Following Ford into a hot market …
Ford has caught Chevy napping more than once in automotive history. Every car person knows about the Mustang, but did you know about the El Camino, the subject of this week’s car spot.
It was legendary designer Harley J. Earl, who had suggested Chevy make a coupé pick-up in 1952, but Ford beat them to it with its Ranchero. Chevy introduced the El Camino in 1959 and it was based on the 119-inch wheelbase two-door Chevrolet Brookwood station wagon.
Chevy knew it had to play catchup to Ford and went in a different direction when it came to styling making it look like Chevrolet’s high-end Bel Air on the outside with two-tone paint, and a Chevrolet Biscayne interior. It was an immediate hit outselling its Ford counterpart in the first year. Its starting price was $2,500.
After just two years Chevy took a break from production because sales had dipped and it was retooling the El Camino to fit the Chevrolet Chevelle platform. Chevrolet came back with another hit and won the overall battle with Ford for five additional generations being made from 1964.
El Caminos from 1968 to 1973 are considered the best-looking models and are cult classics among many car enthusiasts. The El Camino’s production had to be shifted to Mexico in 1985 due to low sales, and Chevrolet wanting to reduce production costs. Chevy pulled the plug in 1987 when pickups, like its S-10, became more popular. Chevy actually toyed with the idea of bringing it back in 1995 with a concept El Camino built on the full-size Caprice station wagon platform but plans to produce it got scrapped. Bet that would have looked cool.
What caught my eye on this ’67 was the badging on the front saying it had a 396 V8. I’m thinking this is an SS and the markings weren’t put back on the car after its restoration. But although the 396 engine was available to buy, there was no official 1967 El Camino Super Sport option or badging. A true El Camino SS didn’t appear until 1968.
So, what’s it worth? Values range from around $15,000 to $40,000, averaging at about $25,000. But if it’s an SS model, or one really close like this one, prices can shoot up to well above $50,000.
There’s also a story about where I found this spot. It was spied a couple months ago at a really cool service station on Pine Island, Fla., which was hit by hurricane Ian just recently. I’ve found some other spots there as well, a Dodge Magnum and Cadillac Allante. Like others in that area, his shop was hit and is in the long process of rebuilding. This car had Massachusetts plates, so I hope it made it back home before Ian hit.
Thanks for stopping by. Check back next Friday when I’ll have another car spot along with some of its history. Have a great weekend.