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1958 Chevrolet Cameo

Owner: Scott Phaneuf

It all began over 30 years ago about 60 miles from Boston, Massachusetts. Scott Phaneuf had begun to accumulate a few rental houses. He had started looking for a pickup truck to help move larger remodeling supplies. Nothing fancy was needed, just a less expensive pickup for hauling lumber, sheetrock, trash, etc.

Then it happened! After checking several older trucks in his city he was told of an unusual late 1950’s pickup in the adjacent town. He found it sitting outside behind a neighborhood garage and not running. The owner called it a 1958 Chevrolet Cameo truck. He said it was very rare and almost none had survived.  Scott immediately was interested. After 2  few phone calls and checking the public library he found it was very unusual truck and was produced at the end of its 3 ½ year production run in the mid-1950s. Scott had to have it!

After towing it home, Scott soon decided it was too unusual to leave so deteriorated. Why not turn it into almost new condition, use it for only light hauling, and have something few people in his area had ever seen. Therefore, in about a year Scott personally restored it to look almost new! It became his special hauler for almost 30 years.

Our story actually begins about 25 years after his first Cameo was purchased. Scott or his wife Donna was looking on Ebay when it was just in its beginnings and saw a 1958 Cameo in Georgia. Why not have another 1958? It would be like a “his and hers” pair of 1958 Cameos. They owned a large garage and had the restoration experience from the first Cameo. They made an Ebay bid and owned it!

When they returned from Georgia with their second Cameo, they decided it would be restored as perfect as they could make it and build it as an all original “show truck”.

Thus, this is our Feature Truck of the Month, the second 1958 Chevrolet Cameo owned by Scott and Donna Phaneuf. Yes, they bought it because it was a rare 1958 but it was also equipped with the optional 283 V-8 engine, a rare Hydramatic transmission, and very rare power steering. Later when they removed the body from the frame, a case of “buyer’s remorse” set in. “What did we do”? The rust was so much worse than their first. The cab floors, lower door hinge supports, and sheet metal corners were rusted beyond repair. Most any lower sheet metal panels needed to be replaced. They had no choice but to continue with the restoration. The truck was now in pieces and would have limited value in parts.

Fortunately Scott and Donna didn’t stop the restoration and they did it together. Several years later it became a near new as you can get. It’s considered Donnas’ truck.

The paint is the correct Tartan Turquoise and Bombay Ivory. Accessories on this already loaded Cameo are radio, fresh air heater, behind the seat tool tray and tool kit. It mostly is kept in their garage, but is occasionally seen at local shows. The main show for 2012 was at the American Truck Historical Society’s national meet in West Springfield, Massachusetts where it was displayed among the best in the country.

For most of us having two very nice 1958 Cameo’s would be the limit of our vehicle collection. But not the Phaneuf’s. No, their collection increased when they later discovered another 1958 Cameo they call #3. It is the rarest of all. Only two were made by General Motors and they were for display at 1958 auto shows. These had fuel injection as was offered as on option of the early Chevrolet Corvette’s with a 283 V-8 engine. After a major restoration it’s a real eye catcher with correct Golden Yellow and Jet Black colors.

A few years ago Scott retired so he now has even more time to spend in the restoration hobby. He recently found #4 1958 Cameo for such a good price he could not resist. It is probably the only Kodiak Brown with Bombay Ivory trim 1958 Cameo in existence. With Scott’s experience, it’s very rough condition and many years of outside storage will allow the Cameo to be restored while most would have called it a total loss.

The BIG restoration of all is now also underway including Cameo #4. How do you transport four Cameos to major shows? Well, Scott quickly has the answer. You move them together like they did 50 years ago. In North Carolina he found a 1959 Chevrolet Spartan 100 tractor and later a 50 year old Anchor car hauler trailer. They fit together perfectly! Won’t that be the show of all shows? Stay tuned for a big future article with photos when all is complete.

Who said you were to sit back in your easy chair when you retired?

You can contact Scott by email at: keyman4885@yahoo.com

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