Express coupe, open station wagon, or sedan pickup? No, this is a stunning Chevrolet El Camino! This original model became an intermediate link between a pickup truck and a sports coupe, and the name was given accordingly – “the way” if translated from Spanish.
Source: Mecum Auctions
A very specific and, without a doubt, an iconic car that combined the features of a coupe, SUV, and pickup truck, first appeared in 1959 and was produced for only a year. Four years later, the car was reborn, already on the new Chevelle platform. Later the model again changed platform to GM’s G-platform. It was positioned as a practical car, and therefore the most powerful engines of the Chevelle model, consuming more than 30 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, were not installed on the model.
The idea of a universal vehicle that could go to church on Sundays and take pigs to the farm on weekdays dates back to the 1930s, when the modest Australian farmer’s wife wrote a letter to Ford Australia. Ford designer Lew Bandt developed the first suitable solution back in 1934 – the Ford Coupe utilities 302. It was a passenger car with a pickup body, but something happened and the model never got into mass production.
A similar car appeared in Australia – the Studebaker Coupe Express, which was produced from 1937-1939, but for the American market, such a body became a reality only with the release of the Ford Ranchero in 1957, which immediately won the hearts of the older generation, and especially farmers, paving a new segment of the US market in the subcompact pickup class. GM released the El Camino in 1959 as a rival to the Ranchero. Being relatively small, it was reliable and inexpensive to maintain. In addition, the model replaced two vehicles for farmers at once – a car and a truck. The 1960 model sold poorly (14,163 cars compared to the 1959 release which sold 22,246 units). Based on these results, GM decided to stop producing this model. Thus, the first generation Chevrolet El Camino has only 36,409 vehicles. However, four years later, in 1964, production resumed.
Source: The Branson Auction
The 1971 El Camino received a fresh front design (again, similar to the Chevelle) that included large single Power-Beam headlights, a redesigned grille, and integrated parking. There were also new chrome bumpers, and position lights were located at the edges of the headlights, along with turn signals. Ride and handling were uncommonly controlled. This issued from an extremely wide stance that straddled nearly five feet of pavement. Then, too, there was Full Coil suspension with beefy strings that were computer selected for vehicle and equipment weight. 1971 model retained its usually fine handling characteristics even when fully loaded since rear shock absorbers were air booster type (up to 500 lbs additional capacity). The Body by Fisher was bolter to a rugged separate perimeter frame through an advanced body mounting system.
Due to government directives to use lower octane fuel and the start of an air pollution campaign, the 1971 model year, along with other models in the Chevrolet range, received lower specifications. In 1971 El Camino went through a reduction in engine compression ratio, and the GM A.I.R. system, a “smog pump”, was added to control exhaust emissions. Engine power, like compression, was also reduced. The line of engines included a six-cylinder unit with a volume of 4097 m3. Small-block V8 (5030 and 5735 ccs), and Big-block V8 (6588 and 7440 ccs). The power of the motors ranged from 147 hp for the “six” up to 370 hp for V8. Engine offerings for 1971 included the 250-6, 307, and 350 cu in small-block V8s, and big-block V8s of 402 and 454 cu in. In 1971, the most powerful engine LS6 454 (7.4 l) was discontinued.
The 1971 El Camino was featured in the AMC series “Breaking Bad” (2008-2013). In 2019, the continuation of this legendary series, called El Camino was also released, in honor of the main character’s Jesse Pinkman car.
For buying this specific model or other classic cars, please visit our inventory.