Original V8: 1957 Chevrolet Cameo

The Chevrolet Cameo shone brightly for a brief four-year period and brought a more civilized and refined edge to a vehicle range that the buying public viewed as a workhorse. It didn’t sell in the volumes that the company expected, making finding good examples today a genuine challenge. Our feature Cameo came from the third year of production, and it looks like a beauty. It sat in dry storage for decades before the current owner dragged it into the light of day and spent some considerable money returning it to a roadworthy state. The bidding has been intense on this classic since it was listed for sale here on eBay. This wonderful Pickup is located in Whiteland, Indiana, and the bidding has already skyrocketed to $28,600.

While the Cameo was based on the existing Task Force truck range, the collaborative efforts of Chevrolet and Moulded Fiberglass of Ashtabula, Ohio, produced a distinctive and interesting Pickup. By fitting a set of fiberglass panels to the existing model’s stepside bed, these companies transformed the donor vehicle into a stunning Fleetside for minimal cost. The addition of some unique chrome trim, taillights that had an appearance more in keeping with a sedan or wagon, and some contrasting paint shades completed the remarkable transformation. Our feature vehicle is finished in Cardinal Red with an Arctic White flash, and it presents exceptionally well for a vehicle of its age and type. There is no evidence of the kind of damage or physical abuse that these vehicles can receive and no signs of rust. Encouragingly, the distinctive fiberglass additions that transformed this vehicle are in excellent condition. The panels look straight and clean, and while the paint shows its age a bit, it would be acceptable if the buyer wishes to retain it as an original survivor. The bed timber has succumbed to the ravages of time, and I believe that the overall rarity and condition of this Chevy justifies the time and effort for the buyer to source and install replacement timber to return it to its former glory. Features like the factory sunvisor reinforce the more luxurious leanings of the Cameo, while the beautiful chrome trim and glass look spot-on. As a part of the revival process, the owner located a set of new Cameo hubcaps and genuine trim rings. These add the perfect finishing touch to the exterior.

In a bid to introduce some feelings of luxury into the Cameo range, Chevrolet offered a couple of drivetrain options. The original owner ordered our feature vehicle with a 283ci V8 that is backed by a Powerglide transmission. The 283 was a new addition to the range for 1957 and provided the owner with 185hp and 275 ft/lbs of torque. While the two-speed Powerglide did blunt outright performance, it did add a touch of civility to what had previously been considered a workhorse. This Cameo is a numbers-matching classic, and the owner has not spared the cash to ensure that it is mechanically perfect. When he located the Pickup in 2020, it had been sitting in dry storage since around 1969. Recognizing its rarity, he went through a meticulous process of returning it to a roadworthy state. He commenced this by draining and flushing all of the fluids. He installed a new master cylinder, along with a fuel tank and sending unit. He slipped behind the wheel and hit the road for a few months before lavishing some considerable TLC on it. The motor was pulled and rebuild, and a new radiator found its way into the engine bay. He points out that for purists, he includes the original radiator in the sale. He also fitted a set of American Classic radial tires that capture the look of traditional bias-ply tires. All of this effort has been worth it because the Cameo is ready to hit the road with its new owner behind the wheel.

The Cameo’s interior presents well for its age, and once again, the owner has gone to some effort to improve its presentation and functionality. He installed a new mat, sunvisors, and armrests. However, that wasn’t the end of his efforts. New electric wipers found their way into the vehicle, while the entire heater system has benefitted from a rebuild. He says that it provides a pleasant feel on those colder nights. The original red and white seat upholstery is in excellent order, and the same is true of the painted surfaces. The seller admits that the previous owner cut the dash slightly to accommodate a 1955 radio. The owner has removed this to fit a 1970s unit, but it seems that the buyer could source and install and original unit with no problems. The overall presentation of the interior provides an insight into Chevrolet’s aim when they released the Cameo. They were disappointed with the low sales volumes, although 1957 marked its second most successful year. Measuring success is a relative thing because a mere 2,244 buyers handed over the cash to include one of these in their lives. By the time production ground to a halt in 1958, Chevrolet’s total sales had amounted to a paltry 10,321 vehicles for those four years.

Sometimes gauging the popularity and desirability of a classic can be difficult, but this 1957 Cameo makes that task pretty easy. The bidding has been some of the most intense that I’ve seen, with 106 bids submitted at the time of writing. When the hammer falls, someone could be driving away in a Pickup that is a cut above the rest for its era, and we can only hope that its new owner will continue to treat it with respect. Would you be interested in joining the party so that you can be that person?

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Comments

  1. EJ

    The ad says HydraMatic not Powerglide. So, it would be a 4 speed auto, not a 2-speed. A 1957 brochure lists the V8 option as a 265CI. No reference to a 283 for this vehicle.

    Like 3
    • Norman Wrensch

      I agree I do not think the power glide was ever offered in a truck. But the 4 speed hydromantic definitely was.

      Like 2
    • Jon

      From 1955 – 1959, Chevy offered 4 different V8 engines and only 1 automatic available.
      V8 Engines were 261, 283, 322, 348.
      Auto. Transmission was a Hydramatic 3 Speed.
      I know because used to work at a Chevy Truck dealership.

      Like 6
      • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

        Jon
        I think you meant 265 not 261 and 327 not 322.
        God bless America

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I believe that Chevy pretty much stuck to the Powerglide in the light trucks. It seems to me that the ‘54-early ‘55 Chevys were the only trucks from the Chevy side of the tracks to run a Hydramatic. GMC, however, ran the Hydramatic through the 50s and into the 60s. Chevy’s light V8 from ‘55-‘57 was the 265, with the 283 coming out (on pickups) in ‘58. The 322 was essentially a Buick engine that was offered in large Chevy trucks from ‘56-‘57. The Spartan series of big Chevy trucks got a stab at the 348 from ‘58 to ‘62. The 261 was a six…

  2. lbpa18

    Billed as a more refined version of the veritable work truck, they didnt sell that well. Trucks were for work afterall. Contrast to today where the pickup is a statement first, and work vehicle a far distant second. In fact, if you work today’s average new truck you’d dent it to hell. The biggest nod to work today is pulling power. The Cameo was a pretty truck but ahead of its time in terms of who its market was.

    Like 1
  3. mainlymuscle

    A 57 in driver condition sells for about $50k,mine exactly like this,did $46k,but had better paint.That was a year prior to Covid.I have a 55 and a 56 now but adding the 57 trim which is very hard to find.

    Like 1
  4. Jon

    Correct The 322 Nailhead last appeared in a Buick in ’56, but after that GM utilized the tooling for big Chevy Truck engines from ’57-’59.
    Chevy truck had used a 322 V8 as well from 55-59.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Task_Force

    Like 1
  5. Otto

    Unsold

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