1957 Chevy Cameo - The Forgotten Cameo
A ’57 Chevy Task Force is Reborn
Jeff Hemm, of Menifee, California, is an old-school motorcycle builder. After building numerous bikes, he decided that he wanted to try a truck. This is where his 1957 Chevy Cameo came into play. He had been looking around for a truck project and one day, stumbled across an internet ad for a 1957 Cameo pickup. The truck was sitting in a dirt field, where the elements were wreaking havoc on the body. Jeff drove up and saved the Cameo from certain doom, and then spent ten months putting life back into this once forgotten truck.
After bringing it to his shop, Jeff tore into the Bow Tie’s chassis. To the factory frame, Jeff added a Speed Tech Performance Firebird Subframe. For a better stance and ride, an Airbagit air-ride suspension was installed. Finally, for rolling stock, Jeff went with 18-inch Coy’s C5 black chrome wheels wrapped in Diamondback 235/40R18 up front and 20-inch wheels with 255/35R20 tires out back. To bring the truck to a quick halt, a set of 14-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors were mounted behind the Coy’s wheels.
Under the hood, the worn out 283ci engine was trashed in favor of a rebuilt 327ci small-block from a ’69 Corvette. To get more power from the Vette powerplant, Jeff had Shawn Hill, also of Menifee, install a Crane cam along with a Holley carb on top of an Edelbrock intake. To get the engine firing, a Crane cams ignition coil and Mallory distributor were connected. The engine compartment was spruced up with the help of billet pulleys, valve covers, air cleaner, battery cover, and upper radiator hose. The firewall has also been covered in stainless steel for a clean look. Bolted onto the back of this precision-tuned V-8 is a 700-R4 Raptor transmission, which transfers the power to an Eaton posi-equipped 10-bolt rearend. Helping the hot gasses escape the engine is a one-off exhaust system consisting of 3-inch ceramic-coated shorty headers, 3-inch exhaust pipes, and Flowmaster mufflers.
For the bodywork, Jeff turned to the capable hands of Jake Provoost, of Unrestricted Auto Trends, in Lake Elsinore, California. Jake shaved the body of the fuel door, front turn signals, cowl vents, and emblems. He then molded the fenders to the body and the lower valance and grille housing to the fenders. With the body shaved and smoothed, several coats of House of Kolor Vivid Black and Tangerine Kandy were sprayed. Then Jeff had Larry Fairfield lay down a separating line between the colors on the cab in HoK Kosmic Krome. To finish off the body, new bed wood and stainless steel stringers were bolted into the bed and the custom-formed bed was powdercoated black to match the lower half of the truck.
Finally, Jeff could turn his attention toward the interior. The dash was painted two-tone to match the exterior and a Dakota Digital gauge cluster was installed. Next, a pair of Mercedes bucket seats were wrapped in black leather and alligator by Precision Upholstery, once again found in Menifee. Then, with the seats installed, a custom console was built and wrapped in matching black leather. To complement the black and alligator seats, the door panels and headliner were also wrapped in the same material. For some sparkle, Jeff installed Street Works billet knobs and door handles, and a Gem Street Rod steering column and steering wheel. To stay cool on hot Southern California days, a Vintage Air A/C unit was also installed. Keeping tunes an arm reach away, Jeff went with a Custom Auto Sound head unit with a set of Orion 6x6-inch speakers and Rockford Fosgate 6x9-inch speakers, all connected to a Rockford Amp.
After bringing the truck back to life from the dirt lot he found it in, Jeff is extremely happy with his work. He has recently won Top 150 at the 2011 Temecula Rod Run. Jeff wanted to thank Jake Provoost, Shawn Hill, Chuck Nelson, and most of all, his wife Jody for all of her love and support.