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Duck’s Guts

by Fuelish Media

Jason Bittle’s Outstanding ’58 Apache

Surely, there is a collective “WTF?!” in the air,  so let’s clear up why this truck was affectionately named after the intestines of a billed waterfowl. Jason Bittle is a proud Australian, and in The Land Down Under, this saying kind of runs parallel to the American phrase of praise: “the bee’s knees” (which is even more perplexing than the whole guts thing). Agreed—both terms of endearment are weird as heck, but they are used in tandem to describe something awesome, which Jason’s Apache most definitely is.

Jason admits that these kinds of trucks, in any condition, are ultra rare to see anywhere in Australia, let alone one that has been slammed to the ground and decked out in true street truck fashion. “I could park this thing next to a brand-new Lamborghini of Ferrari, and still get all the attention”, Jason boasts, and rightly so. “This is exactly why I had been searching for a decent ’58 or ’59 Fleetside patina truck for at least 10 months prior to finding the old Chevy.”

And just where did Jason dig up this rolling relic? Well, Instagram, of course. “It was late May 2017, whilst scrolling around, I was stopped by a post from @home_grown_rides that particular day. The picture of the ’58 big back window short bed fleetside Apache caught all of my attention, so I cheekily replied to their post saying that it would be better if the truck would be coming to Sydney rather than wherever they said it was possibly heading.” To his surprise, Jason actually got a reply from Ric Maestas, owner of Arizona-based Home Grown Rides, informing him that the possibility of that happening could be a reality. Nobody officially called dibs (left a deposit) on the truck yet, so it was technically still a free agent.
Jason acted quick and sent Ric some cash to lock the truck down. While there was much to celebrate on Jason’s end given that his search was over, the distance between him and his new truck was large, to say the least, and he’s a very hands-on type of guy. This experience was going to be a much more difficult build process than he had been used to in the past. “After some good long conversation with Ric, we got a good plan in place, and he jumped right in. He has always been good about sending update photos and videos—he really did above and beyond when helping create my dream truck.” Jason flew to Arizona a grand total of four times while the truck was in the fabrication phase to get a real look at the progress, and to spend some time with Ric, who was quickly becoming a very good friend.
At first, Jason had expressed interest in keeping things toned down with a simple ‘bag setup to get that lowered ride height and be happy with that. Luckily, Ric suggested early on, that aiming a bit higher would make him much happier for much longer. There would be no need to improve upon certain things like the suspension system if there was a Porterbuilt chassis with all the fixin’s installed, which is exactly what ended up happening for this specific reason. Jason did want a set of impressive wheels underneath the truck, so they opted for a set of 22-inch Esajian Slingshot rollers—a handsome 5-spoke design that would look good on any type of custom ride. Just like that, the Apache was starting to take shape.

The guys didn’t have to worry much about the Chevy’s exterior since Jason likes the aesthetic of natural patina, and when a truck’s surface is worn down as good as this, it’s sometimes best to let nature’s handiwork take center stage. There were some modern additions made to the truck’s exterior in the way of GSI door handles, and new head and taillight housings from Brothers, but other than that, the plan was to keep the modifications to the façade at a minimum.

The complete opposite direction, however, was slated for the interior. Since Jason planned on spending as much time as possible behind the wheel, he figured it best that the cab be decked out properly. Welfare Customs, another local Arizona shop, was recruited to outfit the truck with plush upholstery work, which included the seats, carpet and custom console. Dakota Digital gauges update the instrumentation readouts while still delivering a familiar vintage appearance. As one of the few portions of the truck that have received a major overhaul, the interior really gives the Apache a truly plush VIP demeanor.
With the truck nearing completion, Jason had to sit back and watch most of it come together remotely. Luckily, he had a builder with excellent communication skills in Ric, who kept him updated and in the loop with the progress. While it was being completed, Jason’s truck had been shown at a few major shows in The States, where it received rave reviews, as well as a trophy or two. It was during Jason’s last trip out to Arizona when he and Ric drove the truck out to the docks of Long Beach, CA, where it was it was loaded up in a storage container to soon embark on its 3-week cruise to Australia.

“I do plan on plan on taking ‘ol Duck’s Guts out to a few shows in Australia”, Jason says. “But as crazy as it sounds, I do miss the building process, so the only way to fix this is to start a new project, so stay tuned.” Whether there are plans for the Apache in the near future, or a completely new truck project, Jason can always be counted on make things happen in his garage, or anywhere else across the globe in the name of saving more classic trucks from the scrap yards.

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