Before there were El Caminos, there were Cameo pickups, Chevrolet’s answer to a persistent question: how to provide farmers, construction workers and the like with a truck for work that also could be driven proudly to church on Sunday.
Chevy was first off the block in 1955 with a refined-looking pickup that applied stylish fiberglass rear fenders and tailgate cover, along with unique taillights, trim and a premium interior, to its newly minted Task Force truck design. Fiberglass was chosen for the ease of design and tooling, and because of Chevrolet’s relationship with the fiberglass company that made Corvette bodies.
The result was an undeniably handsome pickup truck, one that resonates with collectors today as a longtime favorite. The Cameo set a trend in the industry, with Ford creating its Styleside model and Dodge with its Sweptside, which added dramatic tailfins to the pickup bed.
The Cameo was short-lived, lasting only through 1958 and the advent of the car-based El Camino the following year. One problem was that Cameos were pricey, so that only a limited number of them were ever produced.
The Pick of the Day is a 1956 Chevrolet Cameo pickup, one of just 1,452 of the upgraded trucks built that model year. This is also a relatively low-mileage truck, showing just under 77,000 miles on its odometer, and it has been updated for drivability and performance.
“This truck was beautifully restored back to all-original except for a few tasteful upgrades,” says the Thousand Oaks, California, dealer advertising the Cameo on ClassicCars.com. “These included removing the original 265 V8 w/ hydramatic transmission and installing a rebuilt 283 V8 engine and the 350 auto trans. Included in the upgrade are power disc brakes and power steering.”
The Cameo looks clean and special in its red-and-white two-tone paint, with the hood and fenders stripped of emblems and trim for a custom effect. A set of wide whitewalls and full wheel covers set off the look.
“The paint is absolutely beautiful, laser straight panels with a deep mirror like finish, this truck will stun you,” the seller says. “The interior is equally beautiful with new vinyl bench seat, door panels, headliner and carpet.
“Everything works, all the lights and gauges including the more-accurate aftermarket gauges.”
Like the original Cameos, this one carries a premium price tag, with the dealer asking a solid $49,500. But it is a beautiful example that looks to be in exceptional condition, ready to drive and show.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day