Gary Barrett's 1958 Chevy Cameo Pickup
(from Volume 28, Issue 341)

story by owner Gary Barrett, photos by Michael B. Kelly


The Cameo was Chevrolet’s premier pickup truck from 1955 thru 1958, with a mere 1,405 built in 1958. I have always had a love of the 2nd series Chevrolet trucks, and while I’m not real sure when it all started, it could have been the fact my father had a 1959 big window step side painted Forest Green when I was young. I spent many a Saturday following that truck to and from the local dirt track via a tow bar, sitting in the driver’s seat of a 1955/57 Chevrolet Dirt Car. Something about that big window just appeals to me.

So in 2008 I found a Cameo for sale in Daytona, purely by accident, but I knew right away I wanted it. So I called my wife Pam and convinced her it was a good idea to buy this truck that I had found sitting by the side of the road. I’m not sure she understood that we would spend the next couple years rebuilding it with a complete new engine, transmission and rear end, as well as finding all the Cameo trim and updating the interior. But in the end, we began a journey that took us to many car shows, both local to us in Jacksonville and out of town, and we have loved it. We have met so many great people and made so many friends, who just like me love cars....or trucks in this case.

We ended up selling our original turquoise and white Cameo and began a four year journey of building this new 1958 Cameo you see featured here, starting completely from scratch. We started with a new cab from Premier Street Rods in Arizona, and all new steel except for the hood. The cab sits on a Scott’s Hotrods chassis from Knoxville, Tennessee, which includes an all coil-over suspension, 4-Link rear suspension, Ford style Moser rear end with 3.50:1 gears, all of which was powder coated black. It is powered by an all-aluminum 2003 LS6 by Rollins Automotive in Gainesville, Florida, complete with a Billet Specialties front drive system and Holley Terminator X Max engine management system, while the transmission is a 4L60E by Ron’s Transmission of Jacksonville, Florida.

The real luck in building this truck was finding a builder who would allow me to express my ideas about what I had in mind and give me his opinion about it, but he also give me insight about the small things I had not thought about. I was fortunate to find someone local, Visual FX Custom Paint & Body in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Paul, Rebecca and everyone at Visual FX were great to work with, plus Miles and Anthony did an excellent job and were always willing to help with questions or any concerns I had during the build. The beautiful red paint color with the “bowling ball” trim treatment was all Paul’s idea. At first I had no idea what he was talking about, but I trusted him and once he painted the first piece and showed me the trim, I knew he was right on the money. Accenting the Cameo’s signature chrome body trim are a set of 18-inch Foose Knuckle wheels wrapped with Continental tires.

The interior and audio were done by friends at Total Customs Interior in Orange Park, Florida. That includes light brown leather, with bucket seats and a custom console. The instrumentation is Dakota Digital, and with more bowling ball painted accents inside the cab it really ties everything together. The truck has a couple unique features, including door boxes that extended the cab floor into the door opening on both sides to mount all the Holley Terminator X Max wiring and PCM, as well as the push button transmission controller, fuse panel, relays, etc. The boxes are mounted with Dzus fasteners and easily removed for programing and access to all wiring.

We built this truck to drive and enjoy so when we had the opportunity to take it on the 2022 Hot Rod Power Tour we jumped at the chance, traveling a total of 2,100 miles in the process. On the tailgate you’ll find custom artwork by Chris Cruz featuring a cartoon of our cat, and the truck’s nickname of “Crazy Money”. The nickname is a little joke I had with my wife about how you’d have to be crazy to build a ‘58 Cameo from scratch....which is just what I did. But I must say in the end it came out great, and this build would not have been possible without the support of my wife Pamie, who also travels to all of the car shows with me. CN