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1957 Chevrolet Cameo

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Our special truck this month: A 1957 Chevrolet Cameo owned by John Wazorick. Few people can say they have owned their 60 year old vehicle 40 years! It all began when John was in high school and the new 1957 Cameos were introduced in Chevrolet dealer’s show rooms.* It was love at first sight but it brought up a big problem. No money! It would be 20 more years later when he heard about a 1957 Cameo for sale in his state of Illinois. It immediately brought back high school memories. He thought this might be the only chance to buy a real 1957 Cameo! Plus it was his favorite colors: Cardinal Red and Bombay Ivory. He bought it unrestored with a locked up 283 engine.

This was not a good time for John to make it new again. He owned a business, had a wife, 3 children, 2 dogs and a summer home. At least he now had his high school dream. It would be in storage an additional 20 years!

When the Wazorick’s retired, they decided Arizona was where they wanted to spend their later years. John remembers trailering the Cameo from Illinois with his unrestored 1963 Chevy ¾ ton. What a sight with two very tired looking trucks going down the highway, both looking very tired.
It was not until he and his wife settled in their retirement home in Waddell, Arizona that he began to consider a full restoration. Now with extra time and some disposable income, John began a total disassembly and rebuilding.

As with many ground up restorations, it went down to the bare frame and was put together like an oversize toy model kit. In two years it was back to almost new condition and now it is a pleasure to drive.

John rebuilt it much like the one he saw at the dealership in high school. Only a few changes were made such as adding power steering, and a currently popular 5 speed overdrive transmission from a later S-10 pickup. A rebuilt 283 engine plus the original 3.90 ratio ring and pinion differential are like GM made them.

WHY ME?

About 5 years ago, while driving his fancy Cameo in his Arizona home town, an unbelievable thing happened. While waiting for a stop light to turn green, John was rear ended by a 1 ton box truck. Neither John nor his wife was hurt but their Cameo was another story. The tail light, bedside, quarter panel, and trim were mostly not repairable.

Though the odds of this happening was almost zero, it still occurred. John felt so lucky they were not injured and had full coverage insurance. After the shock of this misfortune, John found how fortunate he was to have Hagarty Insurance. (A company that markets insurance for special interest vehicles) They took care of all repairs. Even a complete paint job was provided so the red color would all be the same! $15,000 later the Cameo was back on the road, looking even better than before.

*These were Chevrolet’s most deluxe pickups ever offered. Often referred to as a “Boulevard Pickup”. It was designed for the buyer that wanted a pickup with the appointments of a top of the line passenger car! In today’s world it is so natural that most pickups are bought with little thoughts of much hauling but in the 1950’s it was a chance General Motors took to market such an unusual pleasure pickup.

FYI: Here is another creation that can be credited to John’s talents in truck restoration of unusual vehicles. This short wheel base 1937 GMC cab over engine is probably the best example in the country of how they first appeared 80 years ago. It runs great and looks even better! See Photo.
You can reach John at tovintrk63@sbcglobal.net

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“After the big hit!”

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1937 GMC Cab Over Engine

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