One Family Owned: 1955 Chevy Cameo Barn Find

The Cameo is one of 5,220 produced in 1955, all of which surprisingly were Bombay Ivory with red. I’ll bet there aren’t many left now, especially one that’s had single family ownership! Now it’s back on the road after a long barn storage, and it’s also up for sale here on eBay. Bidding is at $8,200 but not surprisingly there’s a reserve that has not yet been met. This example of one of the first fancy trucks is located in Markle, Indiana.

The Cameo was envisioned by GM Stylist Chuck Jordan as a one-piece bodied pickup, . That didn’t work out, but a similar look was achieved by adding fiberglass panels to the existing GM metal box–which had the side benefit of having easier to make tooling, which shortened development time. GM had some experience by this point with fiberglass from starting Corvette production. Cameo’s were priced about 30% higher than a regular Chevy pickup, so it’s understandable that not that many were sold.

There’s very little rust on this Cameo, despite being in a barn from 1972 until recently! The seller mentions one small hole on the driver’s cab corner and there’s some touch up paint on the rear bumper and around one tail light. Believe it or not, the rest of the white and red paint is original!

The interior shows a lot of honest wear and use, but I’m wondering how nice it would look if it were cleaned up? The seller tells us they have left the dirt in place, while cleaning the gas tank out, replacing brake lines and cylinders and tuning the truck up. We’re also told it runs and drives well, which has me wondering why it was put in the barn in the first place!


The base 235 cubic inch inline six cylinder engine with the three speed transmission seems to have survived the 113,000 miles very well. I would love to get my hands on this classy pickup, but I’m afraid it will end up way too high for my wallet. What do you think it will go for, and have you ever seen a 1955 Cameo before?

 

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Comments

  1. Johnni B

    I have always wanted a Cameo but at this point in my life I will probably never have one unfortuntly. Beautiful trucks when restored.

  2. KeithK

    I find a lot of trucks like this were parked in relatively good condition only due to their lack of power options. Single stage manual brakes, no power steering and a poorly matched for highway 3 speed manual can be a deal breaker for a next gen more highly optioned truck. My Scout 800 is only a shoebox with fairly round wheels compared to a Scout II V8 auto and air. Alot of first gen scouts were relegated to plow duty then slowly returned to Mother Earth when the II became the daily.

  3. CaymanDave

    I owned this very same truck back in the day. Sorry now I sold it but aren’t we all sorry for all the cars and trucks we sold. Needed the money to buy something else.😭😭

    • Dairymen

      I bet you can’t remember what you spent the money on.

  4. Scot Douglas

    Is it possible to have a bucket list if all the vehicles on that list cost too much to obtain?
    This hits me in all the right spots, except the wallet. :(

    • David Wilk Member

      My bucket list of vintage cars and trucks I cannot afford is too long to fit here. Even if I limited the list to my all time favorites. Now I am old enough to simply enjoy knowing they exist rather than wanting to possess them. Is this the Zen of car collecting?

      • Woodie Man

        For me, it’s the indescribable blast of dopamine I get when I see an old car….or truck. Its been that way since I was a kid. One of the joys of my life. That’s why i love Barn Finds… has that same feel of authenticity and allows me to appreciate a hundred years of mostly American design ingenuity.

    • Pieter

      In 1978 I tried to buy a Talbot Lago that was stored in a container, together with my older brother. We were 16 and 19, and about 250 Guilders (100 dollars) short. I still wake up sometimes at night after dreaming abouth it : 4.5 liter compressor, 2 seater french design body and ‘ grand prix Tunesia 1951’ painted on the side and back. Still on my bucket list…

  5. JW

    If we had only had the vision back then to know the vehicles we considered just cars & trucks were going to be worth big $$$ we would have never sold them, I can think of 4 I never would have sold for sure.

    • JW454

      JW,

      I have at least a half dozen…. one being a GTO Judge. Then there was the SS Chevelles and Impalas, a ’57 Chevy 2D HT….. and the list goes on…

  6. Righteous Bob

    If only I’d keep this one or that one, Really, what and how would you store all the what If’s?? I have a hard time keeping up with the 5 older cars that I do have, storage and keeping them all in somewhat of a running condition.. If only I’d keep that 56 Buick Roadmaster Convertible back in 1965!!

    • JP

      I agree, it is much easier to buy a car than it is to store and maintain a car for many years. I have had my Ford since 1988, survived two divorces, moved across county etc. has not been easy. Glad to say though it still looks like it did then.

      That said, even as nice as this truck is I still don’t think it’s really a survivor it’s still a beat up old truck. That Ebay ad is ridiculous calling it ‘virgin’ and ‘best in the world’.

  7. Dan

    A buddy of mine has 3 of them stuck in his huge garage…neat trucks.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    I remember back in the late 70’s, I was tooling along a two-lane blacktop out near the foothills when I passed through this tiny wide spot in the road. An open garage door next to a dilapidated gas station showed the instantly recognizable taillights of a Cameo. I instantly stopped and pulled in. The guy showed me a near mint ’55 Cameo very close to this for options. It had only 14K miles on the clock, had always been garaged and had been owned by that stereotypical elderly woman who finally decided to sell her late husband’s truck. $1500.00!!!! Less than 100 miles from home! Of course that is going onto 40 years ago. But I wonder to this day why I’m not around when those deals come up. The truck was NOT advertised; the buyer was merely at the right place at the right time….

  9. Ron E Bee

    FANTASTIC! I wonder if it can be just brought back enough and kept as a survivor? How many original paint 1955 Cameos are out there?

    Like 1
  10. Howard A Member

    May as well light the fuse, and watch this price soar into the stratosphere.( already 15g’s) I bet someone in Indiana is rethinking their retirement portfolio right now.( or non-interested grand kids are jumping for joy, “did you know grandpa’s old junk truck was worth this much?”) I’m surprised, an obvious car collector ( with auto doo-dads all over) wouldn’t know, this is the “Holy Grail” of pickup trucks. I hope it gets restored to original. None of the “patina” crap, this truck needs to look sharp, and it wouldn’t take much. What a find!!!

  11. olddavid

    Were all Cameo’s labeled 3100? I thought that signified one ton capacity? I’ve only seen a few in seven decades, and not one had a full box of anything.

    • bob

      olddavid, 3100 was the regular 1/2 ton pickup . Cameo’s were badged as 3124 .

      • Jon

        Bob,

        So as not to make this anymore confusing, it is badged as 3100.. where then is the 3124 ? on the ID tag ?
        Nice truck.

      • bob

        Jon
        http://trifivechevys.com/docs/1955-59-TruckProductionNumbers.pdf

        I’m sure all Cameo’s were referred to as 3124 , however it wasn’t until ’57 that the fender badging reflected that .

  12. Jacob

    I think task force trucks are the best looking trucks ever made. What I don’t understand is the appeal of these fleet side cameos.

  13. Grant Dunham

    It runs and drives well. I wonder how it shifts without a shift arm. LOL

  14. Jon

    Thanks Bob for that great information…

    • bob

      Jon
      You are more than welcome for that bit of info. This Cameo looks like a good base for someone’s project , but I can’t imagine bidding as high as it is . Original owner ordered it with 6 cyl. engine and radio delete ? Not that there’s anything wrong with the trusty ”235” . In fact my first new car was a ’62 BelAir bubble top , ”235” 3 on the tree with overdrive . Sold it in ’65 before overseas in the U.S.A.F. That’s the one I wish I still had. Oh well.

  15. Joe Haska

    Sorry, enough would , could, should, that was then this is now! Or go ahead and wait 10 years and talk about how you missed this one. From pictures and the post, I think if I want one to restore this is it. Its all there, and all appears to be an easy save!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Joe, I’m with you–if you get it let us know!

    • Clinton

      Do it!

  16. KevinW

    Love to have this. I would pretty much leave it as is, make it road worthy for getting donuts and going to the grandkids’ soccer games on Saturday.

  17. Adam T45 Staff

    For me this vehicle immediately made me realise just how GM was working on a world-wide look, even in the 1950’s.

    The above photo is of the Australian FC Holden (GM) utility, which was produced in our country between 1958 and 1960. It was based on the FC Holden sedan chassis of the same era. What astounds me is that if you ignore the shape of the windscreen and concentrate on the sheet-metal and trim, how similar these cars are in styling. The headlight eye-brows, the radiator grille, bulge in the bonnet and even the chrome trim on the front fenders. Quite an amazing similarity in vehicles which would be of very different physical sizes.

  18. David Montanbeau

    I just got back from overseas while in the Navy in 1973. Had a motorcycle but needed a truck. I look on the ad wall in the Navy Commissary. This is in National City CA. The ad had a 1955 Chev truck for sale for 500.00. Must sell because he was going overseas for a year. Bought the truck and it needed tires really bad and it had chrome reverse wheels with baby moons. Took it to a Goodyear tire store in Chula Vista CA and they talk me into buying wheels and tires to the tune of a thousand dollars. This is the only picture that I have of the 55 Cameo.

  19. Clay Byant

    My “surprise” viewing of a Cameo was in Centurion, South Africa just outside Pretoria years ago when I was standing outside a repair shop. Two guys went by towing one with the windshield out. I couldn’t follow them at the time like my normal instincts usually demand but wanted to help in anyway find parts they were missing back here in the states………..

  20. Doug Towsley

    The cameos were a cool idea that didnt take off like they should,. I believe they were intended more the Surburbanite barkdust brigade types and just too early. Now no such thing as basic utitlity trucks.
    I had a 58 or 59 Long bed in this style but not Cameo. 3 on the Tree with the 6 cylinder, Starter button on the floor (My great Dane stepped on it once) and old bench seat. Barely adequate and grabby brakes, and vacuum operated wipers. Whiny-grinding-noisy and wandered all over the road. Drove like a worn out school bus or poorly maintained sherman tank. Not a lot of power and tended to be a bit exciting if a panic stop or sudden avoidance was needed. You took your time in that old beast. Still,, very cool old truck and had fun with it. With 4 trucks in my stable I elected to keep my 65 and sell the rest. A few years later I got paid to restore another one for a young ladies first car paid for by her parents. It was beautiful when done but was a very time consuming ordeal to do. Did not charge enough. Not sure on the Cameos but every GM truck of this vintage the drivers door, sometimes both doors scrape badly,. The door skins are slightly oversize and only fix is trim the doors back slighly and reweld the seams where the skins fold over. I did this on several trucks of this vintage to get a perfect seam gap alignment. I have pictures of all the body work, patch panels and other work I did if anyone is interested.

  21. Wayne

    This is my ute from my teens (1965), long before they were regarded as anything more than work vehicles. I was fitted with a stage 5 racing motor complete with triple 1.5 inch SU Carbys. It’s a 1957 FE Holden by GMH.

  22. Wayne

    This is the 6 cylinder motor from my ute of my previous post. The wheels were chromed 13″x 7″ wide, which was extremely wide for that era, and the vehicle was lowered 4″.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Nice mate. I had an EK (which I loved) and an EH which went like a cut cat! Those were my first two cars, which is pretty remarkable for a Ford man!

  23. NastyP/U

    Must be hard to shift without a handle!

  24. C Brand

    Is it just my tired old eyes or is there really no shift lever ???

    • Doug Towsley

      yep, tired eyes, Its the angle of the picture, shifter is there but looking almost dead on it almost appears its not there. But it its visible, looks like a black plastic or bakelite knob on the end

  25. TonyM

    Still the best looking truck GM built. Worth every cent!

  26. Rustytech Member

    Dad had a 58 Fleetside long bed. The Cameo was gone. I would be more interested in the Fleetside as it would be more practical, and the price wouldn’t go nuts like this has!

  27. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Love those Auzzie’s built UTE’s….and yes we had a 1 owner Cameo sitting on the streets by the curb in my hood….into the late 70’s early 80’s most thought $2500 was a lot of money then….it had a six in it….it was nice but in 1978….a bit much….but we all screamed – a least get it off the street !

  28. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    soooo it’s a two owner truck…….just saying……

  29. GaryC Gary charlton

    I am reading all these comments by you guys talking about the ones you wish or should have kept. About how you would have stored them etc. etc.
    Well I worked for a gentleman that kept and stored everything. I work for his wife now. When he passed away he had 28 cars and 15 motorcycles. All tagged, insured, and running.
    This doesn’t count the 10 or 12 that he didn’t get to yet. One of them was his father’s 1955 Cameo that he rebuilt years after his father passed. Also, 1958 Cameo out in the barn that has not been done yet.
    I guess the point I’m trying to make is to enjoy what you got, remember what you had in the past, and that my job is a pain in the rear, but I really love it and am blessed to be here.

    • Doug Towsley

      Well said Gary! A lot of people simply have no idea how much work it is to keep 5 vintage bikes sorted, fettled and running. Let alone a large collection. As a shop I used to advise a few customers who wanted to build up collections and it was fun helping people spend their money. For a while I worked for a group of guys over in Central Oregon near Mt Bachelor. I would go over a few days per month and it was great at first. Ski in the morning, work late into the evening and got fed well but alas, they stopped paying me after a while and expected me to keep doing it for fun. (Which it was) but I simply cant afford to do that. I did not have their wealth or sizable assets. My neighbor up the road has a sizable collection and his yearly insurance and registration fees eclipses most peoples annual salaries.
      We have a fellow as a member of our museum across the river from me who has 40 cars and he employs a full time staff person to help him. He has some of the top rated cars in the US in his collection, No small feat.
      At last summers international Norton owners rally in Nor-Cal I met Ian. such a cool guy. But the first guy who I met was his assistant who “looks after Ian Lorams collection”. Both of these guys were such a treat to meet and get to know. It was a real pleasure. I have since learned that Ian has what is to believed to be the UK’s largest private collection of Nortons.
      See: http://bristol.branches.nortonownersclub.org/news-2
      My point is, It can be a challenging job, but what a great service to provide helping to keep history and education alive by preserving these vehicles.
      And, recently my neighbor had some health issues and he was debating about another purchase. (Lotus) His wife said “There are no sports cars in heaven, You worked hard and you should try to enjoy yourself. Buy the car!”.
      A funny side note was he kept repetitively watching one of the Bond movies with the same model car, His wife grew tired of the movie on all the time and asked how many more times? His answer “Ill keep watching it until they deliver my car!”.

  30. Rolf Poncho 455

    Don’t they call it a Apatche?

  31. VW Pilot

    All these would have/should have (me too!) bought/kept. I wonder which cars we can buy relatively cheaply now will become a desired after “classic” 25 or so years from now? That is what we should buy! Any suggestions?

  32. Lion

    In the 80s, my buddy and I were delivering a 1960 El Camino from south-east Sask to Missoula, Montana. On the way back from this fun trip we found a 1958 Impala convert rotting in an old ladies driveway (would not sell) and were pointed to a fenced yard of Chevy stuff, with a warning of an unfriendly owner. As soon as my friend told the guy behind the fence he was a Chevy man, we were given the tour which included a perfect 1955 Cameo. Only one I’ve ever seen.

  33. Steve

    I have always pined for a cameo, but i do have. Close second. I have owned a 1955 3100 big window for 35 years. I Traded my cousin a 79 kawasaki kx80 for it when i was 13. It was full of bondo but ran and drove. Onviously i was too young to drive (legally), but my brothers drove it quite a bit. About 25 yrs ago we noticed rust popping out from under the poor body work so my dad paid to have it media blasted. Unfortunately life has gotten in they way and it sits in primer to this day, in my barn. I have redone several old trucks since the (1971 GMC 1500 custom swb step (sold) 1972 1500 cheyenne swb step (for sale), but havent gotten to the 55. Part if the trason is i cant decide whether to build it stock, with the old six cylinder and three speed manual trans (it does have an overdrive out of a later truck), drum brakes straight axel and manual steering, or go whole hog with an ifs kit and power steering and brakes and maybe An LS and auto trans.

    • Jon

      Steve…. if it were mine. I would go the latter route… more fun…..when done…

  34. Steve

    Unfortunately due to other commitments i have had to pass on several opportunities to buy either complete cameo beds or bed sides. Each one has been successively more expensive than the last…

    • Lion

      Steve…I’ll say the opposite to Jon. Keep it stock. You can drive anything with all that other stuff on it. My stock unrestored ’52 Ford pickup is a blast to drive and carries anything I want to complete my household chores.

  35. Steve

    Wait… original hubcaps are missing?!?! Never mind! 😜

  36. Clay Byant

    VW PILOT….Cadillac Alante’s……Brand name, convertible(most with removable hard top) only 23,000 made in 7 years, nice driving car, made in Italy, was a 60 grand car when new, and is a good looking car. Bought mine in California and drove it 2,000 miles home to Nebraska, fun trip even in winter………(and it was good enough to be a pace car at the Indy 500) Check the market prices to be a believer……….

    • David Montanbeau

      How does this relate to this post?

      • Clay Byant

        Go to VW Pilot……………..

  37. John P

    Truck is for sale in Antioch Illinois for $25k now…

    • Jon

      John P,

      How did you find out that it is for sale in Antioch Illinois. ?

  38. Wayne

    What was the sale price on eBay?

  39. Jon

    Something like $18 or $19,000.00

  40. Wayne

    Thanks

  41. Steve

    The Cameo in Antioch is not the same truck.

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