Casey Loter’s Tesla Swapped ’58 Chevy Apache

Casey Loter's 1958 Tesla Apache
Casey Loter's 1958 Tesla Apache
 

Purists will either hate it because its Tesla swapped or ’cause they just got spanked…

Buzz Roadkill

Casey Loter and Electric 51 Speed Shop (a Salt Lake City start-up spawned by this project) started this Chevy Apache EV as a side build, but a Tesla swap was not the original plan…

Casey trailered his ’58 Apache to Salt Lake City from Dolan Springs, Arizona ~ Photo: Casey Loter

When the time came in the build to finalize the drivetrain, naturally an LS swap was an option, maybe a vintage late 58’ 348 chevy engine — but each had been done before — all these options seemed kind of boring.

Photo: Casey Loter

The thought of an electric-powered Classic Chevy had always been kicked around, but nothing ever seemed like it had the power to move one of the old GM trucks — that is until Tesla.

Photo: Casey Loter

Loter said he didn’t intend to go electric with it, but when it was time to pick out a powertrain everything else had already been done. He thought about his kids, he thought about Salt Lake City’s air quality, and he thought he should go electric.

He also thought about hot rodders of old and the hot rod spirit — guys who swapped engines and other parts of cars to come up with the fastest combinations at the time. In the past, if you wanted electric conversion you had to find something tiny and light and prepare for a life of slow speeds and short-range. Then came Tesla and its powerful motors and long-range.

With some funding help from his childhood friend and partner, Loter ordered a Tesla Kit from EV West in San Marcos, California. He chuckled when he said the word “kit,” saying you get a motor, accelerator pedal, and a brake switch…

Casey Loter, Interview with Brian Champagne, KSL.com Contributor 
Photo: Casey Loter

An effort was made to source as many General Motors components as possible.

The front suspension is 2nd Generation Chevrolet Camaro, and independent rear suspension was salvaged from an older Cadillac selected for track width.

Photo: Casey Loter

The batteries were pulled out of a Chrysler Pacifica, but are also used in the Chevy Volt and Bolt, keeping with the GM lean.

Photo: Casey Loter

“The acceleration is like nothing I’ve ever felt,”

Casey Loter, Interview with Brian Champagne, KSL.com Contributor 

Cassey added that he can be traveling at 30 miles per hour, poke the accelerator, and the tires will spin.

Photo: Casey Loter
Taking advantage of the local EV charging station ~ Photo: Casey Loter

Now with the Tesla Apache build under their belts, Casey and Electric 51 Speed Shop would like to offer their services to you and help turn your electric dreams into reality.

Electric 51 Speed Shop believes the future is now ~ Photo: Casey Loter

If you have a project in mind, please don’t hesitate to contact them as they can turn almost any classic into an electric cruiser or electric hot rod that no green light challenger will see coming.

Photo: Casey Loter

Stay Tuned for more on this truck, and future builds from Electric 51 Speed Shop…