What would someone with a rare and eclectic car collection want to use to haul around such automobiles? And is there anyone out there who actually knows what a '57 El Morocco is, let alone what should be used to transport it among other obscurities? Marv Siesel is the man with the answers. He thought it would be cool to see his El Morocco-which is 1 of 187 cars built in '56-57 that was a cross between a Cadillac and a Chevy that was warranteed by the later-in tow behind an almost extinct utilitarian from the same time, a '55 Chevy Cameo 3124 Carrier. Marv took possession of the Cameo in the early 1980s, and in its stock form was used for plenty chores before he tucked it away in storage until he could execute his-let's say high-end-plans for the pick 'em up.
In recent years Mr. Siesel's businesses blossomed enough so he could retire and pursue his work on his collection. The Cameo was now up to bat. The stock 265/three-speed got the ax in favor of a chassis from an '86 Suburban. The late-model chassis was just over a foot longer than the stock '55 frame, and after some deliberation, the decision was made to do what GM should've done a half-century ago-turn the Cameo into an extended cab. Before the body mods got started, the foundation for the truck received a new fuel-injected 454 backed by a Turbo 400 and crowned with a Gear Vendors Under/Overdrive unit to kick the towing duties up a notch.
After having the '55 at another body shop, Marv wasn't satisfied with the head way the shop was making and took the project to D'Elegance Restorations in San Marcos, California, to have the very capable Tel Powney fulfill his needs.
With the cab now in its extended state, everything was blocked-sanded to perfection and sprayed by Pasi Kallunki of Pasi's Place back to the only colors Chevrolet offered the truck in-Bombay Ivory and Cardinal Red. To go along with the updates in the drivetrain, there were a few other mods, like the addition of a fifth-wheel hitch in the bed that was lined with oak and stainless strips. Tel even extended the stainless trim on the cab 14 inches above and below the rear quarter-windows, which now lay just ahead of the stock big-window out back.
The Cameo was still going to be used for Marv's intended purpose, so it was fitted with appropriate mirrors to keep an eye on precious cargo, the hitch (with hidden wiring), and restored Guide spotlights for extra nighttime illumination. The new 16-inch rolling stock was ingeniously concealed behind 15-inch '55 Bel Air wheel covers that were welded to the larger-diameter beauty rings and polished to perfection.
Step inside the now roomier cab and you'd find Vintage Air neatly installed with the controls concealed in the glovebox while a tranny temp gauge hides in the ashtray thanks to Tel's handiwork. A RainGear wiper system replaced the stock vacuum unit, and a '50s Sun Super Tach II makes an easy job of watchin' the revs in addition to the VDO instruments. Tel even installed a Horizon NavMate satellite navigation system, but you'd never know with all its equipment tucked behind the smooth, stock panels in the bed that hide the wheel wells.
Fidel of International Upholstery trimmed the '99 Dodge power seat in stock Cameo material to coincide with the ongoing theme of modern concessions amongst a stock faade. The original steering wheel is now home on top of a Flaming River tilt column that is painted to match.
After all was said and done, Marv's vision plus Tel's handiwork and orchestration paid off at one of the first shows the Cameo was driven to. The Classic Chevy show at Bate's Nut Farm in Valley Center, California, just happened to be spotlighting the 10,321 Cameos built from '55-58, and a man who was brought to GM in the late 1940s by the visionary designer Harley Earl was in attendance. This man we speak of is Chuck Jordan, whose first concept for the automaker was the Cameo Carrier. The retired VP of Design gave his thumbs up on Marv's iteration of what an extended cab Cameo should've been patterned after. How's that for a cherry on top?