The vehicle was purchased new by Ray Lambrecht for Lambrecht Chevrolet Company. It has 1.3 miles and has NEVER been sold to the public. It is on original invoice. The truck is turquoise in color with a black roof. The body is in excellent condition. The roof has damage from a building roof collapse due to snow. The damage is to exterior skin and not to the interior. The windshield is cracked from the hit.  

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1958 Chevrolet Apache 31 Cameo
Years Produced:1955–58
Number Produced:1,405 (1958)
Original List Price:$2,231
SCM Valuation:$25,000–$55,000
Tune Up Cost:$200
Distributor Caps:$10
Chassis Number Location:Spot-welded plate on the driver’s side door frame
Engine Number Location:Passenger’s side of block, near the distributor
Club Info:Classic Chevy Cameo
Alternatives:1955 Chevrolet Cameo, 1957 GMC Suburban Carrier, 1958 Dodge D-100 Sweptside pickup
Investment Grade:C

This truck, Lot 11L, sold for $147,000, including buyer’s premium, at the VanDerBrink Auctions sale of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Collection in Pierce, NE, on September 28, 2013.

Style and functionality

The Cameo was on its final half year of production in 1958. While it was hardly a rip-roaring success, it did open the door to the industry as the first pickup with fully integrated styling.

Up until the introduction of the Cameo with the all-new Task Force Chevrolets and GMCs in mid-1955, truck rear-fender styling was all about functionality. However, the Cameo was more cosmetic than functional, as the package was nothing more than large fiberglass fenders added to a regular old-style narrow short box. The all-new 1957 Ford F-series made full-width styled beds commonplace — and standard equipment — but it was the presence and sales of the Cameo that cemented Ford into committing to the new design.

Knowing they had just been trumped in their own game, GM’s designers and engineers endeavored to come up with their own Fleetside pickup box. They were not quite ready when the restyled quad-headlight 1958s were introduced in the fall of 1957, so the Cameo soldiered on for another half year. As such, only 1,405 were built in the Cameo’s abbreviated final year.

Who saved new trucks in 1958?

This truck was ordered new by Ray Lambrecht Chevrolet, built at the Kansas City assembly plant, shipped to the dealership, and never sold. It retains its original body ticket, confirming that it was always a Lambrecht truck, equipped with a deluxe heater as its only option.

It wasn’t disclosed if Ray had always intended to keep it or if it just happened to end up unsold. A theory that I have on why it initially may not have sold is that the dashboard had the worst paint job I’d ever seen on a new vehicle. It had runs, sags, and patches of dull finish from spraying it too close and too thick. It would not surprise me if that’s what turned off potential buyers in 1958.

Couple that with the new and less costly Fleetsides arriving shortly afterward, and it was pretty easy to see why this truck was yesterday’s news and still at the dealership at the end of the model year.

This was also the first new Chevy that Ray decided to keep rather than blow out at the end of the year. After the Cameo, he saved several 1959 cars and a 1¼-ton cab and chassis truck, then a few cars from most years — ranging from no 1961s to eight pickups and two cars from 1964. The last old new car was a 1990 Lumina APV.

Collection or tax-man inventory?

Several of the locals I talked to during the weekend of the auction theorized that these cars continued to be carried as inventory, hence an expense for Ray’s business, becoming a loss over a few years. Considering that every single person I talked to who lived in the area was of the opinion that the only thing that really mattered to Ray was money, this is very plausible. The family representative neglected to comment on exactly why he saved them, so we’re forced to speculate.

He certainly wasn’t overly concerned about this truck’s preservation. It was among a number of unsold new vehicles that were stored in a nearby building that had its roof cave in one winter approximately 35 years ago. This is why the truck had a dent in the roof and a cracked windshield — it was so untouched that shards of glass were still on the top of the dashboard at auction time.

No attempt was made in recent years to start it — let alone get it running — although Ray cared enough about it to move it into a service bay of his dealership building. Yet beneath the dust, dent, dead bat in the bed, and general state of decline, it is still the ultimate template to restore a 1958 Cameo to factory stock.

Aqua albatross

While a lot of folks fantasize about having a “new” old car, reality can be far more brutal. The double-edged sword of owning one of these is that unless you like to — and have the means to — trailer the vehicle to and from shows and never drive it, you will lose money on it.

The moment something like this turns a wheel on a public road, it is no longer a new old car or truck, and it is worth less. Instead of being NOS, it becomes a low-mileage used car. If you can afford and support such a vehicle, and enjoy the fact that every person who wants to restore one will come calling to you as a template to restore theirs, go for it. If you want to drive it, shop elsewhere.

The new buyer from New Hampshire said he plans to keep the truck exactly as it is and create a “found in the dealership” display at a museum.

A choice of one

From the moment that I first heard about the auction, I knew that this Cameo was going to be the top sale.

Why? While there are the occasional new Chevy cars from the 1950s and 1960s floating around in the market from dealers who squirreled one away — not 62 like Ray did — no other new old Cameos are known to exist. Couple this with the increasing interest in vintage pickups and the story of this auction going viral and subsequently becoming a TV marketing fairy tale, and this truck ending up at the top of the heap was a no-brainer.

It also didn’t surprise me that it sold for what it did. It is truly unique, so disregard your price guides — before, during, and after its sale.

Before I left for Lambrecht, I told various non-car people what I felt was going to be the top sale and what it would bring. At that time, I unilaterally told them that it was going to be the Cameo for “somewhere north of 100 grand,” with several betting me lunch that I was nuts. Well, I haven’t had to buy lunch for quite some time now.

Not a market mover

Now that it sold and everyone’s heard about it (to include a multitude of inaccurate selling prices), the wannabes are jumping out of the woodwork, with all consignors seeming to think that a one-off sale is now the new market.

A similar truck was offered on the same weekend at Barrett-Jackson’s event in Las Vegas, selling for $37,950. Two weeks later, another was offered at the Branson auction, selling for $45,000. That truck was actually built 502 units after Lambrecht’s — with the consignor going so far as to proclaim that his was a better truck, since the Lambrecht truck “needed to be restored.” Never mind that I could’ve filled this column entirely with ways that truck was inaccurate. I also imagine that every ’58 Cameo that may possibly come onto the market within the next five years is now in a body shop getting repainted in aqua and black.

However, try as they might, those trucks still aren’t going to be all-original with 1.3 miles, albeit lightly damaged from less-than-careful storage. And that’s really the point here: We’ll likely never see something like this offered for sale ever again, and with that in mind, this sale price wasn’t out of line.

(Introductory descriptions courtesy of VanDerBrink Auctions.

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