Rare Project Pickup: 1957 Chevrolet Cameo

The Chevy Cameo has to be one of the most desirable and valuable of the “styled” pickups, they bridged the gap between a basic, tough work pickup and a car. I’m a huge fan of the 1955-1957 Task Force Chevy pickups with single headlights on each side and this 1957 Chevrolet Cameo can be found here on eBay in Everest, Kansas. The current bid price is $10,700 and there are almost four days left to get your bids in.

These Task Force pickups are by far my personal favorite truck designs from GM. There is just something about them that gets to me. They’re sleek and crisp and tough, yet elegant and refined all rolled up in one. Sort of like me, other than the tough, elegant, and refined part. And, probably the sleek and crisp part, too. This truck looks like it’s in fairly good condition and you already know that it has been painted at some point. Although, I really like this dark green color much more than the original creme color that would have been on this truck.

I don’t see any rust on the outside of this box or tailgate! And, that’s a good thing because fiberglass doesn’t rust. Most of you know that the sides of the bed and the outside portion of the tailgate are made of fiberglass mounted over a steel bed and tailgate. The seller says that there is some rust on the braces underneath that un-rustable fiberglass. Originally, the designer, Chuck Jordan, wanted a “unibody” design where the bed was integrated with the cab for a smooth, one-piece look. They came pretty close to that ideal design with the fiberglass sides and that helped the engineers sleep at night by having the cab and bed being two separate units. We’ve all heard the stories about Ford’s Unibody pickups and the doors not opening because of too heavy of a load in the box. This wood bed will need to be restored as will every square inch of this worthy project.

This truck was originally cream with a red and creme interior, a gorgeous color combo, but they were all gorgeous. Chevy really went all out with the Cameo and they’re typically very desirable and expensive to buy now. I don’t know if anyone would want a Cameo – maybe the most refined and beautiful pickup of that era (oh boy, I’m waiting for the comments on that one!) – to be a patina machine. This truck deserves to be restored back to its beautiful former self, in my opinion. There will be a bit of rust work to take care, from top to bottom, but these trucks sell for $40,000 or $50,000 without too much trouble in restored condition.

Annnnnnnnd, here’s the biggest project area on this truck: it’s missing the original engine and transmission! I know, how in the Sam Hell does the original engine and manual transmission disappear?! In a Cameo, for cryin’ out loud! This isn’t some base model work truck. Unless somewhere along the way someone took it out to rebuild it and lost track of time or something happened and here we are, a big gaping hole, painted all sorts of colors but no engine or transmission. I would restore this truck back to bone-stock but that’s just me. How would you restore this Cameo?

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    They’re nuts. Still trying to cash in on the Lambrecht auction. And the crazy part, they’ll probably get what they want, because THEY’RE ALL NUTS! Sorry, I just never saw the attraction in these and neither did people in 1957, but that was then, this is now, and auctions portray these lofty prices, and people that have hulks like this, figure, now’s the time, baby, before it goes bust. Nice find, someone knew to hang on to what’s left, but you’ll need deep pockets for this one.

    Like 7
    • Ellis

      When I was in high school a local fire fighter had one for sale. My dad refused to help me get it. My best friend at the time and still today ended up with it. He no longer has it.

      It is odd that I found one yesterday here in texas.
      I’m working with the widower of the owner to acquire it as I type this.
      If I’m successful I’ll post photos. Been sitting 4 years.
      My favorite of all old cars and trucks.
      They are not appealing to every one. one reason I love this truck is not the same old typical hot rod.

      Like 15
    • Mark

      Low sales figures were the result of cost vs. use.
      This year/model is the most sought after of factory custom trucks.

  2. Buzzard

    Isn’t the supposed to have a lot more chrome trim and not just the bed?

    Like 1
    • Mark

      The hood emblem is missing, but I think that’s all.
      Some have twin hood ornaments, or spears, but they were options.

  3. Fred W

    Now here is something you almost never see in project condition- most were restored if they weren’t parts trucks. I’m wondering if the collectible car bubble is about to bust. Yesterday I watched a nice Chrysler 300 E, a ’59 I think, sell on Barrett-Jackson for $18K.

    Like 5
  4. James Martin

    10000 and you cant even drive it. Why would they pull motor out. Unless it was tired. Projects are going skyrocket. It is like nestea, they discontinued it so bottles now as high as 50 bucks for 3 dollar bottle of tea. That is the American way

    Like 1
  5. pwtiger

    Looking at the engine compartment, green/white seems like the original color. I have laying around a few SBC engines that would go in there. I think a 700R automatic would be the way I would go. Seems to me you could get a new one with a Hydromatic

    Like 1
  6. Ted

    Guys we have to remember that in the last four decades a lot of cool iron was left to rot because an engine grenaded/clutch went/rear ends blew and were parked because at the time they weren’t worth anything. I know of a 58 Impala that has been sitting in a garage since the 60’s with the transmission out that was going to be replaced but the owner was too cheap and it’s still on blocks…I’ll bet the engine expired in this Cameo, was pulled with full intentions of replacing it but someone balked at paying $200 for a used engine. Howard A wins the new car for mentioning the Lambrecht auction, that did as much damage to our hobby as barrett ripoff did. 10K for a roller Cameo? Absurd, but it’ll sell…………

    Like 7
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      Yes, the Lambrecht auction was a milestone for how distorted the hobby can get and how distorted a person’s mind can get when he finds himself bidding against someone else. On the other hand I don’t think that $10K would be all that bad for something like this. True, it should have and engine and transmission but I can still locate a rebuildable 283 and 3 spd. of similar vintage for a fairly reasonable price. I look at $10K then think about putting another $10-$15K into it, and it would still be a decent investment, that could possibly bring a decent return. For myself, I’m not concerned about what the vehicles are worth after they’re done; I’m not restoring any of mine to flip; I want to drive them and have some fun…

      Like 6
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’m quite partial to Cameos and their GMC Suburban Carrier counterparts. But then I also like the International 50th Anniversary Specials. When I was a kid I saw more Binders than I did the others. Sorry but the Dodge Sweptside looked like someone was drinking his own bath water. I would love to get this truck and I would restore it to bone stock. The Cameo is too rare to do anything else with it. Of course, it being a truck, might find some goodies getting hauled around in the bed. Might even find an engine block or a complete engine being hauled away from the swap meet…

    Like 1
  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    A lot of fortunes are made by being at the right place at the right time. I remember driving past an old garage north of Choteau. Drove past it for years. Then one day the big door was open and what did I see but the white rear quarters of a Cameo Carrier. It was a ’55 model and it only had 1500 miles on it. The original owner bought it new and it had been parked when he passed away. The widow finally put it up for sale and sold it just before I even knew it existed. The reason the garage door was open was the new owner was getting ready to drag it out. I heard he paid $1800.00 for it. Of course this was back in the early 70s. I drove past the same truck numerous times at its new location, and all the time grumbling to myself about being at the wrong place at the right time…

    Like 2
  9. Bob S

    I have had my 55 Cameo for over 51 years, and love it as much now as the day I bought it. I won’t get into the argument of whether restore it or install a newer engine and transmission, because I swapped the big block in back in 1971, when these trucks, to most people, weren’t worth any more than a standard pickup.
    The point I do want to make is, that for the few people that really want a Cameo, the $11,000 or more a person is going to spend acquiring this truck would be a bargain compared to buying the specialty Cameo parts piece by piece.
    Whether it is restored or modified, doesn’t matter as much to me. I just love these trucks, and hope that it finds a good home.
    Bob

    Like 6
  10. Del

    These are rare.

    New owner will do a full resto and get it back to original color.

    Watch for it at Barrett Jackson next year

    Like 1
  11. mainlymuscle

    I have the trifecta of Cameos ;
    55 -just about ready for paint in the rarest original color turquoise.usual 350 sbc /th350 .Built as a nice driver.I paid about $18k U.S. (I am Canadian ) With my own people doing the work,I’ll be in for another 15 U.S.,for a total of $33k.
    This one will be worth 50 ish at that point.
    56-whopper restorod build,Art Morrison,LS-1 with Inglese stacked injection.I’m in for about $70k with a ways to go .Could be a $150-200k truck.The black one that sold at Russo Steele for $ 210k in 2017,then an inexplicable half that a year later,is the best I’ve seen .
    57-I paid $30k at McCormicks Palm Spring for a driveable project.Painted it ,cleaned it up ,and will get $50k for that one.
    Am I an expert ?Nope ,but I sure know the market.
    I’d give the guy 3 grand just for the box side trim.Scariest part of this feature is the rust through on the roof of the cab.I think a sandblaster would be very revealing.This one will sell for $14-17K,and I’m way happier with what I paid 30 for in Palm Springs.
    Cameos are without peer when it comes to the old truck market -gorgeous,and drive much better than Jethros farm truck from the era.Tri Fives are a tough sell these days…………unless they have a bed or hatchback (think Nomad ! )

    Like 1
  12. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    It never fails to have a comments list full of whiners. This site is meant merely to show people what is still out there lingering in barns, garages, sheds and back yards. Nobody is telling you to buy or pay what seller/auction is asking. Even if you don’t think trucks should be worth as much as cars or are not collectible at all, anything rare is going to bring good money, regardless of condition. Teens for a Cameo and you’re complaining?!? It doesnt have an engine or trans… Do you know what you’d pay if it did? Not teens! Just because we’d all like to get our dream cars for cheap doesn’t mean we have to complain when the market is against that idea. People always complain about Lambrecht, but although condition was not show room and options on vehicles may not have been high how much would you pay to say you’re the original owner of a 60’s vehicle purchased in the following century with low miles? On that note, I’d like to see this one saved. I like them stock and modified. Here’s one I liked from Car Craft Nats 2016, gorgeous truck with LS swap.

    Like 3
    • Mountainwoodie

      What you fail to willingly acknowledge, is Barn Finds is not just about ‘barn finds’ ,but a place where a community of like minded old car/truck fanatics who get to kibbutz about vehicles for sale , put up by Josh and Jess , Scotty , Russell, Adam and Jeff.
      That will undoubtedly entail folks who owned the same vehicles shooting the breeze about their memories and at times complaining about the direction our hobby has taken. It doesn’t mean that they don’t understand the reality of the market, or that they are whining, it means that folks who really know the last fifty years of American iron have an opinion. Sometimes they sting. So what? It’s the internet.
      Perhaps your user name reveals the real source of your opinion. But that’s okay I understand. You should try to also :)

      Like 2
      • Tooyoung4heyday Member

        I’m afraid you misunderstand my user name. I chose the name solely on the fact that I wish I could’ve lived through the experience of the original musclecar boom. Im an individual who appreciates all old cars rusty or pristine and have a true understranding that hobbies cost money and am fortunate enough to have earned a living to support my sickness in this hobby. I’ve been involved in this hobby most of my life and can respectfully claim an honest 30 year participation. I enjoy coming to sites like this and seeing what is still around and listen to the memories of others, not to listen to neighsayers rip apart listings and say something not pristine is worth $1,000. I get it, anything is only worth what someone is willing to pay however people need to be more realistic. The more people that think vehicles like this aren’t worth saving the faster our wonderful hobby is going to disappear.

        Like 2
  13. David Montanbeau

    This was mine that I bought for 500.00 when I came back from Nam. Had a 62 Vette 327 340 4 speed. Drove from San Diego to Detroit in 73. Tore it down and put a 454 with a tunnel ram that fit under the hood link to a turbo 400. Good times!!

    Like 2
  14. Glenn Kobernik

    I LOVE my Cameo …

    Like 1
  15. Ted

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, it’s not whinging. I find the comments section here to be for the most part written by people who find a common ground on the prices we see being paid for things that in the end seem to be based more on tossing money away than common sense. I agree with the ideas that this truck is a deal at 10K, and even a beater drivetrain and a seat cover would make this a 20K truck, but it would still be in my mind, overpriced. Part of my reasoning is at 57 years old now I still can’t get my head around people who pay 30K for something, put 50K into it, and sell it for 40K. I truly think our world is inhabited by money launderers more than hobbyists now.

    Like 2
  16. Ronald Ford

    The motor was probably pulled after 70k or so miles because it was smoking and fouling the plugs out with oil at that point, In the mid 70’s I owned 6 or so ’57 Chevy cars of which 2 of them had the original 283 motors, One rolled over 70k on the way to the courthouse and by about 73k under the right foot of a 17 year old it was fouling a couple of spark plugs out each day, I worked at a Chevron gas station after school and weekends then and we had an A/C plug sandblaster there. The other car was a 210 4 dr rust free automatic car that had maybe 69k on it and had been sitting for a few years so I got it running and drove it 1/4 mile down the street to a friends house and back and it was fouling out spark plugs also, Things have sure changed for the better thanks to technology.

    Like 1
  17. Robert Eddins

    Almost looks like a cameo bed on a standard pickup. Is there anyway to check that?

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I think they always used a standard bed; they just installed those fibreglass panels on the outside.

  18. David Montanbeau

    nice

  19. David Montanbeau

    Love these trucks

  20. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this truck was bid up to $13,000 and it doesn’t say sold so I’m not sure if it’s moving on or not.

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