Charlie Dunhill

Fri Mar 22 2013 19:54:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

There's no question, the coolest rides take cubic dollars to build. But the great thing is that once they're done, you can have show-winning machines for pennies on the dollar. This 1957 Chevrolet Cameo pickup is just such a truck, and one glance at the photos and spec sheet will show you that this one is a screaming bargain considering the quality of the build.

This truck has an amazing story behind it, having been practically scratch-built from just a cab, and the result is simply jaw-dropping. The Cameo was arguably the first truck designed to be as good looking as it is practical, and the curves lend themselves to customization as much as any '57 Chevy. The bed, fenders, and hood are all fresh sheetmetal, and the rest was plucked from rust-free donors and hand-assembled to exacting specifications. The whole thing was smoothed and sanded, then covered in sizzling Viper Red paint that practically vibrates off the bodywork. Using a laser cutter, the custom Bel Air-style side panels were fabricated just for this truck, and along with the stainless side trim, you'll agree that it looks totally OEM. A gorgeous wood bed floor went in and was covered in several coats of varnish, the rear bumper was painted and chromed, and the cab was filled with lightly tinted glass that gives it a sleek look. And those Fuel Injection badges are no joke, but more on that in a minute.

First, let's talk about that ostrich-skin interior. It's based on a pair of buckets from a late-model Tahoe, cut down four inches to clear the rear window, then custom fitted with fresh foam and new seat covers that look as inviting as a leather bomber jacket. Custom door panels were stitched up to match and a custom center console adds practicality. The original dash was filled with Dakota Digital instruments in a triangular panel that mimics the 1957 piece, and a banjo-style wheel is wrapped with matching ostrich skin leather. A/C, power windows, cruise control, and a tilt wheel are what you'd expect of a top-flight truck, with entertainment provided by an AM/FM/CD head unit with speakers throughout the cab.

Starting without a frame meant they were free to go wild, so the tube chassis under this truck carries a thundering Chevy LS6 V8 and a fully independent suspension from a Corvette ZR-1. It runs like a stocker thanks to the miracle of factory fuel injection, which was sorted out by the pros at Howe Engineering, who also got the 4L60E transmission talking to the engine. A custom stainless firewall features Corvette emblems laser-etched into its face, and all the wiring and plumbing are stashed out of sight. Underneath, the chassis was finished to match the body, and offers power disc brakes at all four corners, as well as coil-over shocks and an amazing custom exhaust system that hides the mufflers outside of the frame rails. It rides and handles like a 1996 Corvette, with explosive power and handling that'll bounce your head off the side window. 17-inch Billet Specialties wheels wear 275/40/17 BFGoodrich radials that grip like Velcro.

This truck undoubtedly cost three times the asking price to build and has been featured in "Classic Chevy" magazine. To own it, all you have to do is call!