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1957 Chevy Cameo Carrier Pickup

Dean Russell, of Parish, NY, with his 1957 Chevy Cameo Carrier pickup.
Interior of ’57 Cameo Carrier, finished in authentic two-tone just as it came from the factory.

1957 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier Pickup
Owner: Dean Russell, Parish, NY

Cameo production 1957:

2,572

Production:

’55-’58: 10,261

Base price:

About $3,000

Price Chevy ‘Stepside’ pickups:

$1,400

Color:

Matador Red/India Ivory

Engine:

283 C.I.,185-HP V-8

Transmission:

HydraMatic 4-speed

Truck bed:

Fiberglass

283 V-8 engine:

Became available for ‘57


All Cameos had a contrasting stripe on the bed. That color was carried onto the ‘B’ pillar, in this case, Matador Red and India Ivory.
This is the driver’s door panel. Notice that it has an authentic pattern and material for that year.

Chevrolet Cameo Carrier pickups are something you don’t see very often. For starters, there were only 10,261 manufactured during the model years 1955 through 1958, when the last Cameos came off the assembly line in mid-season because of poor sales.

Part of the reason was price, the MSRP for Cameo trucks was hundreds of dollars more than Fords, Dodges and lesser model Chevys, all of which were considered to be working trucks. The Cameo Carrier, was more elegant, the truck bed is made of Fiberglass, the bumpers are chrome, the bed’s sides are slab (Fleetside) straight, the interior is two-tone and decidedly upscale for trucks of the era, and as Dean Russell, of Parish, NY, the owner of this truck, said, these trucks were for people who were wealthy.

Dean, restored this Cameo Carrier to a condition that is no doubt better than when it was showroom new, a project that he relished. And, by the way, this restoration is 12 years old, although it doesn’t look like it’s 12 hours old. Dean said he “has a few more” Cameos around,” two ‘58s, two ‘57s, one ’56, and two ‘55s. But, that’s not the half of it, all told he has 28 collector cars, so his attention is drawn in many directions when it comes to working on a car, or even choosing one to drive.

With the exception of the 1955 Cameo, which was only available in Bombay Ivory with Commercial Red ‘B’ pillars, the final three years of Cameo production included the choice of several two-tone paint combinations that also were available on Chevy’s sedans and wagons.

What also distinguishes the ’55 Cameos is that the beds are painted ‘Commercial Red.’ Less expensive Stepside Chevy trucks were almost always one color, although some were delivered with cab tops and ‘B’ pillars painted India Ivory.

Kenn Peters
Kenn4mail@gmail.com


Chevy dressed up the Cameo model with chrome grille and chrome bumpers. Most Chevy trucks in ’55 through ’58 had painted bumpers and grilles.
In chrome script Chevrolet put the word HydraMatic on both sides of the Cameo truck, over the classic Chevy V, that signified the truck’s engine is a V-8. In this case it’s the 283 V-8 producing 185 horsepower, an engine that became an iconic powerplant for Chevy cars and trucks. Chevy used the stylized ‘V’ on trucks and cars for 1956 through 1958.
A closer look at the side of the bed with its contrasting color outlined in chrome. Also notice the full-wheel hubcaps, something you almost never saw on a mid-‘50s pickup.
Because Chevy went all out to doll-up the Cameo, it also included the name ‘Chevrolet,’ followed by ‘3124’ on both sides of the truck. The less expensive Chevy trucks’ numeral identification was the 3100 series, so it was only fitting that the most expensive truck carry a higher number.

Sometimes half n’ half is best - 1981 Camaro

981 Camaro, with 1976 Camaro front clip, owned by Roger Rawson, Cortland, NY.
Here’s the proof. This is the original 1981 rear of the Camaro.

1981 Camaro

Owner:

Roger Rawson, Cortland, NY

Cost new:

$6,780

1981 production:

126,139

1976 production:

182,959

This car manufactured with:

6 cylinder engine

Power in car:

350 C.I., crate engine

Engine enhancements

Engine bored out, flattop pistons, double roller timing chain, aluminum head with roller rockers, Edelbrock intake and Edelbrock headers.

Paint:

Brian Eastman, Eastman Auto Repair, Cortland.

Engine work:

Don Brown, friend of Roger Rawson, and as he said, “The best mechanic I know.”


Roger Rawson, with his 1981 Camaro, a car he built over three years in the mid- to late-1990s.
With the exception of an aftermarket steering wheel the Camaro is all 1981 inside.

If you’ve ever spotted this Camaro and identified it as a 1976, you were half right. It you really know Camaros and looked in the mirror as it passed, you might have thought, wait, something’s different about that car. Right again.

This Camaro is in reality a 1981. Indeed, the rear of the car is all 1981, but the front clip is a 1976. The story of how this happened is as different as the car.

The car is owned by Roger Rawson, of Cortland, NY, a guy who loves Camaros and knows his way around them. Roger has a friend who owned a 1981 Camaro, but it was stored in the back of his property, on a trailer in the weeds. Time and the elements hadn’t been kind to the Camaro. To say it was rough is an understatement.

Roger’s friend, who will remain nameless, had a plan for the car but his plan fell through along with a relationship that involved the Camaro. Long story short, he didn’t need the Camaro anymore, so his friend, Roger, without ever having seen the car, said, I’ll buy it.

“I paid $400 for it, and I said to him, ‘bring it over.’ When the car was dropped in Roger’s driveway he knew he was in for a challenge.

“It was in bad shape, but I was looking for a project and I was going to do whatever came along,” Roger said. The pieces sort of fell together after he studied for car for a while. “I had a 1976 front clip which I thought I would use because the front of the 1981 Camaros aren’t good looking,” he said.

On the other hand, the “rear of the 1976 Camaro sucked,” Roger noted, but he loves the look of the rear end of the 1981 car. Bingo! A little figuring and the ’76 front fit nicely on the ’81 rear, almost as the two halves were designed together.

Roger was no stranger to this kind of work because he had done similar work before. But as it turned out, “This was the last car I did all myself,” he said. Roger was injured and his injuries have slowed him down a bit. The Camaro was treated to a 350 cubic inch crate engine backed up by an automatic transmission, a combination that happily develops around 410 horsepower.

ike all hobby car owners, Roger is always tinkering and updating something even though he’s owned the car since 1994. Recently the car was sent out for installation of a new headliner.

Kenn Peters
Kenn4mail@gmail.com


The Camaro’s interior from the driver’s side. You can’t see the headliner, but a new vinyl headliner was recently installed in the Camaro.
Another view of the 1976 Camaro front clip on a 1981 car. Roger said the two halves went together easily.

Volunteers


Dennis Connor, president of the Central New York Car Club Association, credits the late Dick Spring for the concept of an umbrella organization over the numerous car clubs in the area. As Spring saw it, allowing the clubs to speak with one voice would result in achieving common goals and objectives.

“He felt that if the car clubs got together they would have more strength and be able to accomplish many things,” Connor said.

Spring was right, because the CNYCCA catapulted itself into a leading role during the first Syracuse Nationals in 2000, staged by the Right Coast Association, of Brewerton, and the same holds true for every show since. Unfortunately, the 2020 Syracuse Nationals was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the show will return for 2021, supported as always by the car club association and its hundreds of members.

“The role the car clubs play is very important to the show,” said Rob O’Connor, director of the Syracuse Nationals. “They (the clubs) have put great systems in place.”

While there are dozens of car clubs in Central New York, there was no organizational mechanism that would allow them to work as one until the CNYCCA was chartered. After it became a clearing house of sorts, for the various clubs it moved smoothly and gained strength for several years until 2000, and then things exploded when the governing body agreed to a request from Syracuse Nationals’ founder, the late Bob O’Connor, to volunteer its services during the first show.

“Bob contacted me with his idea and then I reached out to the clubs within the organization. We talked to the clubs’ members and they agreed we’d participate,” Connor said. “We agreed to help with a security patrol, plus other duties.”

“We had five clubs that jumped in right away, and during the first show we worked the gates, we were roving ambassadors on the grounds, we were a source of information for visitors, we helped out at the camp grounds,” Connor said, where hundreds of camper trailers and motor homes from all over the country set up housekeeping for a week,.

The beauty of the arrangement over the years was that no cash has ever changed hands, he said. In other words, the organization’s members are strictly volunteers, never asking for pay for doing a job that they love.

Anyone who’s been a member of a car club knows that charity donations are a big part of what clubs work for and toward, annually. And the Syracuse Nationals, although it’s not a car club, fell into step doing its part to raise as much money as possible for charity.

For many years the even has raised between $65,000 and $75,000 during each show and has unselfishly donated every cent to charity. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Syracuse, is the recipient of the largest amount of money, but each participating car club also receives funds to donate to chosen charities. All told, the annual three-day extravaganza is responsible for $1.5 million in donations so far.

In the interest of full disclosure, much of the money is raised by an annual ‘panel jam’ that has been held in the State Fair’s Horticulture Building. The event, formerly organized by Art Schilling, of Myrtle Beach, SC, brings together up to 70 air brush and pinstripe artists who create works of art on metal panels for three daily auctions.

Money given to the various clubs to be used for charitable donations was the idea of Bob O’Connor, his way of giving back to the clubs for a valuable service rendered.

For the first few years the Nationals relied on the CNYCCA to handle security as well as several other tasks ranging from working the State Fair’s parking lots, to handling traffic through the various gates on the grounds, and patrolling the former ‘infield’ camping area.

But as the show grew exponentially it became clear that professional security would take over where the volunteers left off, freeing them to handle a few dozen other tasks. “Initially they (volunteers) were security and customer relations, but as the show increased in size the security task became too large, so they’ve concentrated on what they do well, customer relations and being ambassadors at the show and during the months leading up to the show,” Rob O’Connor said.

O’Connor added that as he sees it the volunteers have what they do down to a science and they’re comfortable in their role, a rare combination for an organization as large as the Right Coast Association’s Syracuse Nationals. “I would be hesitant to add more or change anything,” he added.

“To sum it up the volunteers are an important part of what makes the show a success every year,” O’Connor said.

“We’ve got it down pretty well,” Dennis Connor noted. “Little things come along, but rarely do we have a big problem.”

Kenn Peters
Kenn4mail@gmail.com


ESM Car Build

As the car would have appeared from the factory, with a black stripe. The car is finished in Ford Magnetic Metallic.
The heart of the matter, the Bloss Machine-built Ford big block V-8 producing 408 horsepower.

East Syracuse-Minoa High School
Raffle Car Build

1969 Ford Mustang Mach I

Restoration:

East Syracuse-Minoa High School auto technology students

Car donated:

Joe Tassone

Engine:

Ford V-8, 408 HP, 460 LB-FT torque

Engine work:

Bloss Machine, Kirkville, NY

Transmission:

4-speed manual, donated by Syracuse Auto Gear, Syracuse, NY

Paint work:

Donated by East Syracuse Chevrolet

Materials:

Saves Auto Body Supply, Syracuse, NY

Color:

Magnetic Metallic

Car will be raffled:

July 19, 2020

Raffle tickets:

$10/1, $25/3; $100/15

Checks payable to:

ESM Spartan Garage Booster Club

Mail to:

East Syracuse Minoa C.H.S.

Attn:

Ryan J. Beckley
6400 Fremont Road
East Syracuse, NY 13057


Interior of 1969 Mustang Mach I, that will be raffled on July 19, 2020. The car was restored by the Auto Technology class at East Syracuse Minoa Central High School.
The transmission is a four-speed Muncie built by Syracuse Auto Gear. Even though the Muncie is a General Motors product, Beckley was able to mate it to the Ford 408-HP 465-LB-FT engine.

For the past two decades the auto technology class at East Syracuse Minoa Central High School, has annually built a car to be raffled off at the end of the school year. The money from the raffle always goes toward the purchase of a car and parts for the next year, plus the numerous expenses associated with making an old car like new.

This year’s car is a high performance 1969 Mustang Mach I, a highly sought after car among Mustang and muscle car fans.

The Mach I made its debut in late 1968 as a 1969 model. While Mustang production cooled after red-hot sales of the mid-60s, Ford still sold 299,824 Mustangs during that model year, and of that number 71,958 carried Mach I badges.

The Mach I could be purchased in various configurations but the so-called ‘sports roof’ was the only body design. Exterior styling of the car included a matte black hood with hood pins, a hood scoop, a chrome pop-open gas cap, a ‘deluxe’ interior, a rear deck spoiler and rear window louvers, although many buyers didn’t order the louvered window.

Several engines were available all the way from two 351 cubic-inch V-8s, up to a 428 cubic-inch 7-liter V-8.

The ESM raffle car is powered by a Ford 408-horsepower V-8 built by Bloss Machine, in Kirkville, NY, and it’s backed up by a four-speed manual transmission. The interesting thing about the engine and transmission combination is the transmission, which is a Muncie, a General Motors product built by Syracuse Auto Gear, which also produces parts for the transmissions.

Ryan Beckley, the auto tech teacher and chair of the department at ESM until recently, said it was tricky getting the GM transmission mated to Ford power, but with a little engineering know-how the task was successfully completed. Beckley, by the way, resigned his position at ESM to become director of the Auto Technology Department at Onondaga Community College.

Beckley said the car has an interesting history; the car was sold new in California and remained there for several years. According to Beckley, and he doesn’t vouch for the worthiness of this tidbit, apparently the wife of the man who owned the car wasn’t pleased with either him, or the car, or both, but anyway she “took a baseball bat to the car” and inflicted a good deal of body damage.


Ryan Beckley, until recently, chairman of the Auto Technology Department at ESM and director of the annual car building project. Beckley has resigned to become director of the Auto Technology Department at Onondaga Community College.
Authentic Ford wheels are correct for the car.

“There were some dents but we took the car to East Syracuse Chevy where the body work was done and the paint was applied,” he said.

As he has always done, Beckley got the entire student body involved by allowing it to decide the color of the car. The kids overwhelmingly asked for a muted gray, so Beckley drove to Ford dealers in the area looking for a gray color. Sure enough, a new gray by Ford is Magnetic Metallic, so that’s the color, close to what the car was.

East Syracuse Chevy returned the car to ESM in October 2019, leaving plenty of time to get the car into showroom shape. “We were way ahead of schedule,” Beckley said. “The senior class was very ambitious. I was thinking we would have the car done by the end of March or by mid-April.”

But then came the coronavirus pandemic and schools closed on March 16, kids weren’t coming to school and the Mach I wasn’t finished. Beckley had no choice but to take the car out of the school building and move it to his property where the work was completed.

“On March 16 the back seat was in, there were no door panels, no dash. When school closed we thought it would be for a week or two,” he said. But very quickly it became evident schools weren’t likely to open for the remainder of the school year. “I didn’t bring the car here until the beginning of June, the car was maybe 85 percent done,” he added.

Beckley invited a few students to join him to complete the car. He said two members of the junior class worked on the car “for four or five days.” Their work helped a lot, the car was buttoned up pretty well with the exception of some minor things that were changed as time went on.

Over the years ESM car has been advertised in Hemmings Motor News, which has worldwide distribution, and the car is put on display during the three-day Syracuse Nationals. The Nationals annual event is cancelled this year because of the pandemic, which was a blow to the ESM program, because as Beckley said, “the number one thing we do to generate ticket sales is display the car at the Syracuse Nationals, and second is Hemmings.”

Thankfully ticket sales have gone well, Beckley said, in part because the car is desirable and in part because it was advertised the right way and the data base of people eager to buy a raffle ticket grows each year. While a ’69 Mach I appears on the market every now-and-then, it’s not often a Mach I fresh out of restoration with parts and equipment correct to the car, is offered for sale.

Kenn Peters
Kenn4mail@gmail.com


The students and Beckley decided to add a modern safety touch to the Mustang, LED sequential taillights.
The Mach I from the factory had a wooden steering wheel, as shown here.



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