In the early-'50s, Chevrolet Division studio designer, Chuck Jordan (who went on to head GM's design department), first rendered what eventually became the '55 Chevy Cameo 1/2-ton pickup. He had hoped to style a classy, car-like design for these limited-production trucks. Besides their lower production numbers, many hobbyists desire customizing Cameos today because they agree with Jordan; these are more stylish than typical work trucks. Let's face it, a stock '55-58 Cameo is more appealing than some of its contemporaries. And when hobbyists add a little modern engineering, they're even more desirable.
Roy Padilla of Northridge, California, performed precisely this feat with his '57 Chevy Cameo. Roy first purchased the '57 at the Pomona Swap Meet in 1997-the truck looked more like a combat vehicle. He began to rebuild by dismantling the body panels from the chassis. Valley Pacific Frame & Suspension in Canoga Park, California, was entrusted with renewing the front suspension. Equipped with GM ventilated disc brakes and medium-duty Mustang II coil springs, they installed a TCI IFS. Roy replaced the Chevy's original differential with an '81 Camaro 3.73:1 final-drive ratio rearend. A Classic Performance Products 19-gallon fuel cell, installed behind the third member, made for more effective fuel delivery than the stock, rear-of-cab noisy, smelly fuel-tank location.
Shortly after the Cameo's purchase, Roy decided to find a 350ci short-block to rebuild. He had Steve Monteleone renew a '75 350ci engine that required a .040 overbore. Steve utilized TRW forged pistons and Federal Mogul rings, as well as an Edelbrock Performer 650-cfm four-barrel carb and aluminum intake manifold. Before being mated to a TH350 trans, Steve dyno'd the balanced and blueprinted mill. Despite having a stock stroke, and ported and polished cast iron heads, it registered an impressive 462 horses on the engine dyno.
Rather than modify the Cameo's car-classic character lines, the owner opted to have its exterior panels restored. Todd Jones at Westside Valley Autobody, in Canoga Park, California, massaged the work/combat-weary sheetmetal and fiberglass rear fenders back to a factory-fresh appearance. He then lavished several topcoats of Dupont Colorado Red and White for the Cameo rear-fender scallops, before fine-sanding and gleaming up the paint with some clearcoats.
When the time came to refurbish the interior, a factory-fresh appearance wasn't of utmost importance. After creating custom-built seats, Martin's Auto Upholstery of Canoga Park, California, trimmed them with gray fabric, then covered the floor with black wool carpet. Their dcor complete, Roy had a '57 Cameo that Chuck Jordan would be proud of. Roy was so pleased with how the red ride turned out that he named her after his radiant wife Rosie. That sounds like a great name to us. Rosie must be a special lady-she's certainly a spectacular custom vintage truck.
Cameos were produced in limited...
Cameos were produced in limited numbers during their four-year production run. Chevrolet built a total of 2,244 units in 1957, in nine different color choices.
The owner utilized an American...
The owner utilized an American Wire harness to wire the truck. He installed Auto Meter instruments and a Custom Auto Sound CD/stereo system. A Grant GT steering wheel perches atop a '70s-era GM van column.