1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

Patina Preservation – Richard Morec’s 1959 Chevrolet Apache

It’s hard to tell exactly when hot rod patina became so popular but it’s been trending for a good long while now. But Richard Morec wasn’t a guy to jump on the bandwagon initially, and certainly not interested in the “faux patina” rides we see these days.

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

His patina perspective changed when he visited Grand Collision in Hayward, California one day. While talking to Ron, the collision shop’s owner, he noticed a ’59 Chevrolet Apache Fleetside off in a corner but its fenders were on blocks ready to be sanded, primed and painted. Grand Collision was going to repaint the truck and sell it. Morec was unable to stand idle as 57 years worth of mother nature’s perfect patina was about to be erased. He stopped the paint and body guys in their tracks and said he would take the truck as is. That’s how this journey began.

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

Turns out, this ’59 Apache was the original parts-runner truck for Buchannan Cadillac and Oldsmobile, also in Hayward. It was put into service as soon as it hit the dealer lot in 1959 and stayed local its whole life. Since being rescued by Richard Morec, it has undergone a marvelous transformation while retaining its weathered factory finish.

Under its scarred skin is a modern machine which Richard says “runs so smooth – it purrs like a kitten. Of all the cars and truck’s I’ve ever built – this is hands down the best-running one of them all.”

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

Once the truck cranks over, you instantly hear its unique exhaust tone. It’s not LS or small block powered. With the help of Ron at Grand Collision, a Cummins diesel swap was completed. How rad is that? Along with the Cummins came the donor truck’s 46RE overdrive transmission. “We also did a computer delete and put a B&M box in it. It works flawlessly,” Richard said.1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

The swap took some re-engineering as you might imagine. “There was a lot of measuring and remeasuring along with serious fab work,” Richard said. “We installed a stock ‘70 Camaro front clip, then modified the Dodge Cummins motor mounts into the Camaro clip.”

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

The rear section of the factory frame was then C-Notched and when all smoothed out, it was powder coated. RideTech Shockwaves were bolted in as well RideTech StrongARM tubular control arms. When aired out, it blankets the 20” Detroit Steel solid wheels to perfection. The look and sound of this truck are on point. Big time!

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve


Richard drives the truck all over his hometown of Pleasanton, CA as well as to regional car shows and Sunday drives. His 10-year old daughter Haley has become quite fond of the Apache. She has named it “Rusty.”

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

Those road trips are extra comfy thanks to a custom suede seat and interior by King Covers. New Dakota Digital Apache gauges monitor the vitals while a stock ‘59 Impala steering wheel and Flaming River column offer ergonomic efficiency.

1959 Chevy Apache, Fuel Curve

We spotted Richard’s Apache at the 32nd West Coast Nationals and couldn’t resist it. It was an easy choice for our Fuel Curve Pick. It embodies the ingenuity and style we have come to expect from modern day hot rodders. His wife Carolyn is also on board which as you guys know, helps when it comes to pricey projects. “She’s the best for putting up with all this,” Richard joked.

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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