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Old 04-10-2019, 10:02 PM   #1
case.unfried
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Question 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

I have a 1955 Cameo that i inherited after my grandfather passed away that i just recently started working on. The problem I've run into at the moment is that i don't know what chassis he put it on. I do know it's an 80's caprice, but hammering down the year has become the challenge. Is there anyway to identify the year based off the frame? Also, the engine isn't original to the chassis either. I'm having issues upgrading because i don't know what year to order parts for. If anyone has any input, i'd greatly appreciate it!
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:09 PM   #2
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

What about leaving the original chassis? Just up grade the front you want and leave the rest. Honestly this whole "frame swap" stuff is out of hand, people THINK it needs to be done and it doesn't.

What are your expectations of it? Are you doing to be driving it a lot? Are you going to be towing a boat? Lots of mountain driving?

What are your expectations?

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Old 04-10-2019, 10:20 PM   #3
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

So my grandfather did the swap, and the original frame is long gone. I'd love to have it all original, but that ship has sailed. Its been 20+ years since he did this, so at this point all i can do is move forward with what i have. From what I've been able to put together, is it has a 350, 5.7l engine, th350 tranny. the engine only has 10k miles on it since rebuild (if the odometer was reset when he built it). Its currently my daily driver, and it runs like a champ. Not sure where i want to go with it at this point, but its been sitting a while and some maintenance needs to be addressed.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:20 PM   #4
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

welcome...sounds as if the frame swap is a done deal...post up some pics of what you have and somebody might be able to identify it for you
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:28 PM   #5
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

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Originally Posted by case.unfried View Post
So my grandfather did the swap, and the original frame is long gone. I'd love to have it all original, but that ship has sailed. Its been 20+ years since he did this, so at this point all i can do is move forward with what i have. From what I've been able to put together, is it has a 350, 5.7l engine, th350 tranny. the engine only has 10k miles on it since rebuild (if the odometer was reset when he built it). Its currently my daily driver, and it runs like a champ. Not sure where i want to go with it at this point, but its been sitting a while and some maintenance needs to be addressed.
Sorry, I get a little worked up when I see "frame swap."

Brian
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:38 PM   #6
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

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Sorry, I get a little worked up when I see "frame swap."

Brian
yeah, no worries. Like i said, id love for this thing to be all original, but its not. from what i can tell, he had to cut up the body significantly to fit it on this frame, so even if i could find an 55 chassis, it probably would be worth it. looks like he also had to raise the truck bed about 3 inches to fit the gas tank
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:55 PM   #7
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Also, can anyone explain the 55.1 vs 55.2?
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:11 PM   #8
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

1955 is a split body style year...the 55.1 is a advanced design body...a 55.2 is a task force body
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Old 04-10-2019, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

it has small chevy pattern s10 wheels on it so that means its probably a 80-90 caprice frame with non-hd brakes. the hd brakes and later models were 5 on 5.

there shouldnt be much difference in the frame for those years, the brakes either, about the only thing I can think to id the actual year is the front disc brake hoses. take a picture of your hoses then go to an auto parts store and ask for 1981 hoses, and compare them, then 85, then 89. GM had a habit of changing the way the hoses were attached to the frame, early cars used a screw thread, mid gen cars used a simple clip, and later years used a 6 pointed hole and clip.

once you know the appx year range you should be able to order parts. it occurs to me that caprice used a couple different rearends too, so if you can get the ratio by spinning the wheel and counting the driveshaft turns, you will be able to tell if its an early (non od, really "tall" low number ratio) car or late (od, less rear gear higher number ratio).

also check the shock mounts, older cars used SAE hardware with nuts, and newer cars used metric hardware with j clips.


just a couple ideas to try, I bet it rides and drives 1000X better with the IFS and car springs under it. Looks like a super nice truck, makes me want one!
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:29 AM   #10
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

-frame swap-it's been 20 some years since he did it and it is still sitting on the frame and looks great (not my color option but still looks great). as long as it drives properly and the tires don't rub etc, don't sweat the frame swap is what I'm saying.
-upgrades-what are you planning to do that you need to know exactly what you have under the hood? you say it has a 350/350 combo, correct? as far as tune up stuff, swap parts for parts. spark plugs, fuel filters etc will have numbers on them or will be shaped a certain way to id them so that's easy. if it is HEI for ign then the upgrades are easily sourced, coil, wires, etc, at any parts place or speed shop. if it is intake or headers you're looking for etc then that is also easily figured out. if it is carbed, same same. the more intricate things like valve train or cam upgrades would need the engine to be partially taken apart to figure out, at least the valve covers would need to come off to check lift etc. post a few pics of the underhood area with some shots of the front ends of the cyl heads, distributor, carb or fuel inj set up, etc. maybe we can help there. are you able to find any invoice history on what he may have done to the engine? was it a crate motor or did he or a builder do the work possibly?
-underside upgrades. like joedoh says, take a wheel off, snap some good pics of stuff and check out the caprice parts at the store for different years, compare. as before, take some pics of what your (truck) underside looks like and maybe we can help. caprice had a different frame than an s10 or some other popular swaps so it may stick out like a sore thunmb if we can just see what you have (truck, again). here is a link for a forum that has a pic of a perimeter frame from a gm car, it would look something like this if it were a caprice chassis but a good underside pic may show something that guys on here will be able to ID as being used on a particular model.

http://www.city-data.com/forum/autom...ehemoth-7.html

-by the look of the pics your gramps had a pretty good handle on what he was doing. he probably has a few goodies under the hood as well, who know. some guys will simply run a stock 350 because they aren't going out to smoke the tires off and these are pretty "light in the rear" trucks so a stock 350 would have lots of power for simply cruising around town. if he was a bit of a speed fiend then maybe there is a mild cam or something else going on. one quick give away on the engine would be if the spark plugs have a gasket or a tapered seat where they tighten down on the cyl head, so a 5/8 socket or a 13/16th socket is the tell there. the cyl heads may or may not have bolt holes in the front ends which would give away the era. some accy may mount differently if he used a stock engine from a certain era, you get the idea now of why a pic can tell a lot of things? there is nothing wrong with a stock 350, even for a little awhile till you drive it some and get the bugs worked out like YOU want.
if it's been sitting around for 20 yrs you should check the tires for cracking etc and plan on some replacements. that is the reason for the question about gear ratios and tire sizes below. if you have an odd setup it could mean high rpm on the highway if long road trips is a plan for you. if town driving is what you're after then short tires and high ratio may be what you want for a quick launch. turbo 350 has no overdrive is what I am talking about here.
-let us know what diff ratio and tire size (diameter) you have. check how many bolts are on the diff cover as that is a partial indicator. if it is a 10 bolt here is a link to help figure it out possibly. again, a pic of the underside would really help. some housings have nubs cast in for suspension points etc so that can help narrow it down some. GM made a few cars the same and just basically changed the badges but used the same stuff for suspension parts. they also went through some "eras" of how they did stuff, metric vs sae etc. pics would help. sae hardware would have little lines on the bolt heads of the bolts to id the strength of the bolt, higher number=stronger/harder bolt and metric would have numbers wirth a higher number being more like an sae bolt with more lines, like 5.8, 8.8, 9.8 etc

rear axle info and ID methods
https://www.onedirt.com/tech/drivetrain/10-bolt-chevy/

https://www.chevydiy.com/history-and...differentials/

https://www.randysworldwide.com/diff...tification-gm/

auto trans ID by oil pan shape
https://buickturboregal.com/gm-trans...dentification/

tire size comparison and other gear ratio/rpm info
https://tiresize.com/comparison/

https://www.randysworldwide.com/calculators/


anyway, end of rant. but some pics and an idea of your end goal would help us help you get what you want. some interior pics would also be great. don't worry about if it isn't detailed up, we are used to some pretty dusty stuff here with barn finds and rust etc.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:06 PM   #11
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Frames are stamped with a VIN that should also provide you information to identify what you have.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:17 PM   #12
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

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Frames are stamped with a VIN that should also provide you information to identify what you have.
LOLOLOL, Duh, that's a damn good point!

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Old 04-11-2019, 09:56 PM   #13
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

The Caprice/Impala frame from 77/90 could be had with either 5 on 4-3/4 or 5 on 5 bolt patterns . The ones with HD brakes had the 5 on 5 as Joedoh said.

Not the worse with a 116 inch wheel base but as Case.unfried already knows they call for some serious front end sheet metal trimming/butchering.

The brakes are pretty simple because there is quite a difference in the size of the rotors and drums. On the suspension pieces there may be a difference in size on a couple of the bushings that you have to do your homework on but not a lot.

Set up right that rig should drive pretty nice.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:43 PM   #14
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Appreciate all the replies, all good info. I tried to upload some more photos, but it won't let me, something about a security token. Anyway, give me some time and ill try to individually respond to some of the replies. thanks again guys!
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:46 PM   #15
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Ok, figured it out...here are some random photos, fire away!
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:55 PM   #16
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Try this..
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:18 PM   #17
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

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Originally Posted by mongocanfly View Post
Try this..
Not sure how you did that, but thanks!
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:41 PM   #18
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

looks like an early car, based on the non smog injection exhaust manifolds, I think that was 82 when they changed. I would bet the engine is the caprice engine (and probably a 305) with the original TH350 too.

it has the optional sport suspension, based on the rear sway bar. I would bet it rides and drives really REALLY well, that was a great suspension option on those cars. cop cars got heavy duty suspension (and bigger brakes) but the sport suspension was better.

you could find the VIN on the frame, but its on top of the framerails under the bed floor. could be either side, but usually passenger side. use a mirror if there is room.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:10 PM   #19
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

The suffix on the engine serial number stamped in the pad on the block in front of the passenger side head will give a decent clue as to what the engine is. It might be hard to see down behind the alternator though. The casting number on the block back drivers side Will let you (us) figure out what size the the block was cast to be.
Or it can tell you what it's not.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:12 PM   #20
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

I should have said that if you can't see that casting number you can cheat and aim a small camera or phone down at it to get a shot of the number.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:33 PM   #21
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

without knowing anything about the engine I would have to assume it is stock because the first thong guys do is throw some headers at them ti get a kittle better performance. there is an aftermarket carb though so who know. the old rochester may have been worn out and the edelbrock is a easy affordable swap.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:41 PM   #22
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

not too sure what distributor it has because the air filter is so tall it doesn't show in the pics. if you are trying to get a few more horses or get it running better a distributor recurve would be a good place to start. I recommend some seafoam motor treatment IN THE GAS TANK ONLY-NOT IN THE ENGINE OIL to clean the fuel system some before doing anything. run it hard for a bit with the treatment in it, then after that gas tank has run through do the tune up, plugs, dist cap and rotor, pcv valve, plug wires, fuel filter dist recurve, valve adjustment, throttle cable adjustment, trans modulator valve adjustment, change all the fluids, dump the fuel tank, not necessarily in that order.
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:12 PM   #23
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

Quote:
Originally Posted by joedoh View Post
take a picture of your hoses then go to an auto parts store and ask for 1981 hoses,
with ac? v6 or v8? power windows? deluxe trim? power ashtray?






*just trying to think of the questions they'll ask at auto zone
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:16 PM   #24
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

nice truck btw, give a shout out to gramps, wherever he is
99% of us here would love to have a cameo truck
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:28 PM   #25
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Re: 1955 Chevy Cameo Chassis Swap

found this!

so looked up this number in google and looks like what i thought was a 350 5.7l is actually a 305 5.0l. disappointed to say the least, but know i know. so i guess now i gotta figure out what tranny i have. I think my assumption of the th350 is correct still, but who knows.
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