According to cameotruckclub.com, there were only around 10,000 Chevy Cameos made from 1955 to 1959. Charles is lucky enough to have two of them, a 1956 and a 1957. In this interview, he tells us about his 1957 Cameo and cool trailer he pulls behind it. What’s your real name? (What’s your online screen name?)
My name is Charles A. Whittington, Jr. and my board name is EXTD 56.
Where do you live?
I live in Vacaville, California.
What do you do for a living?
I am a retired State of California employee. I spend my time working on all of my cars and spoiling my 3 grandchildren.
What GM(s) do you drive?
I have the following GM vehicles:
• 2003 Avalanche Z71 – my daily driver
• 1994 Cadillac Deville Northstar – my wife’s daily driver
• 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass 455 convertible– my wife’s only “toy”
• 1972 Chevy “T” top Corvette
• 1969 Chevy 4 door Crew Cab custom with a TBI 454/4L80 E with a 6” lift
• 1967 GMC Extended cab with custom bed – TBI 350/400 trans
• 1957 Chevy Cameo with a NAPCO conversion
• 1956 Chevy Cameo extended cab with a 402 Chevy B16 block and a 400 trans.
What got you into GM(s)?
My interest in GM cars stemmed from the 1958 Corvette owned by my father and the 1955 Chevy Cameo that was used for the family’s dump runs!
Have a favorite story to tell about your ’57 Cameo?
One of my favorite stories that involved my 1957 Cameo was the trip to Paso Robles to attend the Chevy Nationals car show. On highway 101, the rear transmission mount broke about 60 miles from Paso Robles. I was able to “limp” it into Paso Robles and found a welding shop to manufacture a new crossmember and install it in time to attend the truck show. This misadventure won me the “Hard Luck” award at the Chevy Nationals show.
**Comment from the wife! Highway 101 is a 2 lane road with not much room to stop on the side of the road. Watching the cars speed by while your husband is underneath a truck trying to fix the vehicle was scary but the adventure is a great story. However my favorite 1957 Cameo story was during the return trip from Hot August Nights. Our daughters following their father on I-80 called me and started screaming “A truck just hit dad and he went off the road” then the phone clicked off. When it was all said and done, no one was hurt and the only damage to the truck was the tire marks the other truck had left on the rear part of the truck.
What was your favorite modification to your ’57 Cameo? Why?
My favorite modification to the Cameo was installing the 700R4 Trans as it made the truck more enjoyable to drive. I didn’t have to hear the motor revving because of the stock 3.90 gears.
Can you tell me about your trailer you pull behind your ’57 Cameo?
The trailer that I pull with the Cameo was made from the remaining parts off of a truck that was purchased for parts. I decided that I needed a trailer to pull behind my 1957 to place the items I did not wish to haul in the bed of the truck. The rear of the front clip from the parts truck was in good shape so I cut it off and welded it to customize the trailer. I think the trailer attracts more attention than the 1957 truck. It also isn’t a problem when changing lanes.
What’s next for your ’57 Cameo? Why?
I would like to change the 327 motor because it seems to be getting “tired” and uses a little more oil than it should. It also needs to have hardened seals placed in the heads.
Who has helped you the most along the way?
My daughters, Jennifer and Kimmy were always around to help restore my projects and were happy to do so. They were a great help with keeping the cars clean and waxed. My wife, Deb has always supported my interests especially when I worked on the cars until late at night.
**Commentary from the wife! – I am a healthcare professional and as such I equate my husband’s interests in cars as the “Car disease” which is incurable. At times I think you can only drive 1 car at a time and wonder when “enough is enough” but have resigned myself to the fact that at least all of his toys are put away when not in use. I guess one could also wonder why a woman would need 10 pairs of black shoes – 1 for every occasion. My husband has a car for every occasion!
Do you spend time on any GM sites? Which ones?
I spend a lot of time on the 67-72 ChevyTruck.com website. The members are great and are always eager to help with advice and encouragement.
The modifications made on this truck were:
• 1963 327 Engine
• 700R4 Transmission
• NAPCO front axle
• Divorced transfer case
• aluminum wheels
• dual master cylinder
• fully chromed rear bumper
• hood rockets and bumper guards