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Behind the Names: Chevrolet Apache, Viking, and Spartan


For the 1958 model year, General Motors was ready to introduce a mid-cycle refresh of its 1955-1959 Task Force truck series. This partial redesign included the now-iconic 1958 quad headlamp front end with a full-width grille and integrated park lamps, as well as the option of an all-steel Fleetside bed. However, it also marked the debut of several memorable names that were meant to represent the strength and ruggedness of these vehicles. In 1958 and 1959, GM's trucks were called the Chevrolet Apache for light-duty models, Chevrolet Viking for medium-duty models, and Chevrolet Spartan for heavy-duty commercial models. In this article, we'll look at some examples of each.

Chevrolet Apache

Understandably, most classic truck enthusiasts remember the most common variant in this 1958-59 Task Force line, the light-duty Chevy Apache. The owner of this restored 1959 Chevy Apache calls it his shop truck, but it's far from the sad state one might imagine for a work truck. In fact, it's in absolutely gorgeous condition.


This 1959 Apache pickup belongs to Bob Meredith, of Mission Viejo, California. You'd never know it from the spotless condition, but he uses the truck to carry supplies to and from work, and also considers it his daily-driver.


Above: This Apache's fender emblems say Chevrolet Apache 31 to indicate a half-ton capacity, which was previously called 3100.

Bob tells us he restored the entire truck in 1995, starting with the stripped cab and frame. He gradually progressed to what's seen here, and has periodically installed replacement parts from the Classic Industries truck catalog as needed.


The 1959 Chevy Apache is powered by an original-spec 283ci V8 and four-speed manual transmission, both rebuilt to run and shift smoothly. Bob enjoys driving his shop truck every day — he's not afraid to use it, but he also keeps it in stunning condition.

Although the Chevrolet Apache name was most prominent in 1958 and 1959, it lived on in 1960 and 1961 as the "Apache 10" before GM dropped the designation for the simpler C-10 nomenclature that became standard for the C/K Series.

Chevrolet Viking


Above: This photo shows a restored 1959 Chevrolet Viking 40 medium-duty truck with a flat bed, courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

Stepping up to medium-duty applications, GM designated the 1958-59 Task Force variants as the Chevrolet Viking. These hardworking trucks featured a stronger chassis, higher payload capacity, and dual rear wheels. The Viking 40 through Viking 60 would later be renamed the C-40 through C-60 in 1962.

An interesting note: From 1958 through 1961, all 50- and 60-series trucks were called Viking. In 1958-59, 40-series trucks were also called Viking. However, the 1960-61 40-series changed over to the Apache designation.

Chevrolet Spartan


Above: Here's a photo of a 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 heavy-duty dump truck courtesy of RM Sotheby's.

Perhaps the rarest of the bunch today, the Chevrolet Spartan was intended for heavy-duty commercial applications. The Chevrolet Spartan 70, 80, 90, and 100 were the heaviest haulers GM offered from 1958 through 1961. Like the other trucks in this article, they eventually switched over to designations such as C-70 for single rear axle variants and M-70 for tandem rear axle variants.

Looking for Chevy Apache, Viking, and Spartan Parts?

If you have a classic Chevrolet or GMC truck, Classic Industries has all the parts and accessories you need to restore it, including many of the small trim pieces and emblems. Click the button below for your free GM truck parts catalog.


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