After over 30 years of General Motors using the standard stepside bed for their pickups, a major addition was introduced as an accessory in 1958. It was referred to as a Fleetside. Our Feature truck this month shows this new size pickup bed.
Yes, the standard stepside remained as the most popular bed, however as the new Fleetside began to be seen on the road their sales quickly increased. After all, the engines now become larger and can handle a heavier load.
Even before their 4th year on the market, their sales surpassed the stepside. In today’s world, though still available from Chevrolet, the stepside is now often thought of as a “fun pickup” very popular among younger drivers who have no plans of carrying many items.
The proud owner of this month’s special ½ ton is Dr. Jennifer Crandall, of Healdsburg, California. This small northern town is in the heart of the state’s wine country. Jennifer is a local dentist. After patient hours, Jennifer realized she needed a pickup to get to the local tree and plant nursery as well as the hardware store.
Jennifer’s own words:
I call her Wosebud, and she is a special year for me. When I relocated to a small winery town in Northern California, I was just looking for an old truck to get to- and-fro the hardware and nursery. Not looking…for anything special, however, I ‘just’ had- to- see this one on the first shopping website I went into. Rationalizing that the chunk of money that she costs was going to appreciate more in my garage than in a CD at .02 percent, I was sold on the idea of acquiring her nearly 12 years ago. She was like a brand new truck, just needed to get the wipers going. That search landed me at Jim Carter’s website to order my first part: the vacuum motor for the wipers.
There’s more to learn about her than I know, and I’m open to the education. But what I do know is that Chevrolet made the Task Force trucks during 1955-’59. They had more styling than other trucks with their big curved windshield, back curved windows, and bigger inside cab. Wosebud is a standard 3100 model, which means a 1/2 ton. She has a · 235-cid · inline six-cylinder or a “Blue Flame Six. I learned the Blue Flame Six was first used in the beginning Corvettes! One of the most significant features of the 1958 Apache was the introduction of the Fleetside bed that year. And, she has a“3-on-the-tree” or the base three-speed transmission. I believe Chevy sold these Task Force
Trucks base and everything was extra- chrome was extra, blinkers were extra, sun visors were extra ( a piece), … , seat belts were an option, cigarette lighter, and even the panoramic rear window was an option.
She also has a starter pedal next to the gas pedal. The Apache, after its arrival in 1958, was only used for 4 years, and the 58 was the first year with dual headlamps. The ’58 was the year of the new grille too with the more extensive molding under the headlamps, a large jet-plane-shaped ornament above the front fender, and the Chevrolet embossed in the chrome. The Fleetside panels are flush with the cab and have missile-shaped bulge along the bed exterior. The Fleetside gave the bed 75 inches in width versus 48 inches on the stepside standard version. This model has an I-beam axle, manual steering (of course), and is a 2 wheel drive. One interesting bit of education I learn at a car show was that horse tail hair was wrapped around and used as a filter in the can of the oil bath. Is that true????
The final version of life with Wosebud might be when, and if, Jim Carter dissolves his business and I can no longer get parts without having a pulling- teeth experience. And, I gave up ‘removing’ wisdom teeth 30 years ago!
Extra Comment: This was the first year for Chevrolet to refer to their light duty trucks as an Apache. This name was carried through 1961. All ½ and ¾ ton pickups have this word on their front fender emblems!
Why this name? No reason shows up in our GM history manuals. We can feel sure it was to remind the buyer of the great outdoors and not so much as only a truck for work.
However, one can be sure it was added in hopes this would add a little more on their bottom line in sales.
If you would like to contact Jennifer Crandall her email is: JLCDDS@ME.com