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
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!