"It was hard work, but it was fun at the same time. " -Skylar Schulz
If you've ever turned a wrench on a truck project, you know what it's like to have visions of the finished product racing through your mind. You may be starting with a pile of rusted old parts or a brand-new truck, but in your mind you picture yourself cruising down the street with an aura of gleaming paint and the roar of a healthy engine. It's this vision that keeps you going as you forge through the months of cutting, grinding, welding, fitting, and knuckle-busting. In the end, you know all the hard work will pay off.
Skylar Schulz of Brenham, Texas, and his father, Larry, came across a '59 GMC Apache at a good price and couldn't pass it up. Even though the GMC was a solid driver for Skylar, the new caretakers wanted both a show and a go machine. They removed the body from the frame and started with the suspension. Next, they sliced off the stock GMC front end and welded in a '78 Camaro Z28 front clip with power steering and grafted an '87 Corvette IRS in place of the old straight axle out back. SSBC Force 10 front and rear disc brakes slow down the 3,600-pound hauler much better than the original hydraulic drums. Before bolting the body back to the frame, a stainless steel 17-gallon fuel tank was fabricated to fit in front of the Corvette IRS. Finishing off the chassis, Skylar replaced the factory rolling stock with American Racing Torq-Thrust II wheels with BFGoodrich rubber.
Fortunately, the previous owner already had a 355-cid Chevy motor for the truck; it just needed to be put back together. Careful construction of the ported and polished 2.02 heads, a 327 Chevy camshaft, a Weiand Stealth intake manifold, a Holley 770-cfm carburetor, a K&N air filter element, and ceramic-coated Doug's headers give the motor an estimated 400 hp. With the addition of a billet aluminum air filter housing and cast-aluminum valve covers, the engine looks as good as it performs, and if you test your luck, you might get scalped.
While the engine looked great, the exterior was less than perfect. Since the owners desired a show-worthy driver, they decided to have the entire exterior repainted in bright yellow and metallic gray. Skylar selected Better Than New, in Bellville, Texas, for the job. The shop stripped the old finish and got to work shaving the door handles and tailgate, and welded in a roll pan before blocking the truck for paint. The crew at Better Than New laid down a combination of '03 Mustang Yellow and PPG Metallic Gray. As soon as the truck was done getting cut and buffed, Skylar reassembled the truck and installed the LMC wood bed floor, separated by chrome-plated strips, with help from his dad and David Winslow.
The balance of the interior received a makeover, as well, with new amenities, such as Auto Meter gauges, a Flaming River tilt column and steering wheel, Vintage Air climate controls, and a killer stereo, installed by Skylar and Larry. Then, Strictly Mobile Upholstery wrapped things up by stitching gray leather over the door panels, the center console, and the lower addition to the dash and subwoofer enclosure. They also replaced the factory rubber mat with charcoal wool carpet and installed a velour headliner. To button up the interior, Skylar removed the original bench seat and replaced it with matching leather bucket seats.
It took some time, but Skylar finally got the truck of his dreams. He told us that "it was hard work, but it was fun at the same time." And judging by the smile we saw on his face as we took the pictures, he definitely prefers the tricked-out cruiser he has now compared to the stocker he started with.
Skylar Schulz / Brenham, Texas
'59 Chevy Apache
Chevy V-8, punched to a 355 cid / Weiand Stealth intake / Holly Street Avenger 770-cfm carburetor / 327 Chevy cam / ported and polished heads / Doug's headers / DynoMax exhaust / EZ Wiring harness / Vintage Air Gen II climate control system / 700-R4 transmission / '87 Corvette rearend
By: G&G Performance in Tomball, Texas / Gear Star in Brenham
Front: 17x8-Inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II
Rear: 17x10-inch American Racing Torq-Thrust II
Front: BFGoodrich 245/45ZR17 g-Force Sport tires
Rear: BFGoodrich 255/45ZR17 g-Force Sport tires
Front: Stock '78 Camaro front clip
Rear: Stock '87 Corvette IRS / (Accessories) front and rear SSBC Force 10 disc brakes
Chassis: Stock, modified for the front clip, IRS, and gas tank / 17-gallon gas tank
By: Larry Schulz and David Winslow
Shaved door handles and tailgate / molded in '55-'59 Chevy front blinkers and roll pan / LMC bed floor kit
By: Skylar and Larry Schulz, and David Winslow / Better Than New in Bellville, Texas
'03 Mustang Yellow and PPG Metallic Gray two-tone
By: Better Than New
American Products gray leather bucket seats / stock dash with billet aluminum inserts / gray leather and wool carpet door panels / custom center console, wrapped in gray leather / gray wool carpet / gray velour headliner / Auto Meter white-face gauges / Lokar pedals / LMC dome light, door handles, and rearview mirror / Flaming River steering column and steering wheel
By: Skylar Schulz and Milton Budell / Strictly Mobile Upholstery in Houston
Pioneer CD player / four 6x9-inch Sony Xplods / 10-inch AudioBahn subwoofer / 500-watt Super Bass amplifier / custom sub enclosure wrapped gray leather
By: Skylar and Larry Schulz
His father Larry Schulz, grandfather Milton Budell, David Winslow, and Bradley Warmke