Loden Machine in Balch Springs bored the cylinders 0.030 over and balanced and blueprinted the engine. Ron assembled it and added small-port heads so he can run three Rochester 2G carbs on a stock GM dual-plane intake. The stock exhaust manifold connects to custom pipes with Quick Time cutouts and Dynomax Ultra Flo mufflers. An MSD coil and Mallory HyFire VI ignition fire up the 409. Ron used a Dyno 2000 computer program to come up with a horsepower figure of 376 at 5,500 rpm and a torque rating of 408 lb-ft at 4,000. The transmission is a Muncie M21.

Even with that high-horse big-block under the hood, Ron wanted to keep the factory look of the truck-no chop; no section; and stock handles, trim, and emblems. The '88 Chrysler White DuPont paint, shot by the owner, reflects Ron's choice of keeping the whole thing low-key on the outside. Ron filled the stake pockets and all bed seams. Tailgate latches were shaved and filled. The floor was redone with oak wood and stainless steel strips from LMC. The bed is protected by a Truxedo soft bed cover. Fifteen-inch American Racing vintage Torq-Thrust Ds fit the '60s time period of the truck and roll on Bridgestone Dueler radial tires.

The interior is simple like the exterior, upgraded by a custom dash insert and a series of Moon gauges. The factory AM radio was replaced with a Pioneer stereo system. Ron removed the shifter from the stock column and added a Jeep steering wheel. The stock bench seat was notched with a relief to make room for the Hurst Competition/Plus floor shifter. Tops Auto Trim in Garland, Texas, upholstered the seat in black cloth. The lap belts came from LMC. The pedal assembly from a '63 GM pickup replaced the original setup.

Ron says the Chevy would never have reached this point without help from his wife, Linda, and their sons Bret and Jason. "And it's still not done," he insists. "The truck is my hobby. I enjoy working on it and it's therapy in its own right." Done or not, the progress made on the '61 is impressive, if not speedy. And if these photos don't testify to the quality of Ron's transformed Apache, consider the fact that Linda-who once nicknamed it the PSIG-has started referring to it as "the hot rod."