By Michael Kitchens
I love a classic truck. There’s something about their stance and those shiny super chrome grills that make them stand out whenever I see them. Rudy and Darlene’s 1959 Chevy Apache fits that role perfectly.
Rudy and Darlene met each other in 2006 and both were already huge fans of the classic car scene. Rudy got his start fooling around with Datsuns back in the early ’80s, continually progressing through a list of select vehicles, including Volkswagens, Chevy Novas, and more while hopping from island to island. Darlene was also a classic enthusiast, and her dad was a mechanic back on Kauai. Surrounded by Datsuns as she grew, she was a regular at cruise nights and the drag races.
“I’ve always had a liking for trucks. This truck came out for sale in 2006 and it was a pretty good deal so we jumped on it,” she says.
The previous owner was a landscaper and had little time to really work on the truck, so Rudy and Darlene saw a chance at something great. Right from the onset, they invested heavily in its restoration.
The paint job is the original ’57 Turquoise Green that came with the truck and was in such excellent shape it allowed them to focus on the various other bits and pieces that really make a vehicle like this pop. The vehicle is in a constant state of progress but some of the first changes were the interior.
“It had green carpet,” she says. “It was ugly.”
Rudy and Dar put in a bench seat from a ’79 El Camino, new Autometer gauges, an Ididit steering column, as well as a trick steering wheel and BM floor shifter.
The engine is nothing to laugh at. It’s a 383 Stroker with a 750 Edelbrock Carburetor pushing out around 430HP. The truck features some trick Flowmaster Duel Exhausts with 18×8 and 18×9 Boyd Coddington Smoothies fitted with 225/40/18-inch and 255/45/18 Falken 452s on the front and rear. It’s a gorgeous combo, and the truck gleams with bits of select chrome pieces on both the exterior and interior.
Rudy isn’t finished, in fact, he would prefer to strip the truck down to nothing and do a complete restoration as he has several components still waiting for that opportunity.
“So far, we spent over $25,000 and I still have a lot of parts left at home,” she tells me.
Both Rudy and Darlene love to cruise — attending the Lunch Bunch get-togethers, cruise nights, and other classic car related events. The couple is playful, and the Apache is a nice centerpiece for both of them to revolve around. Rudy isn’t sentimental about the car — he’d sell it if the price is right. Darlene, however, would prefer to hold on to it and pass it down to her family, especially since it was her first ever hot rod.
“It keeps me busy and I believe the car describes a person,” Rudy says. “I want to do it my way.”
And Darlene? As far as she is concerned, there’s no debate. “It’s my truck,” she says matter-of-factly.