Off-Road Restomod Colorado Forest Service Truck: Classic '59 Chevy Apache Truck Riding on a '13 Cadillac Chassis
Every now and then we come across a classic vehicle that makes us do a double take. Is that really the thing that we think it is? This '59 Chevy Apache off-road custom truck built by 3D Off-Road in Colorado Springs, Colorado made us do just that.
Original Colorado Forest Service Pickup
This '59 pickup started its life in Colorado as a fire truck for the Forest Service. The crew at 3D Off-Road made sure to maintain as much of the original heritage of the truck as possible, even down to the original 50 series red fire lights and siren. Upon first glance, it looks to be about its age. The body is in good shape, with almost the perfect amount of patina. The rust found throughout certainly tells us a story, and will distract you just enough before you realize there is more going on under the surface of this vehicle.
Built around a donor chassis from a 2013 Cadillac Escalade, the Chevy looks old school cool with boasting modern technology and drivability. Matt Thompson, owner of 3D Off-Road and mastermind behind this resto-mod, said that in order to fit the body to the chassis, 7” of length had to be removed from the Escalade’s frame. After the length was dialed in, Matt’s team fabricated custom body and bed mounts so that the 59 Chevy could be dropped on top. They also utilized the Escalade’s factory fuel tank, but made sure to maintain the factory fuel filler on the 1959 Apache Body. But what about the factory fuel tank behind the seat? It was turned into a speaker box and storage container, creating a nice modern touch to the interior without altering the look and feel of the interior.
The Tools to Tackle Tough Terrain
A set of 33x12.50R17 Nitto Tire Ridge Grapplers were wrapped around 17” Method Race Wheels to give the vehicle an aggressive look with on-road manners and the ability to go nearly anywhere off-road. Coincidentally, they fit perfectly without any additional lift to the Escalade chassis, and are a great improvement on the original wheels and tires the truck had when tackling the fire roads that this truck ran up and down in its past life. To achieve excellent ride quality and drivability, the factory air ride suspension was converted to coilovers up front and coil spring’s in the rear with Bilstein 5100 series shocks. Now not only does this resto-mod pickup look good, it drives good too.
420 HP LS Excellence
Speaking of driving well, the factory 6.2L LS Motor and 6L80 Transmission remained intact with the donor chassis, resulting in a power plant producing 420 horsepower, which is significantly more than what came in the Apache Series Pickup from the factory in 1959. A custom-built exhaust gives the truck that nice V8 rumble. With the Apache body and pickup bed in place, the entire vehicle is much lighter than the original 2013 Cadillac Escalade was. This results in even more power to the wheels, which means it's way too fun to be behind the wheel of this custom build.
Full-Size Spare Tire Resides on the Driver-Side
The factory pickup bed was maintained out back. To dress it up a bit, custom wooden floor panels were made out of oak and meticulously placed in the bed. Mod Finishes, a powder coating shop based in Colorado Springs, coated the metal slats that run in-between the oak wood in satin black to give the truck bed a tough and durable finish. 3D Off-Road also added some strength to the factory tire carrier, allowing for the full size 33” spare Ridge Grappler to reside on the driver-side.
It’s the little details that make the biggest difference in a build like this, including the custom digital gauge cluster from Dakota Digital that looks retro but utilizes all of the modern amenities from the donor chassis and communicates seamlessly with the aforementioned drivetrain. The team at 3D Off-Road also built a custom steering column and added a subtle, personal touch to the woodgrain steering wheel. The factory headliner and door panels remained in place, while the factory seat was re-upholstered. The interior has just the right amount of modern touches to be comfortable, yet feels nostalgic as you open the door to enter.
Classic Colorado Pickup
The end result? A classic Colorado pickup brought back to life by a classic Colorado builder. This 59’ Chevy is ready for both the street and fire roads alike, and is a fine example of another “Different by Design” masterpiece built by 3D Off-Road.