Eye Candy: Dressy ’57 Chevy pickup runs like a clock
As it should — the truck’s owner is the gear-friendly great-great grandson of Arthur Pequegnat, who was one of Ontario’s distinguished makers of timepieces.
The vehicle: 1957 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier (model 3124)
The owner: James (“Jim”) Arthur Pequegnat, Wiarton.
The story: I’ve enjoyed automobiles all my life. Countless hours were spent in the sandbox with my Dinky toys when I grew up in the Kitchener/Waterloo region.
Later I completed an apprenticeship and received an interprovincial auto mechanics license. I moved to Port Elgin and married the love of my life in 1978. Perhaps I have some gears in my genes. I am the great-great-grandson of the late Arthur Pequegnat, founder of the Pequegnat Clock Company, which was in Berlin, Ont. (now Kitchener). In 1981 I got a job with Ontario Hydro and worked at the Bruce site for 28 years; I’m now retired.
This Chevy Cameo Carrier, built in Atlanta Ga., preceded the car-based El Camino, and as you can see was one of the dressier pickup trucks when pickups were not yet very fancy. Mine is number 307 of 2,244 produced in 1957; the base price when new $2,273.
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It was earlier purchased by an enthusiast from Merediths Repair Shop in Worley, Idaho, who in the 1990s restored it to its present state. I bought it in the spring of 2007 in Cle Elum, Wash., and had it shipped to Detroit, and from there I drove it home.
It has the optional 283-cubic-inch, 170 horsepower V8 with a four-speed “on the floor” transmission, and period-look Coker reproduction tires. A cool option is the windscreen visor, like the bill of a ball cap spanning the cab above the windshield. In case it blocks your view upward, a plastic-and-chrome reflector is provided on the dash help you see the traffic lights. The correct fibreglass fenders and tailgate skins were manufactured at Molded Fiber Glass of Ashtabula, Ohio, the same company, just across Lake Erie, that produced Corvette bodies at the time.
In Ottawa, Canada’s Museum of Science and Technology today has several dozen Pequegnat clocks. I am happy to say that I have eight, plus a pickup that runs like a clock. Or at least as well as a 59-year-old truck can without the help of power-assisted steering or power brakes.
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