Lot 639: Chevrolet Cameo Pick Up Truck
Before the advent of Chevrolet’s Cameo Carrier in 1955, pick up trucks were strictly vehicles of utility, favoring function and ignoring style. But all that changed in 1955. The Cameo's distinctive looks came from flat fiberglass side panels that gave the truck's bed a substantially sleeker look than any of its predecessors. It also started a trend of attractive trucks suitable for everyday transportation that was later popularized with the Ford Ranchero and Chevy El Camino, as well as virtually all light trucks available in today’s market.
In a dramatic departure from the styling of contemporary pick ups, the designers at Chevrolet used radically wrapped-around windshields and sheathed the steel stepside rear bed with smooth fiberglass covers. The wooden bed floor remained, but the tail gate was also sheathed in fiberglass. In a departure, a full three-piece rear bumper was used. With chromed ends, the painted center section folded down to reveal the hidden spare tire.
Under the skin, the Cameo used a standard Chevrolet ladder frame with solid front and rear axles suspended by longitudinal leaf springs. Brakes were hydraulic drums all around. Under the hood, the buyer had a choice of 235 cid straight six or Chevrolet’s brand new 265 cid overhead valve V-8. The standard transmission was a three-speed with column shift, although the two-speed Powerglide automatic could be fitted.
According to www.truckworld.com, “Cameos were a styling hit, but not in sales or production.” With sales at least partly held down by the novelty of a truck that looked good and a base price of well over $2,000, few buyers opted for the handsome hauler. In the end, fewer than 5,200 Cameos were sold in 1955. But its real legacy is that it changed the way people perceived light trucks.
According to American car and truck historian Mike Mueller, “Most were fully loaded ‘glamour’ trucks; most were high dollar, with full hubcaps, and quite a few had the custom cab with wraparound rear glass as option.” There’s no question that the Cameo is much nicer looking than its contemporaries within Chevy and from the other manufacturers. Inside, though, the Cameo was pretty much a standard Chevy truck with a bench seat. This Cameo is upholstered in red and ivory, which nicely sets off the ivory exterior.
A Mississippi truck with a 'great chassis,' this stunning 'glamour' truck was restored to stock specifications in November 2004. At that time it benefited from new front and rear glass, new front and rear bumpers, grille, outside bed, complete interior, paint and deck wood. It looks great, the straight-six—believed to be the original unit - runs well and it is ready to cruise or haul.
Collectors' Motor Cars|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Larz Anderson Auto Museum, Brookline
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||$17250|
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