The History of the Second Generation El Camino (1964-67)
The era of the first generation El Camino ended in 1960 with less than 15,000 orders. Four years later, Chevy introduced the second generation El Camino based on the Chevelle model that lasted only until 1967 and there is little wonder: It was released as a utility sedan with lackluster engine power and occupancy for only two or three (or four if the majority of the occupants were children. Federal safety laws were very different back then).
Standard equipment included air shocks, a 3-speed manual transmission, 4-speed manual transmission, and a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission.
The '64 El Camino models were equipped with several powertrains such as the 194 cubic inch engine rated at 120 horsepower; a 230 cubic inch 6-cylinder engine with 155 horsepower rating; and a V8 283 cubic inch small block with a 2 barrel carb rated at 195 horsepower. The 283 V8 could be upgraded to provide 220 horsepower, a 4 barrel carburetor, and dual exhaust. An optional engine in two versions was also available. The 327 cubic inch small block V8 with either 250 horsepower or 300 horsepower that provided a high compression ratio of 10.5:1.
The '65 El Camino received a body upgrade to match the Chevelle model for that year. The front end was shaped like an arrow, or "V", which gave the Chevelle a sleeker, more aerodynamic look that fed into the muscle car appeal. Still, the equipment lacked as only the '64 engines and transmissions were offered as well as the higher performance 327 engine.
Chevy at last offered a more powerful 396 cubic inch V8 engine (6.5 liter) with a horsepower rating of 325 to 375 for the 1966 El Camino. While this year model received a spanky new instrument panel and standard bench seating, most available equipment remained the same. A custom El Camino however mimicked the Chevy Malibu, offering plush interior upholstery, optional Strato swivel bucket seats and a tachometer.
Then, the 1967 El Camino received a new front grille, front bumper, and trim, a collapsible steering column (very new), and optional disc brakes while the 396 cubic inch engine and 3-speed TurboHydramatic 400 automatic transmission remained available from the 66 year model. Chevy also offered the L34 (350 horsepower) and L78 (375 horsepower) engines while the TurboHydramatic 400 was optional with the 396 engine in both the 396 equipped El Camino and the SS396 series.