Cory Shows’ ’59 Apache: A Masterpiece of Experience and Hard Work

Cory Show’s ’59 Apache Built from Experience

To have “experience” means to have practical hands-on knowledge about a particular process or situation.

If you have experience keeping chickens, you know all about chicken health, housing requirements, nutritional needs, and vermin control. If you have experience playing baseball, you know how to hit and catch a ball, run to home base to score, and tag someone out. And if you have experience as a truck builder, you know just what to do to create a 1959 Chevy Apache like this out of thin air—along with eight-plus years of hard work.

“After having many ‘bagged and custom builds, I wanted to have a custom hotrod I built myself,” says Cory Shows of Caledonia, Mississippi, an AcrophobiA member and helicopter paint supervisor with experience to spare.

Meet Cory’s Cruiser

Back in the 1990s, Cory installed car stereos at a few different shops throughout high school while building his first “show truck” to take to ShowFest in Greenville, Mississippi.

“I worked on that truck for several years learning most of what I know today,” Cory recalls.

Sadly, he lost the truck after a bad accident, but that didn’t stop his affinity for customizing trucks.

“I went through several other trucks over some time, changing little things to make it mine,” he says. “After a while and a couple of kids later, I was given the opportunity to have a bay at my good friend’s shop to do my next ‘build.’”

And so, the search began for his next project’s inspiration. While driving across town from his place, Cory spied an aging Chevy truck in the backyard of an old man’s house.

“I made a deal with what I could afford at the time,” he says.

The old man took the cash, and Cory went home with a new-to-him ’59 Apache.

“At first, the plan was to have a clean weekend cruiser,” he says. “But as it does, life got in the way. I worked on the truck for three to four years, and then things started to progress.”

Something Else Takes Shape

What changed the course of Cory’s build was an “elusive fleetside bed made only for ’58-’59 Apaches.” The bedsides with those groovy curves replaced the original step-sides, and Cory decided that the once-weekend cruiser was destined for greatness at shows across the Southeast.

In the meantime, being on a budget, Cory did most of the work on his own.

“I had to learn how to get things done mostly myself,” he says. “The truck was turning from a simple thing into something else. From smoothing the body to cutting my own stainless suspension bars, I wanted to see how far I could push it.”

For the exterior, Cory added a ’59 Apache grille from AMD and Chevy bumpers from a ’59 Impala Custom—one of the truck’s unique features. He also smoothed the sheetmetal, flushed the door jambs with rounded corners, added La Garra flush handles, and created seamless bedsides with roll pans.

As for paint, he applied a custom-mixed Black Chromabase with Axalta Clear. And, surprise, surprise: “It was the easiest part of the build,” says Cory the custom painter.

He used his experience under the hood, too. He installed a 1969 Chevy V-8 468ci engine and used TRW connecting rods and pistons. The sealed power rings have a 11:1 compression ratio. He used a Comp Xenergy camshaft with 555 lift, ported large oval head mods, and an Edelbrock Airgap intake manifold.

Other engine upgrades include a Holley Sniper fuel injector, 3-inch Patriot headers, 3-inch Flowmaster exhaust system, and an MSD HEI ignition. The engine is smooth painted with a full wire tuck, has a Black Mountain 2.5 pull drive, “Gotta Show” stainless steel lines, air conditioning, heater, and power steering.

Framed, Rolling in Style

The Apache has a custom chassis designed by Cory himself. He modified the frame with a Camaro clip and built the back half. It has a 114-inch wheelbase with Airlift springs and KYB shocks, front and rear.

He says the only thing he’d change about the truck would be a full-frame swap. “Suspensions have gotten so much better over the years,” he says.

For rubber, he chose Toyo Proxy tires, 22 inches in the front and 24 inches in the back, with 4- and 4.5-inch backspacing, respectively. They’re wrapped around Raceline Bandit wheels.

Of course, the interior had to look as good as the exterior, so Cory once again went to work, this time reupholstering the Apache and installing classy Snowden bench seats along with full door panels, German velour carpet, and a custom sheetmetal dash. The interior is another one of the truck’s most notable features.

It took Cory eight-plus years to finished up this restoration, but it was worth all the time and experience, he says.

“Stay the course and don’t give up,” he says, noting that this Apache build taught him a great deal of patience.

When show season starts again next year, be sure to keep an eye out for Cory’s black ’59 Chevy Apache. He’s been to LST, Crusin’ the Coast, Goodguys shows, Battle in Bama, Orange Beach Invasion, Mini Nats, Hot Rod Nationals, Redemption Day, and more!

“The most rewarding thing about his hobby is meeting people who are interested in something you put your heart into,” he says. “ It’s a blessing to be recognized and have the ability to share some of my experiences, however they come.”



Cory Shows
1959 Chevy Apache
Caledonia, MS
Club: AcrophobiA


  • Work and Paint by Cory Shows
  • AMD grille, ’59 Apache
  • Chevy bumpers, ’59 Impala Custom
  • Smoothed sheetmetal
  • Flush door jambs with rounded corners, LaGarra flush handles
  • Seamless bedsides with roll pan
  • Color: Custom-mixed Black Chromabase with Axalta Clear


  • Work by Cory Shows
  • 1969 Chevrolet V-8 468ci
  • TRW connecting rods, pistons
  • Sealed power rings, 11 to 1 compression ration
  • Comp camshaft, Xenergy
  • Head modifications: Ported large oval
  • Edelbrock Airgap intake manifold
  • Holley Sniper fuel injection
  • Patriot 3-inch headers
  • Flowmaster exhaust system with 3-inch exhaust diameter
  • MSD, type HEI, ignition
  • Smooth painted, full wire tuck
  • Black Mountain Machine 2.5 pulley drive
  • “Gotta show” stainless lines
  • AC, power steering, heater


  • Transmission: 700R4
  • TCI custom torque converter and transmission cooler
  • Brakes: Drilled front and rear
  • CPP master cylinder


  • Frame mods by Cory Shows
  • Custom built
  • Camaro clip, built back half
  • 114-inch wheelbase
  • Springs, front and rear: Airlift
  • Shocks, front and rear: KYB
  • Smooth boxed, bag on bar, stainless upper 4-link


  • Toyo Proxy tires
  • Backspacing (front 22” 4.0; rear 24” 4.5)
  • Wheels Racine Bandit 22/24
  • Aluminum fuel tank


  • Upholstery done by Cory Shows
  • Brown Snowden bench seats
  • Full door panels, German velour carpet, custom sheetmetal dash


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