FEATURES – TRADING UP – RJ Miolla – ’55 Chevy Cameo Pickup

| July 16, 2020 More

RJ Miolla found his passion for drag racing after trading an ATV for a basic 11-second Chevelle race car. He didn’t know it at the time, but letting go of the trans brake in that rattling big block Chevelle would change him forever.

From the Chevelle, RJ parlayed a trade into a nasty 1966 pro street Corvette and would then trade it for a 1967 Chevelle with a 555 big block. Now in the mid 9s in the quarter-mile, the 8s were looking interesting and RJ found a 1955 Chevy that would satisfy his urge—for a while anyway—as the trading continued. With a best of 8.87 at 160mph RJ quickly found himself running out of chassis for his need for speed, but that all changed the day he did a quick search on a popular  race car website and found someone looking to trade their pro mod 1955 Chevy Cameo truck with a 6.0 certification for a ’55 Chevy Bel Air. And since RJ had the ’55 Bel Air, with nothing to lose, he offered up a trade, and a roller-for-roller deal was struck.

RJ repowered the beast and ran it in its 90s multi-color paint job glory for a while, but the truck worked hard and was getting tired. It needed a rework mechanically and body-wise. The nose was damaged from being removed so many times as were the doors and other panels. After the truck bested a 7.43 with a cast intake and simple plate nitrous system, it was time for a makeover. RJ enlisted his good friend and fellow racer George Rubistello of George’s Restorations to rework the truck’s body—not an easy task considering every panel on the truck was  custom. RJ mostly wanted easier access to the motor, so George whipped out the sawzall and wasted no time making the hood removable. He also wanted to give the lifeless truck some soul with a chrome Corvette grill and real headlights and bezels. While this added some weight, a pair of carbon fiber doors that were acquired by the original owner offset the gain. Every nut, bolt, and fastener was removed from the truck in order to properly restore it and bring it back better, stronger, and faster than before. When it came time to decide on paint, Miolla opted to keep it classic and simple. A graphic designer by trade, RJ auditioned different paint schemes on the computer and posted them on his Facebook site for comment. The vivid black was a unanimous hit.

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