Although the 1955 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier was never a hot seller -- largely because of its high price -- it was of crucial importance, bringing passenger-car styling elements into the truck world for the first time in a serious way.
Chevy called its entire new "Task Force" generation of mid-1950s light trucks a "Modern Design for Modern Hauling." Forward-slanting windshield pillars on the "Panoramic" wraparound windshield combined with a new upper cab structure, hooded headlamps and shapely wheel openings to form an all-new profile.
Though the Cameo's pickup box was a standard item, fiberglass rear fenders broadened it to the same width as the front end, producing a flow-through look. Chuck Jordan, former head of GM Design, earned credit for that form.
Not unlike Chevy's cars of the day, the Cameo sported an eggcrate grille, wraparound front bumper, and a third more glass than the previous 3100 Series. The interior also was more car-like -- particularly the dashboard, which featured a fan-shaped speedometer and needle gauges, with a top finished in textured black to cut down on reflections.
Even standard models had two-tone upholstery: an "oak bark" pattern of woven plastic and rayon fabric that "breathed." Like other light-duty 1955s, the Cameo had a new frame, longer leaf springs, wider track, and a two-inch-shorter, 114-inch wheelbase.
The most notable mechanical improvement was Chevy's new 265-cid V-8, tuned to deliver 145 bhp-not as much as the car's, but significantly more than the old "Stovebolt" six. Still, the six had more horsepower than ever -- 123, up from 112 in 1954.
A "Custom Cab" package, with standard or wraparound backlight, could replace the optional corner windows of the Advance-Design trucks. Interiors might be upgraded with foam-padded seats, chrome knobs, dual armrests, and sun visors.
A chromed grille, headlight bezels, bumpers and guards, hubcaps and hood ornament also were available. Stylish Cameos, painted in Bombay Ivory with red accents, carried most of the available brightwork and extras.
Collectible Pluses of the 1955 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier
- Historically, one of the most important pickups
- Equally, one of the best-looking pickups ever built
- Strong collector appeal
- High future values
- Despite its special nature, restoration is relatively inexpensive
Collectible Minuses of the 1955 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier
- Has tended to be overpriced
- Some of its special hardware is very scarce
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