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The Chevy Cameo is known for breaking the standard designs of pickup trucks of the 1950s, which were known to be rugged workhorses. Chevrolet came in 1955 with a stylish pickup truck that included luxurious features and still worked hard.
If you know the Chevrolet High Country, you will notice that the Cameo was, in fact, the original version from 1955 to 1958. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the Chevrolet Cameo and how it went from a luxury ‘50s truck to a valuable collectible today.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 What Is the Chevy Cameo?
- 2 History of the Chevy Cameo
- 3 Features and Specs of the Cameo
- 4 The Chevrolet Cameo Model Years From 1955 to 1958
- 5 The End of the Cameo Luxury Truck
- 6 Desirability of Collectors
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 How Does the Stylish Design of the Chevy Cameo Compare to the Rarity of the 1956 Ford Pickup Truck?
- 9 Conclusion
What Is the Chevy Cameo?
The Chevrolet Cameo is a luxury pickup truck with a unique fleetside body. It is a half-ton truck that is based on the redesigned Task Force car, which is a light-duty pickup. The Cameo started the idea of combining luxury features with a pickup truck.
Before this, carmakers focused on heavy-duty designs with high cargo requirements. The truck went through five model years, which spanned across 1955, 1956, 1957, and 1958. The Cameo Carrier proved when it was released that a truck could be stylish and elegant. Other cars like it were the Task Force Chevrolet 1500 trucks and Chevrolet Bel Air sedan. Chevrolet made it fashionable to drive a pickup truck.
The truck was designed by Chuck Jordan, and it made use of fiberglass outer panels to create a slab-sided bed. This was unusual for a pickup truck, as it was also the first truck to be a fleetside box style. Before this Cameo, most trucks came with a step-side pickup bed instead. When Chevrolet first released the Cameo truck in 1955, there was a high level of sales.
But it went down from there as other carmakers started to release their own luxury truck designs. There were about 10,000 Cameo pickup trucks released from 1955 to 1958, also when the Task Force cab design was retired. In the 1990s, the Cameo was introduced as a package for the S10 compact truck.
History of the Chevy Cameo
The Cameo was dated back to the 1950s. The idea of the Chevrolet Cameo pickup came in 1954 from Chuck Jordan, the GM designer. Jordan no longer wanted to see trucks designed as bare-bones workhorses, so he decided to redesign the Chevy to provide something new.
Chevrolet pickups were popular after the Second World War, and they came with a lot of demand, but the design started to get old. Other carmakers like Ford, Dodge and Jeep were changing their designs but not Chevrolet. So when Jordan emerged as a designer, he looked to change a lot of features on the Cameo, to which the executives objected.
The car also came with chrome-trimmed tail lights and a rear bumper like that of the Chevy Bel Air. The executives approved the design of Cameo so they could reach well-off buyers that wanted a stylish truck. They decided to make the pickup with fiberglass rather than steel, partnering with the company that makes the Chevy Corvette bodies.
Features and Specs of the Cameo
The Chevrolet Cameo Carrier gained a lot of popularity when it was released, with over 5,000 units in the first year, despite the fact that it was more expensive than the Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck. There were also different options that buyers could get for an extra price. Today, the Cameo is very popular among collectors and customizers.
Engine and Transmission
The Cameo comes with different options in the engine selection. The standard engine was a 235.5 cubic-inch straight-six engine with 123 horsepower. Another engine option was the 265 cubic-inch overhead valve small block V8 engine with 145 horsepower. By 1957, the engine was changed to a 283 cubic-inch V8 at special order and a regular option in 1958.
As for the transmission, buyers could pair their engines with a three-speed manual transmission, four-speed manual transmission or Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission. The 265 cubic-inch V8 engine came with 145 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque.
The Cameo is known for its smooth driving experience that drivers and even collectors would enjoy. Nowadays, the modified or supercharged Cameos offer impressive speed, with one model getting from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 8.6 seconds. This was a great option for a car in the 1950s.
The car was designed with the spare tire kept in a hidden compartment behind the rear bumper for easy mounting, and the drivetrain and aesthetics were typical for the 1950s. It came with an eye-catching interior and exterior, chrome trim, and simple cruising.
The style of the Cameo came with a unique fiberglass fender, chrome tail-lights and hubcaps. The latter two parts were left over from the production of the Chevrolet Bel Air. The Cameo truck came with whitewall tires and a full-width back glass cab, and the rear pillars were painted red per the original sketches.
The design also included a chrome bumper and a flip-down compartment in the rear, which is where the spare tire was kept. The first model year featured Bombay Ivory colors on the exterior, and the interior details were painted striking red.
The interior of the car was as well designed as the exterior, with carpeting, a push button radio, a red and ivory trim on the dashboard and two-tone upholstery. Buyers could pick the engine that they wanted, and there were different color options for the interior and the exterior. Other features included power steering and air conditioning.
The Cameo truck had a front engine and a rear-wheel drive type, with a weight of 3,335 pounds. It had two doors with a seating capacity of three people. The wheelbase is 114 inches, while the length of the car is 185.7 inches. Then the front and rear tracks are 60.5 and 61 inches, respectively. The tires were 6.70 x 15 four-ply.
The Chevrolet Cameo Model Years From 1955 to 1958
The Cameo ran for five years before it was discontinued and is known as one of the iconic pickup trucks of its time. Let’s take a look at how the vehicle improved and changed over the years of production.
The 1955 Cameo was a pickup truck with two doors. It was powered by a 235 CI Inline 6-cylinder engine with 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive. The front and rear wheel specifications were 15-inch painted steel wheels with correct hubcaps. It was designed to accommodate passengers and was a light-duty truck.
The 1956 Cameo is not only the most attractive truck in the series but also a part of the best vintage trucks you can get today. It came with a stylish exterior and was ideal for passengers. It was powered by a 350 V8 engine with three-speed transmission.
Some of the options were power steering, an auxiliary temperature gauge, power front disc brakes and a Hurst shifter.
The 1957 Cameo is known as a collector’s truck and is probably the most popular release in the series. It would be hard to find the Cameo that has not been restored. It is powered by a Small Block Chevy with turbomatic 350 transmissions. It was a light-duty model with twin wind splits on the hood and an intricate grille design.
The 1958 Cameo is very rare as it came with the optional engine, which is a 283 V8 engine, power steering and Hydramatic transmission. Aside from the Fleetside bed design, the Cameo comes with a smooth-sided styling. It combines a passenger car style and truck utility design and is usually available at auctions or second-hand markets.
There were 1,405 Cameos produced in 1958. It is the rarest Cameo that you can find today.
The End of the Cameo Luxury Truck
Since 1955 recorded the highest sales of the Chevy Cameo, there was no doubt that it would eventually come to an end. Even if Chevrolet continued to offer the pickup truck, other luxury truck designs emerged, causing the sales to reduce.
The Cameo was also the last of pickup trucks with the fiberglass exterior. Due to this, the Cameo is the rarest pickup truck that you can buy, as you can’t find many trucks with this exterior material. Production was costly, and it was discontinued due to low sales.
Desirability of Collectors
The Cameo is one of the most popular classic pickup trucks that you can buy, as it comes with multiple exterior colors and trims and the Tri-Five styling. The 1957 model is the most popular among collectors, as a lot of people don’t like the quad-headlamp designs on the 1958 model. Collectors also look out for Cameo variants released by GMC.
It’s important to note that the popularity of the Cameo led to clones. The unique components of the Cameo could be placed on a half-ton pickup, and there is no differentiating information that allows you to separate this pickup truck from other units. So, when buying the Cameo, you should check the tiny details like the full car-style hubcaps.
In 1955, the Cameo truck cost $1,835, which was $435 more expensive than the standard Chevrolet 1500 truck. But today, you can get the Chevrolet Cameo truck for up to $40,000, depending on the model and the condition. The rarest option is the 1958 model, with low production numbers and separate styling. You can also get the parts of these trucks easily.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How Much Is a 1955 Cameo Worth?
The 1955 Cameo is worth between $24,000 and $35,000. You might also spend an extra $7,000 for restoration depending on the mechanic and the parts that you need. If you’re skilled in car maintenance, you can modify the car yourself.
– What Was the GMC Version of the Chevy Cameo?
The GMC Version of the Chevy Cameo was the Suburban, which was first called Town and Country. The styling of the car was unchanged from 1955, and it came with features like the sleek sides, panoramic windshield, and unique tail lights.
How Does the Stylish Design of the Chevy Cameo Compare to the Rarity of the 1956 Ford Pickup Truck?
The Chevy Cameo is an ideal choice if you want an iconic classic pickup truck that changed the game from the moment it was released.
Here’s a rundown of our article on the truck:
- The Cameo is a luxury pickup truck with a unique fleetside body, redesigned after the Task Force car.
- It was available from 1955 to 1958 and was designed by Chuck Jordan of GM.
- It is one of the most popular cars among collectors, especially the 1957 model, while the 1958 truck is the rarest.
With our complete guide, you know all there is to know about the Cameo and its unique features. The pickup truck will make a great addition to your collection, especially if it is well-maintained.
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