1956 Chevy Cameo

Strong Sentiment – Jesse Emmett’s 1956 Cameo Pickup

When Jesse Emmett got his driver’s license at age 16, his father had this 1956 Cameo fixed up and handed over the keys. It was a deal Jesse’s father made with each of his boys – they all got a Cameo pickup on their 16th birthday. Jesse drove the truck through his late 20s, making a few upgrades along the way.

Jesse Emmett Cameo

Now 38 years old, Jesse recently treated the truck to a two-year makeover at Custom Concepts in his hometown of Fresno, California. It’s finished how he always dreamt it could be and turning heads where ever it shows up.

56 Cameo

When Jesse delivered the pickup to Rob and the guys at Custom Concepts, he brought along a TCI frame with IFS, a four-link rear suspension, Currie 9-inch rearend, QA1 coil-overs, Flaming River steering, and Wilwood disc brakes. The Custom Concepts team painted and detailed the chassis, outfitting it with 18- and 20-inch Schott wheels and Mickey Thompson tires to establish a definite hot rod rake.1956 Cameo

The truck likely lived a rough past life as a farm truck, which became apparent when media blasting revealed some major issues on the body. Jesse could hardly believe what he saw was the same truck he’d been driving for two decades. The needed sheet metal repairs were made, along with modifications like shaved door handles and emblems, molded drip rails, and custom engine compartment panels, including a slick faux induction setup. When the body work was finished, Custom Concepts laid down the beautiful Valspar Blue Pearl finish.

1956 Chevy Cameo

1956 Cameo

Maintaining the hot rod pickup theme, a 632c.i. Blueprint big block Chevy was fitted with an Edelbrock high-rise intake, 1100cfm Holley Dominator carburetor, and MSD ignition. Mid-length headers lead to a custom stainless steel 3-inch coated exhaust system blowing through SpinTech mufflers, offering acoustics that are music to any hot rodder’s ears. A 700R4 transmission sends power rearward.

Big Block Chevy

Inside, Gabe’s Custom Interiors used red leather on the bench seat, door panels and headliner, with a matching carpet covering the floor. Custom Concepts made the drop-down center console housing power window and Vintage Air controls, plus a Pioneer touch-screen audio system. Dakota Digital gauges are fitted in the dash and an ididit tilt column is topped with a Billet Specialties steering wheel. Machined billet trim pieces accent the dash and door panels to match the trim under the hood.

red leather interior

After more than 20 years, this 1956 Cameo is a big part of Jesse’s life and obviously has strong sentimental value. All too often we hear of projects either being rushed – with unsatisfactory results – or abandoned because they take too long. Thankfully for Jesse, he was able to stay the course and make it to a point where his vision became a reality – and what a reality that turned out to be!

1956 Cameo

Associate Editor

Steven is the youngest member of our team and grandson to the legendary Bob Bunker who piloted the green "Folsom Flash" '55 Chevy. As a dragstrip kid, Steven started his automotive journalism path by photographing drag racing events. Since joining our team, Steven has grown leaps and bound journalistically. He is now artfully crafting stories around the awesome machines at the shows, as well as the men and women behind them. When Steven is not on the road covering events, he spends his downtime on the water fishing, building his '62 Chevy Nova or cruising his 1987 GMC Suburban.

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