History Of The El Camino

classic el camino

Chevy introduced the El Camino in Decebmer 1959, two years after the very popular Ford Ranchero hit the streets. El Camino, its chassis based on the ’59 Brookwood station wagon, its exterior similar to the Bel Air with a Biscayne interior, outsold the Ranchero that year by half. Equipped with full size Chevy drive train, a 119” body, and a payload rating or 650 to 1150 pounds, it was promoted as the first Chevy truck with a stainless steel floor. Engines available for this model were the 283 CID Turbo Jet V8 available with either a 2- or 4-barrel carburetor; the Turbo Thrust 348 CID V8 available with either 4-barrel or triple 2-barrel carbs; the 250 and 209 bhp 283 cube Ramjet Fuel Injection V8. When sales for El Camino severely declined in 1960, Chevy ceased production. Reintroduced in 1964, El Camino’s body was restyled to imitate the Chevelle but the more powerful engines were not offered until 1965. Manual transmissions were standard but by 1967, disc brakes, Turbo Hydramatic 410 3-speed transmission and three engines were optional equipment: the L35 (396/325 hp) and the L34 (350 hp), and the L78 (375 hp). One could also opt for the SS396 body style. El Camino entered the 70’s with a longer length, Malibu interior and exterior trims, bucket seat and center console option to the standard bench seat as well as power front disc brakes, Positraction, and automatic transmission. The SS396 body was still a viable option with the choice of the 325 bhp, 350 bhp, and the L78 375 bhp engines. Legislation in this decade, most like precipitated by the Arab oil embargo and resulting fuel shortage in the early years, mandated low octane unleaded fuels with resulted in reduced engine compression. Although engine sizes were no smaller, power and performance decreased. The El Camino was produced up through 1988 although Chevy moved production to Mexico in 1985. Body style was consistently based on the Chevelle which transformed into the smaller, more fuel-efficient Malibu in 1978. Chevy offered a diesel engine option to gasoline engines for the El Camino which was not only expensive but an abysmal repair nightmare. The 229 cubic inch 3.8 litre V6 engine with 110 horsepower was the standard gasoline engine. If you’re restoring an El Camino, remember that Classic Muscle has the Chevrolet El Camino parts, accessories, engines, components, and emblems needed to keep your project moving forward.