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Kitbashing a 1955 Chevy Stepside Pick-Up
by Andy Fulcher

 

I have always loved old trucks and of all manufacturers, Chevrolet is my favorite. I can further sub-divide this into Stepside Pick-ups. Many of you know of my bicycle accident, but what you don't know is that prior to the accident I restored old cars. After several cars I decided it was time for a truck. In the fall of '89 I finally bought my dream truck. It was a piece of junk, but to me it would be a showpiece. I still remember my wife's reaction. "I can't believe you bought that" I never did get to restore that truck, but thanks to my wife's encouragement and to the kit manufacturers I finally own a 1955 Chevy Stepside PU.

I bought the AMT '55 Cameo in Greenville, S.C. at the Regional of 1995. After stumbling across an AMT '55 Stepside Street Machine, I knew I could finally start the project. One problem, I made the mistake of reading a review of the Cameo. In that review, it was stated that the cab was not correct in the door area. The wait began. Was there any hope of Amt correcting the cab or would I have to. After a couple of years Amt answered my question. They released the '57 Cameo and the reviews were in. This kit contained a corrected cab. At last I could start the project.

First, I had to find a set of wheels to model a basic truck. I don't believe in doing anything easy. To the model vault. Some people will refer to this as their collection. My first choice was to use the wheels from AMT's '50 Chevy kit and cut down the hubcaps from the '55 Cameo kit. My initial attempt at cutting the hubcaps was successful. Only one problem, they wouldn't fit the wheels. OK, back to the model vault. I had recently bought the Revell '56 Chevy Delray and upon comparing the wheels and hubcaps I determined that these were a dead ringer for the '55 truck. Wheel problem solved or so I thought. They were beautiful and even had a decal for each hubcap. One problem, they wouldn't fit the tires. Now what. Get out the Exacto knife. After a couple of hours I had the tire/wheel problem solved.

I decided from the beginning that I would do some things that I normally don't do. Number one I wanted the interior tub, cab and chassis interface to look like the real truck so I decided to box this in. The kit was not very good in this area. This required the use of sheet plastic and a good deal of patience. I also had to remove the molded on tire carrier. Once removed, a section of H-channel was added between the frame rails for support. The regular trucks used an entirely different way of carrying the spare than that used on the Cameos. This was done using my trusty Dremel and the usual sandpaper and files. The other area that I wanted to address was the grill. On most kits the grill is a solid piece of plastic. I decided to make the grill see through. Once again, I got out the dremel and sandpaper and files. This only took five hours, but as I was listening to a race, it only seemed like four.

The interior required some attention. I stole some door handles from the Revell '37 Ford PU and mounted these in the appropriate places. I also used some ribbed sheet plastic to make the floor mat. Once painted it was (is) convincing. I also used .010 on the door panels to add some dimension. On these older kits most door panels are just flat pieces of plastic (very unattractive).

The cab only required a couple of modifications. I removed the molded on wipers and drilled out the door handles. I had decided to use the wipers from the '37 Ford PU, but after fitting these to the cab, they were just too small. My next choice was the '56 Delray wipers. These were beautiful, but would not lay right. After a good nights sleep, I was ready to tackle the wiper problem again. To the model vault. What kits have separate wipers? I found a Lindberg '67 Olds and a Lindberg '66 Chevelle. Perfect, one of these has got to work. Well, not exactly. The '55 Chevy wipers and those of the two aforementioned vehicles don't work the same. The '55's clean the windshield from the center out and the other two clean from the passenger side to the driver's side. #$&**! Back to the model vault. Finally a solution, Revell's '60 Impala kit. These wipers only need shortening to work. Remember to always plan ahead.

The chassis came from the '55 Cameo kit and was built according to the instructions. I added spark plug wiring to the engine and a homemade coolant hose with clamps for visual interest. The engine compartment is quite large on this truck and needed something.

I painted the model my favorite color, Omaha Orange, and added a clear coat. The grille, bumpers and headlight buckets were de-chromed and finished in GM white

I used the antennae from the '56 Delray kit and added taillight wiring. I used parts from six different kits to construct this model. I thoroughly enjoyed creating something unique but I think my next model will be OOB!