A one-family owned classic truck is a thing only a limited number of people can claim, but for those who can, the beloved vehicle means more to them than any other form of transportation.
It’s an heirloom, a conversation piece and a catalyst for many memories. For Randy and Su Eckhardt, that’s exactly what their 1955 Chevrolet Cameo pickup truck is. But ,just because it’s a cherished piece of history in their family, doesn’t mean it had to always stay the way the factory made it!
Restored and customized by Jimmy’s Customs in Wellington, Colorado, the Eckhardts’ Cameo started out life like any other vehicle – straight from the assembly plant to the showroom floor. What sets this truck apart is what happened next.
As it turns out, it was Randy’s father who purchased the truck new in 1955, the first year for the truck’s updated body style and iconic red and white paint scheme, and it’s been in the family ever since. In fact, Randy still remembers the day his dad picked up the truck from that Denver dealership some 63 years ago!
Loved and cared for by Randy’s dad until the early 1970s, Randy and Su took ownership of the truck in 1972. Over the years it’s gotten a lot of use, but it wasn’t until recently that it underwent a complete frame-off, rotisserie restoration with a bit of customization, to turn it into the show-worthy truck it is today.
Aesthetically, the truck maintains much of its classic look, from the rounded corners and pronounced nose of the mid-50s Chevrolet truck line, to smaller details like the slotted grille, eye-browed headlights, and iconic windshield visor.
But the truck also boasts some custom features as well, including shaved trim work and badges, a modified front bumper, Kindig-It Design door handles, and the gas filler access hidden inside the driver’s side flip-up taillight housing. Other unique features include LED headlights and taillights, custom tailgate latches, a blonde wood-slat bed floor, body-color rear bumper, and smoked glass windows.
Topping off the build and replacing the once two-toned red and white paint scheme is a gorgeous PPG three-stage Perfect Purple paint scheme accentuated by just the right amount of brightwork front and back.
A nice finishing touch is the Chevrolet Bow Tie in the center of the tailgate, paying homage to Randy’s stint in the Army’s First Aviation Brigade, in which he served in 1970 and 1971. Of course, we also have to note the fitting custom license plate!
Inside, the truck’s interior is fully custom, with power adjustable seats, a custom center console and headliner, and a tilt steering wheel, all done in khaki-colored leather and suede. The plush bucket seats feature custom embroidery on the headrests (another ode to Randy’s military service), while additional touches like air conditioning, remote power locks and windows, and a Pioneer touch-screen stereo give the truck plenty of creature comforts for the modern age.
When it comes to the performance of the truck, it’s all about modern upgrades and easy cruising! While the ’55 Cameo was originally optioned with two engine choices from the factory (a standard 235ci six-cylinder and an optional 265ci V8), Randy wanted his truck to have a little more oomph after the rebuild. So, he opted to have the truck outfitted with a crate LS3 with a custom serpentine system, polished stainless-steel headers and a custom 2 1/2-inch stainless steel exhaust system, fabricated and built by Windsor Colorado’s Muscle Tones Exhaust & Fabrication, with Borla tips.
Backing the LS3 powerplant is a GM 4L70E automatic transmission tied to a 9-inch positraction-filled rearend. The truck’s suspension includes a Mustang II frontend and a triangulated four-bar suspension out back. Planting the truck to the pavement are five-spoke Rocket Racing wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich tires surrounding disc brakes on all four corners.
The truck may not be quite the same as it was when Randy’s father bought it new from a Denver dealership over 60 years ago – we think it’s definitely better – it remains a cherished possession for the Eckhardt’s as they celebrate its 63rd year in the family. Now, if that’s not a good reason for them to get the truck out and enjoy the summer with the freshly restored Cameo, we don’t know what is!
A Note From Rod Authority Editor, Dave Cruikshank – This truck really is a killer. The “face” on this thing epitomizes the golden era of GM styling. What a beauty. This old pickup also straddles the tricky game of customization (i.e., helping the OEM details without spoiling the provenance of the truck. Just right).
For more photos of this awesome Cameo, be sure to check out the full Photo Gallery below!