Tyrell Curtis’ ’58 Chevy Cameo is one of those trucks we all wish had been in our family. But it’s not. It’s in his and for four generations thus far!
“The 1958 Chevrolet Cameo was originally purchased by my great-grandfather off the dealer floor at Jackson Chevrolet in Pueblo, Colorado. He used the truck for his cabinet making business until 1972, when he gave it to his daughter and her husband (my grandmother and grandfather). My grandfather then used the truck in his concrete construction business for several years. In 1978, the truck was given to my father for his first vehicle, at that time they had it painted silver (originally green with a white vinyl top) and new rims and tires were put on. He drove it every day to school for two years until late 1983 when it was parked. In 2004, I asked if we could fix it up for me to drive; that’s when the fun began.
We started by replacing the engine with a GM Performance 350 crate engine with a March Performance Serpentine belt kit and a Muncie four-speed; the only change for 6 months. Then we decided to have the paint done and a couple of minor dings repaired. We took the body off the frame, and while the body and paint was being done over the next year, we began looking at other modifications and upgrades.”
Tyrell worked all summer to help pay for the restoration, which included new Auto Meter gauges, as ididit steering column topped with a Grant wheel, bucket seats, and a custom console built by their friend, Rocky Ellis. Burgundy carpet was laid out to match the truck’s exterior while a lighter shade of gray vinyl was used to cover the ’90 Dodge Caravan bucket seats and door panels. Creature comforts include a Kenwood / Pioneer stereo and Vintage Air A/C system.
On the exterior, the Curtis’ had all the chrome replated, in some cases twice as the first result was less than satisfactory. Royal Plating, in Tucson, Arizona, got the job handled though and turned out some stellar shine work, saving even the rare Cameo-only side badging. A hard Maple bed wood kit from Bruce Horkey shod in smooth stainless steel strips further complements the Mark Martinez-applied PPG Vintage Red and Sanddrift Metallic paint.
Of course, all that fun, shiny stuff wouldn’t matter if the mechanical side of things were ignored. The front drum brakes were upgraded to disc units and a Total Cost Involved IFS setup helped get the nose down nice and low. Out back, a Currie 9-inch rearend was hung off a pair of parallel leaf springs. A set of 17-inch Boyd Coddington Junkyard Dog wheels, shod in Falken rubber round out the rolling duties.
“My Dad and I did most of the work but did have some help along the way from family friends. Steve Trujillo, who helped with whatever we needed; Frank Schumacher, who helped with all the wiring and some of the front and rear end replacement; Shane Spellbring with rear end and custom driveshaft; and Rocky Ellis who built our center console and various other welding projects throughout.
We have driven the truck to every car show we have entered, the longest being to Denver and Phoenix. We built it to drive, not be a trailer queen, and she now drives great. My dad and I usually go together and both enjoy classic cars and had a great time restoring this family treasure.”