Debbe & Doug Kenny’s 1957 Chevy Cameo Pickup
(from Volume 24, Issue 287)

story by Debbe & Doug Kenny, photos by Michael B. Kelly


"We bought the 1957 Chevy Cameo Pickup at an auction in Tampa, Florida in 1998,” recalls Debbe. The truck was to be mine, as Doug already had a number of hot rods and custom cars. For years I drove the Cameo, and my favorite memory was with my Mom. While shopping, she would elect to sit outside in the truck while I ran in to take care of quick tasks. When I asked her why, her response surprised and tickled me, “Because men always come over and talk to me about the truck”.

After many years, the truck eventually needed some minor repairs. One thing led to another and before we knew it the body was off the frame. Doug, being the perfectionist that he is, determined the truck instead, needed major upgrades. He ordered a TCI frame and suspension, which was equipped with power rack and pinion steering, 12-inch Wilwood brakes, coil over shocks front and rear, 9-inch Ford rear with 3.70:1 gears and positraction.

At this point, Debbe knew where it was all heading. “I would say good bye to my run-around truck, and hello to a new show truck, so I submitted my requests. I wanted lots of power (so I could race at every red light), a standard transmission (so I could bang-shift and squeal the tires), and it must rumble (I wanted to be heard)”. That led to a 502 cubic inch, 502 horsepower Ramjet engine with a Tremec 5-speed transmission, 3-inch mandrel bent exhaust, and a set of Doug’s Headers.

To pull this all together we called on experts Keith Mastraforti and Jim Calandra at Special Cars Only, located in Oldsmar, Florida. This team is one of the best in the country, and have built a number of award winners for us in the past, so we knew this truck would be no different! Their meticulous attention to detail is amazing. They started with the stock body and worked to bring it up to the fit and finish of perfection. The bumpers were smoothed and tucked to blend into the fenders, which were also modified to enhance the look. Other modifications were bed flooring by Bed Wood, Trique Mfg. door latches, one piece power side windows, an Ididit steering column topped with a ’56 Chevy steering wheel, Custom Auto Sound hidden radio, Vintage Air and heat, and a Dakota Digital gauge panel were all included. Jim Calandra worked his magic to smooth the body, added 2-3/4 inch wheel tubs and eliminated all the bed bolts before laying down a perfect paint job using the PPG Nexa Autocolor Green and Tan colors that Debbe had chosen years earlier.

For the interior, the Cameo went to visit Dale Van Curen at Dale’s Hot Rod Interiors in Dade City, Florida. Dale took the time to work with Debbe to make sure she would get exactly what she wanted, to the point of even making several samples of pleats for her to choose from. He then constructed the interior and added a complete headliner, which was not stock in the original Chevrolet trucks.

While at the 2016 Street Rod Nationals in Kentucky, Debbe found the perfect wheels for her truck; US Mags new Mashburns wrapped in Pirelli Scorpions, 18x7-inch with 235-55R18 for the front, and 18x10-inch with 285-60R18 in the back.

Debbe and Doug love driving the’57 Emerald Cameo, but have decided it’s “mulch hauling” days are over! CN