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week to wicked

HOT ROD Magazine Week to Wicked and American Legend

It’s time for HOT ROD’s Week to Wicked build and they’ve chosen to follow the trend set by their sibling titles. They are building a truck for the folks at STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizers, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. They were looking for a fun and functional vehicle, and because it’s the company’s 60th birthday, they chose a 1958 Chevrolet Apache. With the mechanical leadership of shop manager Jason Scudellari, they are going to turn this truck into a reliable, comfortable, and fun shop truck.

This truck is getting the full front-to-back treatment, the big-ticket items being a LS3, a new rear axle, aftermarket front and rear suspension, upgraded brakes,  custom interior, and awesome set of American Legend wheels. The catalogue is getting thrown at this truck so the folks at STA-BIL have an awesome truck for years to come.

Check-in with American Legend from April 16-20, to follow the build process. You can also search #weektowicked and #stabil0to60 for additional build coverage. STA-BIL plans on getting a lot of use out of this truck, so if you’d like to see it in person, you can expect to see it at the following events:

May 15-19 Mecum Auction

June 9-15 Hot Rod Power Tour (Bowling Green, KY, Chattanooga, TN, Hoover, AL, Hampton, GA, Darlington, SC, Raleigh, NC)

July Local Illinois Car Shows

Sept 7-8 Mecum Louisville

Oct 25-27 Mecum Chicago

Hot Rod Week to Wicked Day One Wrap-up!

What happens when two companies who are sharing milestone anniversaries and want to collaborate on a project? You get Hot Rod’s Week to Wicked build in conjunction with Sta-Bil Performance Chemicals.

Sta-Bil has been a recurring sponsor on the Hot Rod Power Tour, and for this year, their 60th Anniversary, they wanted to run the Power Tour in a vehicle they helped build. Check out the vehicle they chose- this cool 1958 Chevrolet Apache. Sta-Bil’s Director of Marketing, Matt Banach explained that they wanted to build a shop truck with cool, instantly recognizable looks that could tackle a nearly 2,000 mile road trip with ease. They also wanted the truck to be from the model year their company was founded. They settled on this 1958 Apache after an exhaustive search of Craigslist, and ironically the truck was located close to their headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

Thankfully, this truck was a transplant from the desert southwest and was spared the ravages of Illinois winters, so it’s a prime candidate for the week-long build. It’s also very stock, with manual drum brakes, manual steering, a solid front axle, an anemic small-block, and an archaic three-speed manual transmission. In a test drive before the wrenches began flying, the Sta-Bil guys were sidelined by a broken shift linkage and coolant spewing from the thermostat housing- all the more reason to perform a complete drivetrain swap and suspension upgrade. During the course of this week, we will swap the small block for an LS3 backed by a Gearstar 4L65E, CPP’s Mustang II front end kit with four-wheel disc brakes, and rack and pinion steering. Other upgrades include a modern wheel and tire package and a new set of gauges from Dakota Digital.

Hot Rod Week to Wicked Day Two Wrap-up!

Starting day two of Hot Rod’s Week to Wicked build in partnership with Sta-Bil Performance Chemicals, the 1958 Chevrolet Apache pickup sat sans front clip and the front end was stripped down to the bare frame. Once the foundation was prepped for welding, the CPP Mustang II front cross-member as well as the top hats were welded into place before being given a coat of black paint to prevent future corrosion. Then the tubular control arms, spindles, coil overs, disc brakes, as well as rack and pinion steering were bolted on to make this truck drive more like a modern vehicle. With the cross-member welded into place the truck was ready to receive its new heart.

Here you can see the CPP Mustang II front suspension kit fully installed on the original frame of the 1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside build.
For the power plant of this machine we decided to go with an LS3 Connect and Cruise crate engine from Chevrolet Performance packing 430 horsepower accompanied by a 4L65E automatic overdrive transmission from Gearstar Performance Transmissions. This combo was chosen because we know it is tried and true and will keep this car reliable on Power Tour while delivering stellar performance. The build team mated the engine and transmission together and then mocked up the adjustable engine mounts and transmission mount from CPP to the frame before they were welded in permanently.

The LS3 Connect and Cruise crate engine from Chevrolet Performance comes with a complete wiring harness, an ECU, and even a gas pedal to make swapping it into your hot rod easier than ever. After the engine and trans were mounted back in the truck, up it went on the lift so that the original rear end and saggy, old leaf springs could be yanked out to make room for the new Currie 9” rear end and new leaf springs along with disc brakes from CPP. The rear suspension was completely installed and the rear end mocked up before being pulled out for final welding and a coat of paint. Even while the pickup was still on the lift, one of the guys was up inside the cab prepping for the rest of the work by starting the installation of the Painless Wiring kit accompanied by a gauge cluster from Dakota Digital. This team effort just goes to show how one of these builds can be done in only a week’s time, and we’re excited to see this thing come together.

Hot Rod Week to Wicked Day Three Wrap-up!

It’s day three of Hot Rod’s Week to Wicked build of this 1958 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside pickup. We’re partnered with Sta-Bil, helping build them a cool cruiser to drive on this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour. Building off of yesterday’s progress, Tech Center manager Jason Scudellari led the effort to knock out another chunk of the build. Sparks were flying and wrenches were spinning as we first mocked up, then fully installed the Apache’s new drivetrain.

Chevrolet Performance provided an LS3 crate engine, and Gearstar upgraded us to their potent 4L70E transmission. Jason, Christian Arriero, and the guys from CPP measured all the driveline angles, and settled the engine and transmission into place on CPP’s engine and transmission crossmembers. Then, once the new master cylinder was bolted to the firewall, the guys ran new brake lines to all four corners. With four-wheel disc brakes replacing the original drums, this Apache will have braking power that can keep up with the LS3. A new ididit steering column connects to the rack and pinion steering system, and Hedman hooked us up with a sweet set of ceramic-coated manifolds that fit around the steering perfectly. The rest of the exhaust system will be built tomorrow or Friday. Towards the end of the day, Jason and Christian began running wires under the dash and onto the engine in preparation for the new Dakota Digital dash and making all the ECM connections.

At the risk of jinxing things, the build is going really smoothly, and the pile of parts waiting to be installed is a lot smaller than it was at the end of the day on Monday. In addition to the exhaust system, tomorrow’s work will consist of installing the gas tank, running the fuel lines, ordering the new driveshaft, and running the wires.

HOT ROD Week to Wicked Day 4 Recap!

It’s day four of Hot Rod’s Week to Wicked build of Sta-Bil’s 1958 Chevy Apache Fleetside pickup truck. They wanted a reliable and fun vehicle to bring out to Hot Rod Power Tour this year and to commemorate the brand’s 60th anniversary, we are building this truck. With most of the heavy lifting done, we dove deep into the pool of last minute details that eat up a lot of build time.

Today’s tasks were to get the fuel system plumbed and installed, bolt up the accessory drive, hang the exhaust, and wire the gauges. With tech center mechanic Christian Arriero curled up under the dash tackling the Dakota Digital gauge installation and wiring, the guys from CPP installed Holley’s Front Runner Accessory drive kit on the Chevrolet Performance LS3 crate engine supplied to us by Gandrud Chevrolet. After that was finished, the brakes were bled, ticking one more box on the ever-shrinking to-do list.

Like many early model pickups, the fuel tank is positioned behind the bench seat. It can be unnerving to sit over a tank of flammable fuel, not to mention smelling fumes for thousands of miles on Power Tour. We didn’t want the folks from Sta-Bil dealing with that, so we ditched the factory tank in favor of a CPP tank that mounts in the rear of the truck under the bed. Earls supplied the plumbing for fuel delivery. The guys had to make sure that their measurements for the new fuel filler door were accurate before they could secure the tank one final time drill a hole in the bed of the truck, and plug all the lines together.

Hedman Performance Group supplied their cast manifolds to maintain a vintage look, as well as providing all the tubing needed to make sure the LS3 purrs. After thorough measuring and double-checking, Lee from the Muffler Man in Placentia, California welded the system up. Now we are itching to hear this thing run.

HOT ROD Week to Wicked Day 5 Recap — it LIVES!

We’ve put the kibosh on the fifth day of the HOT ROD Week to Wicked build of the Sta-Bil 1958 Chevrolet Apache shop truck, with all those tiny details that really start to bring a project to life falling into place.
“Loose ends” described Friday – all the big ticket items on the punch list were scratched off earlier in the week, leaving behind a handful of those niggling details. The U-bolts have been trimmed, wiring has been heat-shrinked and loomed, and we reunited the front clip with the rest of the truck (after removing it for the CPP independent front suspension and 430hp Chevrolet Performance LS3).

We first cut out the stock front crossmember and I-beam suspension before welding in CPP’s Mustang II unit. This not only gave us independent front suspension, but also set the Apache up for the LS3. That all-aluminum powerplant is backed by a Gearstar 4L70E four-speed automatic with a Yank billet converter, spec’d for a 3,200rpm stall with lock-up.

Further down the line, the team here in Santa Ana, CA, comprising of Jason Scudellari, Christian Arriero, and the CPP team measured up the driveline for a proper pinion angle and driveshaft length before lowering the truck to finish the bulk of the under-hood wiring. The interior received minor updates thanks to the Dakota Digital gauges, which feature analog read-outs for the major systems while also housing a compact LCD display in the center — not unlike your modern daily-driver — for more in-depth data. Then we finally got to set the Apache down on its Viking coil-overs and those slick American Legend Cruiser wheels.