A Cameo Appearance: 1957 Chevrolet Pick Up

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Thanks to reader cj32769 who pointed out this auction in a comment on the Rebel Randall posting from yesterday.

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The Orange County (California) Public Administrator is running an auction on Proxibid for what appear to be abandoned cars.

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There are a few cars in this auction that may be of interest to Barn Finds readers, but the 1957 Chevrolet Cameo pick up for sale in red and white caught my attention right away.

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From the 1930s until the mid-fifties, pick up trucks were almost always considered to be work vehicles first and foremost, and their bodies were not designed with the same “flare” that cars featured. But in the fifties, there were sparks of interest in making trucks with a bit more style.

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During the early fifties, Ford restyled its pickup line twice, while Dodge offered two-tone paint treatments on its Spring Specials; Studebaker’s pickup design eliminated outside running boards.

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GM stylist Chuck Jordan (who later was in charge of styling for Chevrolet) had finished a stint in the U.S. Air Force and returned to his job as a GM designer. Jordan apparently spent some of his free time sketching pickup concepts inspired by the guided missile carriers he saw while stationed at what is now Cape Canaveral in Florida.

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Jordan submitted his designs to his bosses, and found enough interest for Chevrolet to actually build what ended up as the Cameo pick up in 1955. These were really the first pickups sold in America with “styled” rear beds. You can read a pretty detailed story about these trucks here at Hemmings.com.

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The rear fenders of these trucks are made from fiberglass and have unique trim and rear light treatments.

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Chevy offered the Cameo truck from 1955 through 1958. Generally speaking, the 1957 model is considered to be the best looking of the series, but priced higher than standard models, these trucks were not that popular when new, and only 2,244 of them were built in 1957.

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The one for sale in Orange County looks remarkably good for a 60 year old, abandoned truck. It’s wearing what appears to be an original paint combination – Bombay Ivory with Cardinal Red. While it is powered by the solid but uninspired 235 cubic inch six cylinder engine, if you decided to go non-original, dropping in a Chevrolet V-8 of almost any displacement would be extremely easy.

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Some parts for the truck are on board as well.

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This truck should be saved and then either restored or rebuilt with a more modern drivetrain and upgraded suspension.

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While the Cameo does need some body and interior work, and the mechanicals are a complete unknown, it appears that all the model-specific trim is present.

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You can bid online to buy this abandoned Cameo, but you will have to transport it home. With 11 days to go in the auction, high bid is still only $300. This truck is worth much more than that. Perhaps one of our California readers will be its new owner. If so, we’d love to hear about it.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Wow! This is awesome! So original and un-touched for the most part. I have always really loved these! And the auction site is a little off the beaten track, but then there is that Barn Finds publicity! :) Otherwise, I would not even know it was there.

    Like 1
    • JamestownMike

      Me too!

  2. JamestownMike

    I’ve always wanted one of these, especially a 57! I’m the current high bidder with 10 1/2 days left in the auction. Curious how high I’ll have to bid to get it??

    Like 1
    • glenm

      What paint and trim codes are 1957 cameo correct?

      The red and white exterior re-paint looks pretty bad. The paint that appears through the cracks appears in similar color and condition to the paint above the firewall.

      Any thoughts?

  3. Fred

    I’ve seen many Cameos but never an unrestored one. Will be interesting to see what it goes for- I’m rooting for you Mike!

    Like 1
    • JamestownMike

      Thanks! Hope my wallet is fat enough to buy it!

      Like 1
  4. JamestownMike

    David, What makes you think this is an abandoned vehicle?? It’s my understanding that the Orange County Public Administrator sells property and vehicles that belonged to people that died (usually without a will). Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    • David Wilk Member

      Wrong assumption on my part. I thought these were abandoned vehicles sold from impound but apparently these are vehicles from estates with no heirs. Thanks for pointing this out. But it is a cool truck regardless!

  5. JamestownMike

    WOW! Bidding has already shot up to $4,900! I’m the current high bidder………for now.

    Like 2
    • Horse Radish

      I would think that , like in any other auction ,
      early bidding only drives up the price.
      Check in a day or so before closing and see where it is then

  6. Jeff

    Go Mike I’m also rooting for you. Sorry the price has gone this far up. I love trucks and this would be an awesome project

    Like 1
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ve always liked the Cameo and the GMC version of it. I probably lost the only opportunity I ever had to own one. For years I drove past a farmstead on the highway and occasionally caught a glimpse of a white Chevy pickup in a garage. Never paid much attention to it except that it was either a ’55 or ’56. Then it dawned on me that the grill was chromed. One day I stopped in to ask about it. The garage was closed at that time. The lady, a widow of many years, informed me that she’d sold it a couple of weeks before. About a month later I saw it at a gas station five miles up the road. It turned out to be a ’55 Cameo with 14K miles on it. The guy who owned the garage, who had also driven past it for many years, bought it for $2K. Of course this was back in ’73, long before they really got collectible.

    Like 1
  8. Marty Member

    Beautiful original truck. Doesn’t look like it would take much to bring it back to life. With this one, less is more. Doesn’t need a full resto, doesn’t need a small block, get it running, clean it up, make it safe, make it comfortable, drive, use, enjoy. My two cents worth, only. Good luck Mike! Please keep us posted.

    • JamestownMike

      Thank you, I REALLY hope I get it! I don’t plan on doing a full resto. IF I end up owning it, i’d assemble the loose parts, get it running/driving and enjoy it. I would fix the trouble spots on the body over time (and money allowing) and blend the paint.

      Like 1
  9. JamestownMike

    I’ve been outbid……..for the moment. No point running up the bids this early in the auction. I’D LIKE TO TAKE A POLL-What is it worth in it’s current condition?

  10. Dave Wright

    These have been collectable and sought after since the day they came off the factory floor. If it was quaffed, painted, polished sitting at a nice car show I can see someone asking 50k for it. They are a realitivley simple restoration……..it has to be worth 10K as is?

  11. David Wilk Member

    Mike: it looks like a in perfect restored condition, you’d have to pay $45-60,000 right now. Hagerty says a 57 Cameo in ‘fair’ condition is worth $11k. This one is probably worth $6500-7500, especially if you have some skill, time and energy to put into it. But it would not surprise any of us if someone bid more for it than that. If it were me I’d stop at $7500, but even that feels high to me. I still can’t get used to the prices we are seeing these days for cars and trucks we used to think were only good for parts. On the other hand, you don’t often find Cameos any or that are in “builder” shape like this one is.
    I hope you do get to buy this beautiful truck. Please let us know if you do.

    Like 1
  12. Mr. Bond

    Good luck, Mike. Even if you pay a touch more now, the market will catch up to you pretty quickly. They aren’t making any more of them.

    Like 1
  13. Jay

    It’s worth 10k as is.
    Still kicking myself for passing on one for 800 just 5 years ago. Drove an hour to look at it. So many parts were missing that I figured it would take 25k to find them all. Parts are very rare-and priced aaccordingly…

  14. JamestownMike

    I felt good with my $5,000 bid but bidding has been “fast and furious” at $7,000 with almost 9+ days left in the auction! There’s a 15% buyers premium PLUS I’d have another $1,000 to $1,200 in shipping to get in home here in NC. Not looking good! :(

  15. Nek

    Come on Mike go for it… tis only $$ an ya can’t take it with you… besides if the war department wishes a divorce over this.. you are bound to keep the truck.

  16. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    was hoping you might get it but it’s in car crazy Cali – let’s take polls – think it will go over 9 grand and maybe to 11G….just saying….

  17. CHARLES

    Doesn’t seem like an original Cameo with that paint code (764). So many fake Cameos nowadays.

    • JamestownMike

      Good point! Paint code 764 for 57′ is Brewster Green.

  18. JamestownMike

    They cancelled all bids and relisted it with a bill of sale (or $500 more for a CA title). They also posted A LOT more pics. With the paint code being off makes me wonder, is this a REAL Cameo??

    • Jeff Patterson

      The paint code picture is still in the listing.

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