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Photos courtesy of the General Motors Archives and The Old Car Manual Project.
The latter part of the Eighties witnessed the great leap sideways from the Big Three making rear-wheel-drive passenger cars into the vast yet shallow sea of front-wheel-drive badge-engineered ennui. While progress is inevitable in passenger automobiles, one of the rear-wheel-drive cars that met its end in 1987 was also a truck. Both the El Camino and its GMC compadre, the Caballero, were in their final year of production.
Engine choices in 1987 for Chevrolet and GMC were a 145hp V-6 or a 150hp V-8. On the sporting end of the scale, the El Camino SS package was similar in style to the Monte Carlo SS, yet did not share its high-output engine. Caballeros may not have sold in the numbers of the El Camino, but as the above photo suggests, the Caballero could get you up on top of Los Angeles for scenic social activities – as long as you donned a white scarf. Looks like a sporty car. Feels like a sporty car. That’s Caballero. Incredibly, it’s also a truck.
Member's, if your have any pictures of your favorite El`Camino ? Please post & share & tell us why you like them or don't...
I hope Chevy brings them back along with the Chevy Monte Carlo's...
My Favorite Belowwith a "454 c.i." 4 Speed & 4:11 Posi </CENTER>
<TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=5><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=3>1970 Chevrolet El Camino news, pictures, and information
</TD></TR><TR><TD></TD><TD></TD><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>The El Camino 'passenger-car pickup' first appeared in 1959 and was, along wîth the '60 edition, based on the full-size Chevy. Following a three-year hiatus, the El Camino returned for 1964, as a derivative of the new intermediate-sized 1964 Chevelle. The restyled '68 El Camino was as sleek as any vehicle wîth a pickup bed could be. That same year, the El Camino was finally available wîth Super Sport equipment, and buyers could fully partake of the additional muscle-car options offered for the Chevelle SS. The 1970 El Camino SS, stuffed wîth 396- or 454-cid Chevy big-block power, is the ultimate El Camino of the muscle car era. Source - Chevrolet
<!--halfWideBoxBottomLines-->The Chevrolet El Camino was produced from 1959 through 1960 and again from 1964 through 1987. The vehicle could be classified as a small car but with a pick-up truck bed. The name, El Camino, means 'The Road' in Spanish. Two years after Ford introduced their Ranchero, Chevrolet introduced the El Camino. The styling, both interior and exterior, and its platform were courtesy of the Impala. During its introductory year, 22,246 examples were produced. A year later sales slumped to 14,163 and Chevrolet made the decision to cancel production. The first generation did not achieve the success that the Ford Ranchero had accomplished. This had been unfortunate, especially since the El Camino had undergone extensive styling updates during its second year.
The Ranchero continued to sell well during the early 1960's so Chevrolet decided to reintroduce the El Camino in 1964. This time is shared the Chevelle platform and styling. Two engines were offered, a 283 and a 327 cubic-inch V8. Horsepower ranged from just under 200 to 250. Performance was given a high priority in 1965 with the introduction of the L79 327 cubic-inch V8 to the El Camino. The small block engine was capable of producing an astonishing 350 horsepower. The performance trend continued into 1966 when Chevrolet offered a 396 big-block cubic-inch engine on the El Camino. The horsepower rating skyrocketed to around 350 and gave the vehicle a mid 14 second quarter-mile time. To keep the vehicle stable at speeds, Chevrolet offered high performance shocks and springs as standard equipment. Also standard was the Synchro-Mesh three-speed gearbox with the four-speed or two-speed Powerglide automatic available as optional equipment. Just over 35,000 examples were produced during the 1966 model year.
1967 was the final year for the second generation El Camino. Little was done, or needed, to improve upon the aesthetics of the vehicle. The updates mimicked the changes that occurred on the Chevelle. A new grille and bumper adorned the front of the vehicle. A vinyl roof could be ordered as optional equipment. A performance suspension was standard equipment for all El Camino's equipped with the powerful 396 cubic-inch engine. All other El Camino's were given air-adjustable shock absorbers. This allowed the adjustment of the suspension depending on the cargo load.
The third generation of the El Camino, lasting from 1968 through 1972, brought about many mechanical and styling changes. The El Camino now rode upon a 4-door station-wagon Chevelle wheelbase. The hood was stretched and could accommodate larger engines, such as the newly introduced Super Sport SS396. Horsepower ranged from 325 through 375. The SS versions were given six-inch wheels. Of the nearly 42000 El Camino's sold during 1968, 5190 were equipped with the SS396 option.
1969 was similar to the prior model year; little was changed. A new grille and front bumper were placed on the front. Sales continued to be strong with over 48,300 examples being produced.
For 1970, the Chevelle was updated and the El Camino mimicked the changes. The 396 cubic-inch engine was enlarged to 402, although the emblems continued to read 396. New engine options became available. The LS5 454 cubic-inch V8 produced 360 horsepower while the LS6 454 cubic-inch V8 produced 450 horsepower. When equipped with the LS6, the quarter-mile took only 13.4 seconds. A close-ratio four speed manual or a Turbo-Hydromatic were the only available engines offered with the powerful 454.
Due to increase government safety and emissions regulations, the muscle-car era was coming to an end. This meant that the engines were detuned and horsepower began to decline. Horsepower ranged from 245 from the 350 cubic-inch engine to 365 from the LS5 454 cubic-inch. Visual changes included the grille coming to a point while single headlight replaced the double design. GMC rebadged the El Camino and sold the vehicle as a GMC Sprint.
1972 continued the decline of engineperformance. Horsepower ranged from 165 through 270. There were very few aesthetic changes, the most visible being the removal of the Chevrolet bowtie from the grill and new turn signals. This was also the final year for the third generation El Camino with 1973 began the fourth generation. The El Camino was restyled, again following the changes done to the Chevelle. The styling updates continued mostly unchanged until 1978.
The fifth generation of the El Camino began in 1978 and continued through 1987. The El Camino shrunk in size and given a modern, updated styling. The Chevelle had since been discontinued, so the El Camino now shared its platform and design with the Monte Carlo and Malibu. With the smaller body and engine bay, the 4.3 liter V-6 engine did not look out of place. If more horsepower was required, a 5.7 liter small-block eight-cylinder engine was available.
In 1984 production of the El Camino was moved to Mexico where it continued until 1987. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2006
Hi `Rick, it is to me also...I really like them a lot..I wish I could have got away from work to drive the one I seen this morning, but could not ...It had a 396 & auto...It was Street/Show, but beautiful & it had a mild cam & super sounds..
Wish you would create a post on your Chevelle with updated pic's & share with your Monte Family
Thanks for your post..
If I had to pin it down to a single year I'd say the '59, but I also like the '64 through '72 (with the exception of the '67). I almost bought a '59 Camino, but bought a '59 Impala instead. The deciding factor? It was next to impossible to get the Camino to hook up. I really like the body lines, fins and tear drop tail lights of the '59. With the advancement in suspension components and technique it's a lot easier to get one to hook now then it was back in the 70s, but it can still be a real challenge.
Hi `Mike & thanks for your post & sharing..
Didn't they use traction bars & light shocks up front to get a weight transfer to the rear for better traction ? One of our senior friends use to have one & raced it & I think that's what he told me..
I like them because they are great 4 surf boards etc..
I hope the Aussie bring the Holden Camino over here for us to enjoy...I've seen a few Camino's running around Floirda, but not to many...
Traction bars would help in preventing the rear end from wrapping up, but wheel spin was still a big problem. If you feathered the throttle coming out of the hole you had to play catch up and if you came out of the hole hot-n-heavy the tires would go up in smoke. Either way the guy in the other lane would be putting distance on you. The light duty shocks (and taller springs) would help get the front end up for weight transfer, but handling on the street suffered. Another trick some people used was a front suspension that allowed the vehicle to lift an additional 2" under hard acceleration from a standing start, but it also made handling on the street outright dangerous.
From what I've read it's just a matter of time until the Ute comes to the U.S.. Hopefully the idea doesn't get shelved.
Thanks again `Mike for sharing your knowledge & experiences. I keep learning on the MCF & life 4-Sure
I'd have a Big Set of Slicks in the bed of the truck & high tire pressure in the front tires & low pressure in the slicks & heat them `up b-4 I went to the line...
I've never raced my Monte's @ the track, but I ran the heck outa my 95 Turbo Vtec Honda Del Sol It was super fun, but it got me in lots of trouble on the streets...I had to learn the hard, expensive $ way ...4-Sure I was a stupid kid that did stupid things...Now, I'm a stupid adult & still do some stupid things on my skateboard LOL
Thanks again Mike for all your contributions & keeping our forum active...Peace/Out from `Space
p.s. Thanks `Lou, for your post & additional pic's...Maybe you can get a 64 in your future ? There's still some nice ones out there...