Peak Performance: Erik Blaney’s 1956 Chevrolet Apache

Dreamer creates classic truck using scrapyard parts

Classic cars in the auto world are placed in one of three categories: original, restored and resto-mod. Erik Blaney’s 1956 Chevrolet Apache truck is considered the latter, which means it has the look of the original but not the guts. The vehicle is so resto-mod it actually started as a 1959 model. Its provenance points to the truck being as local as a ride can be.

Where did you find the truck?
My dad purchased the 1959 truck for $400 when I was probably 10 years old and it sat neglected in our yard for 15 to 20 years; nothing was ever going to come of it. I always dreamed about rebuilding the truck and getting it on the road. I was just getting ready to start bringing it to the scrapyard and taking pieces off, then on a trip out to Black Point Auto Wreckers I found a 1956 cab, a box and some parts.

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Had the 1956 always been in Powell River?
I think it was bought new and I don't think it ever left town. It went through a number of different people, but nobody ever put it back together and started the rebuild, so it ended up at the auto wreckers and I picked up the pieces. We dragged it out to my buddy’s place and worked on the rebuild.

How do you turn a 1959 into a 1956?
It started out as a ’59, but due to having to switch up the body with what we had available, it turned into a ’56. It has a ’75 Firebird front suspension, a 355 small-block Chevy motor and a turbo-350 transmission with a stage-two shift kit. This year it went through another small overhaul: we did all new electrical, gauges, heater and stereo.

What is it like to drive?
That thing is so much fun to drive from Lund to town on those corners. It handles really well, it's a very fast truck and it's a real hoot to drive.

Why did you choose to go with a matte-black finish?
Because I'm too poor to afford a paint job. After throwing my life savings into the truck just to get it on the road, I'm now saving up to try to get it back to its original colour. It looks like it has been painted twice at least. The original colour was Carribbean Blue with a white top.

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