houston

    WAYNE S.K.:

    The ‘J’ series plates on Bullit’s 1968 GT are fake studio plates. Were they real, they would have been issued only in December, 1962. A 1968 car would have been issued ‘W’ series plates.

    But be that as it may, cult movie cars (American Graffiti, Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Gone in 60 Seconds, etc.) always stimulate the public’s love for California plates.

  25. Jim

    Funny you mention movie car license plates, the plate on ’32 coupe was THX138, the movie George Lucas made before American Graffiti was THX1138, he always found a way to fit a thread of continuity in his movies. The Black ’55(not the wrecked 55) and the White ’58 had regular plates as they were privately owned and registered.

  26. Doug Towsley

    Wayne S.K. I am very sorry to hear that you are having health issues. That doesnt sound fun, although I am hoping you have some gear head buddies in your area who might come kidnap you from time to time for ride or go to cruise in or event. If not, consider posting something on CL when you see a nearby event, Maybe someone might help you out. We do that for a few people I know around here.
    After I got run over by a drunk driver, I had some people who carted me around for a while as well. I do have an online shopping habit like you at times. For the last 2 years I still have bought stuff on Feebay and Amazon, and a few forums. But I havent been selling on Feebay but I used to be a “Power Seller” and had multiple accounts both for myself and I sold on behalf of several businesses. Several Estate situations as well. As a volunteer for our local museum we often get donations. But when someone passes, often theres a big collection. Your experience as a buyer is not the same as sellers. There are bad sellers, but there are really crazy buyers as well.95% of the time everyone is happy if you act like good humans. Its the 5% that ruin it for everyone. eBay made life very hard and unpleasant for sellers and more than a few buyers know this. Some became very abusive. If a buyer leaves you anything less than perfect 5s on the DSR’s (Detailed seller ratings) you can soon easily fall off best match searches. Which means no one will ever see your listings. To restore your seller ratings takes a very long time and kind of hard to accomplish if you are not getting buyers. I know a lot of sellers who just close their accounts and open new ones. Yet you lose all your reputation. If you can manage a good rating, being a seller since 2001 or something with 100% feedback is valuable,. But a few Jerks can take all that away from you.

    • Wayne S.K.

      Thank you for your reply Doug… :)

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