Another custom vehicle built by John Harlowe's Moonlight Engineering.
Apache bannerfeather headress art.

1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 short bed step side Pick-up Truck



Another custom vehicle built by John Harlowe's Moonlight Engineering..


Drivers side view of the 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck.

1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck



Originally sold new in the Los Angeles, California area. The second owner was an Arizona resident and the truck remained there for a number of years. It was then sold to a third owner in Washington State where it remained for a couple of years. I purchased the truck in November of 2002 and am the fourth owner returning the truck to the Los Angeles, California area where it was first sold.

This explains the lack of rust this truck has. The only area where there is some very slight rust is here and it is so minor that I had to enlarge this photo 2X normal size so that it could be seen.

My main priority when I am in the market to purchase a an old vehicle is that it comes from a dry area. I have been in the automotive industry for 35 years and can correct any mechanical flaws that a vehicle may have. I do not care that paint, for example, is faded or dull from a vehicle that sat in the sun / heat for a long period of time. However, I do not want a "rust bucket", that is way too much labor and expense to correct.

Even though this truck is 48 years old, ( as of 2009 ) it is virtually rust free and this is why I put time and money into it — I knew it would last.


This truck was an absolute MECHANICAL nightmare when I first purchased it in November of 2002. So many INCOMPETENT hands touched this truck one could swear that a Neanderthal was the previous owner. Regardless, the body of the vehicle is in excellent shape and the truck is a nice "driver" now that all the numerous mechanical fo-paws have been "exorcized" from the victim.

This truck was built with as much old school flavor as possible while maintaining the philosophy that it is to be sold as a dependable driver to an individual who has at least some mechanical knowledge, or, one who has access to a competent shop and or mechanic to perform scheduled maintenance such as oil changes and tune-ups.

Included in the purchase price of the truck is the Factory Service Manual from General Motors. If you are a "tink-a-rah-er" and have BASIC automotive technical knowledge, tools and work will find the MECHANICALS of this truck straightforward and can do the scheduled maintenance yourself.

As with any project, one needs a vision as to what the creation or transformation will be. In my mind, there is no reason to custom build an old vehicle if you are not going to drive it. Personally, I like driving the old stuff and not just to car shows. The feel / presence / aura of an old vehicle as daily transportation is a great experience - in a sense, it is time travel.

This truck was built, i.e., modified, to serve the following purpose:

An around town vehicle. One that you could take to yard sales...go to Home Depot and get potting soil, plants or whatever...motor up Highway One from Los Angeles for a "picnic" at County Line...brunch and grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon...visit friends in the Hollywood Hills on Saturday is a dinner and movie type of vehicle.

    Mechanical Specifications, Part Replacement and Retrofits [ Partial List ] circa 2002 — 2003
  • 235 c.i. Chevrolet 6 cylinder engine
  • Retrofit with Muncie 3 spd manual transmission
  • Hurst shifter
  • Stock rear end
  • Complete brake system restoration
  • Total clutch system replacement: including 11 inch flywheel / clutch with new slave cylinder
  • Engine gasket replacement: including front cover, oil pan, valve cover, intake / exhaust gaskets
  • Oil pump replacement
  • New water pump, thermostat and brass block plugs
  • New radiator, cap and hoses
  • New radiator fan
  • Carter / Weber electric choke carburetor with true braided steel lines / fittings, in-line fuel filter and liquid filled psi guage
  • New fuel pump
  • New stock harmonic dampner
  • New H.E.I. system and coil with Accel wires
  • New battery and custom fabricated H.D. cables wrapped in firebraid sleeving
  • Remanufactured starter with heat insulation wrap
  • Custom fabricated electrical system junction box
  • Vintage Air heater / defroster unit with hi-temp silicone hoses

As you read on, there are more details and items concerning this truck that I have not placed in the list above. I have done quite a bit of work on this truck in the 4 and a half years I have owned it ( as of 2006 ) — so much, in fact, that I need web pages and not just a list to explain all of what has been done.

Front passenger side view of the 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck


Rear view of the 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck


Rear passenger side view of the 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck



Frenched in front bumper — this is how the truck came when I purchased it. It looks ok, however, I would not have done this. The installation of a new chrome front bumper and the fat style chrome bumper guards are still in the build plan — all I need to do is find the time to do it. If it was just a matter of removing the old and installing the new, it would have already been done. However, when the previous owner frenched in the front bumper, the gap between the bumper and body was filled in — what it was filled in with I am not exactly sure, I believe it is some type of flexible material other than bondo. In any event, I'm sure that after removing it, some touch-up painting will be required and this makes the task more time consuming.

When I purchased the truck the windshield wipers barely worked — this was due to broken mounting ears of the wiper linkage where it meets the body. Wiper linkage is not available as a new part for this truck. After an extensive search, I finally found a decent used linkage but the passenger side mounting ear on this one was broken. Regardless, I modified the used wiper linkage I purchased so that at least the drivers side wiper would function properly. Not that I ever purposely drive the truck in the rain — but now there is a windshield wiper that works just in the event it does rain when the truck is out. There is now a chrome button covering the opening where the passenger side wiper would have been.

I removed the aluminium CHEVROLET script grill insert because it was out of shape and diminished the look of the truck. Additionally, I custom fabricated a chain-lock anti-theft system for the engine compartment. It consists of a steel angle bar inside the grill area with 2 chain access holes for the chain that is secured to the inside of the hood. What this "device" does is place the chain in front of the radiator and keeps the chain and lock from slamming into the radiator when the truck is driven. In fact, there is hardly any movement in the chain and lock at all. It is also very easy to disengage and engage the "lock system" as the chain follows pre-drilled holes and is not wrapped around anything. Everywhere I have taken this truck people have admired the simplicity of this user friendly design. It takes about 15 seconds to either engage / disengage the chain lock and you do not get your hands dirty doing it.

Hood lock.


The new rear chrome bumper, new bumper brackets, new license plate bracket / light assy and updated rear lights. For safety concerns, I installed larger tail lights on the truck. They are more visible than the small, round original tail lights. With the updated lights, the truck has very visible running, brake, turn signal and reverse lights. The eyes in the skull license plate light up too.


No body damage on this truck. The alignment of the various body parts like the doors, bed and hood are all in good alignment.

Drivers side view of the STAINLESS STEEL cab trim.


Interior view of the 1961 Chevrolet Apache 10 Short Bed Stepside Pick-up Truck.


Passenger side view of the STAINLESS STEEL cab trim.



I searched for quite some time before finally locating a pair of these Insignia Chevrolet cab trim pieces that were not dented, bent, scraped, drilled or otherwise abused. When I did locate this pair, they were just somewhat dull in appearance and the paint on the Chevy logo and Custom script had long since faded away. I spent quite a number of hours polishing these pieces by hand due to the fact they are too delicate to survive the Baldor Buffer and then spent more hours masking the pieces, twice...once for each color, to enable the air brush to color them in. Very tedious work, however, being that these pieces become a focal point on the truck when installed, so in my mind they had to be right. As you can see in the enlargement — they are.

Additionally, to keep the theme, I detailed the Chevy Bow Tie locking fuel cap.


The interior of the truck, for the most part, remains in the same condition and appearance as it was when I first purchased the truck. The changes I made were:

  • Elimination of the column shift.
  • Installation of the Autometer gauges.
  • Installation of the Hurst Mastershifter.
  • Installation of the Vintage Air heater / defrost unit.
  • Installed a new sun visor.
  • Installed a new dome light assembly.
  • Installed a new headlight switch.
  • Installed a Grote brand turn signal switch w/ 4 way flashers.
  • Replaced the worn pedal pads and accelerator pedal.
  • I am not thrilled with the smaller diameter steering wheel which was installed on the truck when I purchased it. It functions just fine, with the exception of having a horn button on the lower left side underdash lip. This is understandable since the guts to the original turn signal / horn electronics inside the steering column had long been broken. Since I was eliminating the column shift and installing an aftermarket universal turn signal switch, I saw no need to redo the existing column to original condition when it would be much more functional to install an Ididit brand tilt steering column in the not too distant future. I removed the useless parts inside the column, just so they just wouldn't jingle-jangel around inside of it, and use the column as it is. The $800.00 or so that it would cost to purchase the Ididit column, including a new steering wheel more to my style, was money that needed to be spent elsewhere on the truck — and as you read on, you will come to understand the extent of the cash outlay I made to purchase priority parts for this truck to make it a more than decent driver. In my mind, driveability of a vehicle comes first and cosmetics second.

    The seat material does not "float my boat" either, again, it is in good condition, although the seat foam on the drivers side could use a rework, nevertheless, it is not bad enough to require that this be done.

    The carpet is in fair condition. I removed the section over the transmission access cover. I have seen this too many times on older trucks, carpet covering the access cover for the transmission and I still fail to understand why this is done. When a manual transmission is installed on a vehicle, the interior access cover provides an expeditious method to replace shifter linkage bushings — and these bushings require periodic replacement just like brake pads — so why cover-up easy access and make a easy part replacement task a difficult one by having to jack-up and crawl under a vehicle when you don't have to?

    In any event, my plan for the interior for this truck was to install bucket seats from Wise Guys — I purchased a pair of these for the 1971 C10 Fleetside Shortbed I have and these seats look great and are not too bad on the wallet at $800.00 for the upholstered pair including the rails /tracks — and install a full floor rubber mat, with access tunnel opening, on the floor of the truck rather than carpet. The finishing touch, having the transmission access cover chrome plated or powder coated.

    The other item about the interior that "bugs" me, and again, I have seen this too many times on older trucks, invariably when someone installs a stereo they end up cutting holes in the door panels to install the speakers. I don't understand why this is done when ABS plastic kick panel speaker units are available. When I purchased this truck, that is where the speakers to the stereo had been installed. I just like clean door panels — the previous owner of the 1971 C10 I have did the same thing, however, on that truck, I welded repair panels over the holes and purchased kick panel speaker units — on this 1961 Apache, I left the speakers just the way I found them, installed in the door panel.

    My advice to the purchaser of this truck is to take my aforementioned suggestions on the redo of the interior of this Apache when you get the bucks to do it — that is, Ididit steering column, steering wheel of your choice, Wise Guys bucket seats, full floor rubber mat, chrome / powder coat trans access cover, weld repair panels behind the speaker holes in the door panels and install kick panel speaker units — and you will have a simple, yet refined, interior with a classic look that won't go out of style.


    Another misdemeanor I have seen way too many times committed on these older trucks is the installation of late model truck mirrors. You know the kind, those ugly universal types, and unfortunately when I purchased this truck it too had suffered this criminal act. I imprisoned those universal mirrors to the confines of the trash dumpster and installed polished stainless steel mirror arms and chrome mirror heads in the proper style for the year of this truck. I managed to cover-up the bolt holes in the door from those universal mirrors. However, if you look close, the evidence of that crime can still be detected. The lingering evidence of this assault is not so bad that the truck requires re-paint, I just mention it so you are aware that this offense had been committed.

    The window is up on the truck and as you can see in the enlargement, the glass is in good condition along with the weatherstrip of the truck. I have driven this truck in the rain — yes it does rain in SoCal — and the truck does not have water leaks.

    Bed detail of 1961 Apache 10 short bed step side pick-up truck.



    When I aquired this truck, the bed are had a grey carpeted marine sheet of plywood covering the worn out original wood bed flooring. I did not change this.

    The carpeted marine plywood is functional and not too bad to look at when the bed tonneau is removed.

    For my use of the truck, the carpeted marine plywood insert in combination with the tonneau cover, actually works to my advantage — as I do use the truck to haul items like my S.C.U.B.A. gear around. The thought of forking out $500.00 for new oak flooring with stainless steel bed / angle strips and bolt kit only to scratch and scuff it up hauling stuff to an fro just does not make sense to me.

    Since the oak bed kits come UNFINISHED and WITHOUT pre-drilled holes, it is a labor intensive and time consuming task to perform. Yes, it would look great when complete, however I would not want to mess it up after spending all that time and money to get that look. In effect, by restoring the wood bed, I would take away the "pick-up" UTILITY of the truck, and that utility is why I wanted a pick-up in the first place.

    My suggestion is to keep the carpeted marine plywood insert in the bed and you won't hesitate to haul stuff around when you need to.

    Passenger side view of the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 1

    Center view of the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 2

    Drivers side view of the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 3

    This truck is "Old School" has NO power steering...NO air conditioner...NO power brakes, windows or locks. This truck is SIMPLE and that's what I enjoy about it most.


    This photo details the "plumbing" for the Vintage Air heater / defroster, the braided steel fuel lines with Russell fittings, liquid filled in-line fuel PSI gauge and in-line fuel filter along with the H.E. I. and Accel spark plug wires.


    Rather than "fuss" with the existing fuse panel under the dash, I custom fabricated a more technological electrical junction box for the seen in the enlargement is behind the battery attached to the inner fenderwell. It has a ground terminal strip, fused direct B+, fused IGN + and a "hidden" ignition disable device. This junction box makes installing accessories, like fog or driving lights, in a word, EASY.


    This details the Carter / Weber 2bbl carb with electric choke and the single straight though exhaust system with Thermo Tec wrap throughout the exhaust system pipe length. When I first purchased this truck is was set up with dual exhaust...but it was done so "Micky Mouse" underneath the chassis that I just could not stand it. I converted back to single exhaust and put a block off plate on the secondary outlet of the exhaust manifold. Additionally, notice the precise belt alignment and the lack of oil on this engine...I don't do mis-aligned or oily when I perform repairs...I do repairs correctly.

    View of TRANS-DAPT remote oil filter installed on the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 4

    View of CLIFFORD cast aluminum lifter cover installed on the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 5

    View of CARTER / WEBER carb installed on the 235 c.i. 6 cylinder engine currently in the 1961 Apache.

    235 c.i. 6 CYL. PHOTO 6


    This photo details the TRANS-DAPT remote oil filter bracket with the RUSSELL fittings and braided steel lines installed on the 235 c.i. currently in the 1961 Apache.


    Although somewhat obscured by the H.E.I. and ACCEL spark plug wires, one can still see the CLIFFORD PERFORMANCE cast aluminum lifter / pushrod cover. This one does have CHEVROLET in script in the center. I took the time to polish, paint and clearcoat this cover. It should be noted that Clifford Performance is no longer in business. The significance of this fact is that they were the last manufacturer, that I know of, that produced cast valve and lifter covers for the old 6 cylinder engines. This means, were you to want a cast aluminum valve or lifter cover for an old 6, you will pay big bucks for these items — that is if you can find them. Try doing a search on EBAY and you will see exactly what I mean. Although not installed on this engine, I do have the matching cast aluminum valve cover. It is part of the high performance parts, that are included with the purchase of this truck, listed on the next page. Sometimes it is just a good idea to purchase parts way before you need to install them.


    A better detailed view of the CARTER / WEBER carburetor with electric choke. It is a good performing, economical carb to use on this 235 six. The automatic electric choke makes starting the engine a pleasure.

    Additionally, you can see the FLEX-A-LITE fan and FLEX-A-LITE fan spacer. This engine can idle in traffic all day without even a hint of overheating.

    A better view of the the belt alignment and the lack of oil leakage can also be seen in this photo.

    Muncie 3 spd manual transmission with Gylptal applied to internal case.


    Muncie 3 spd manual transmission preassembly detail view.


    Muncie 3 spd manual transmission assembled with Hurst Mastershift arms and brackets installed.


    The original noisy, weak and prone to jump out of gear Saginaw 3 spd. transmission was discarded in favor of the Munice 3 spd. The Muncie is quite a bit stronger, albeit almost overkill in a six cylinder application, nevertheless with the Muncie's syncro 1st gear, 27 spline output shaft and quiet operation it makes an ideal choice for worry-free old school applications.

    PHOTO ONE: The Muncie transmission shown here after the exterior case was prepared for paint and the interior of the case with the Glyptal applied.

    Glyptal manufactures the best-selling electrical insulating coating in the world.

    Machinery can withstand arcing voltages in excess of 1500 volts for each mil thickness even while submerged in salt water.

    Glyptal is an awesome coating which surpasses paint, such as Rustolem, hands down.

    The intended use of Glyptal ( PRODUCT CLASS : Red Insulating Enamel. MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET CODE IDENTIFICATION: 1201A ) is to insulate electrical components.

    However, many professional hi-performance engine builders discovered long ago that Glyptal seals the tiny pores in metal and leaves a smooth, oil and acid resistant finish. This greatly assists in keeping the engine oil clean, free flowing and virtually impervious to sludge formation.

    PHOTO TWO: The Muncie shown just prior to final assembly. In this view you can see the interior of the case with the Glyptal applied, the exterior case having the hi-temp enamel paint applied and cured, the polished side / gear select cover and the new front cover.

    PHOTO THREE: The Muncie completely assembled with the Hurst Mastershift arms and brackets installed.

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