“Casper” – Tommy Dora’s 1957 Apache is Finally a Reality
How many of us as youngsters lusted after a certain ride but never made that dream come true? Texan Tommy Dora is one of the fortunate few who eventually made his youthful fantasy a reality.
A friend’s father had a ’56 Chevy pickup that inspired Tommy’s budding romance. “I loved the grille of the 1957 Apache and definitely wanted a big back window,” Tommy says. He began his search while he was in college, but it ultimately took 10 years to find the right truck, which he located a few months after getting married. “I told my wife I was buying myself a wedding gift,” he says. “I also let her know that it wouldn’t happen overnight.”
Over the years Tommy had collected his ideas for the truck in a binder. When the time came to tackle the build, he turned to Hill’s Hot Rods, binder in hand. “When I walked into Hill’s, he probably thought I was crazy,” Tommy says, but that binder provided the shop with a blueprint for a crazy cool pickup.
The breadth of the bodywork is both obvious and subtle. For example, the bumpers are flipped upside down, tucked tight to the body, and painted to match the wheels. Even the outside mirrors and door handles match the gunmetal color of the bumpers, which contrasts nicely with the PPG Bright White paint.
Other body mods included a pancaked hood, rounded bed corners, a curved front bed panel, and a custom firewall and inner fenders. The bed floor was raised, the metal strips between the wood planks were given the same color treatment as the bumpers, and the fuel filler was tucked in a custom panel under the floor.
The truck rides on a Scott’s Hotrods chassis that features coil-overs and Wilwood discs on all four corners, a 9-inch rearend, and 20-inch Raceline wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. One of the musts on Tommy’s dream list was big block power, which came in the form of a 496c.i. crate engine from Blueprint Engines topped with FiTech fuel injection and backed by a TH400 transmission.
The interior shows off the talents of the team at JD Glassworks. Dakota Digital gauges reside in the smoothed dash, which is also fitted with a tilt column and Raceline steering wheel. The Snowden seat is covered in beautiful brown leather, while Lokar pedals and handles, Vintage Air, and a custom console complete the interior package.
Inside and out, from top to bottom, Tommy’s 1957 Apache is the result of choosing the right builder, the right parts, and the right ideas. It’s a dream that took years to fulfill, but the results were certainly worth the wait.
Photos by Damon Lee