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Haulin SS

A '70 As Perfect As They Come

Andrew Schear Mar 19, 2004

After a few rings, Jason Cain picked up on the other end. Upon hearing the news that we'd decided to shoot his El Camino for the cover of SUPER CHEVY, we hear only a slight breathing on the other end of the phone. In the next 3 minutes, no words can describe how ecstatic Jason was to hear this news, his adult demeanor that we had previously experienced in telephone conversations instantly regressed to that of a 16-year-old seeing his first Z/28. Hearing the excitement in Jason's voice was not only refreshing but exciting for us as well. After all, that meant a trip to Phoenix, where the sun never sets and musclecars roam the roads 365 days a year.

We rolled into the Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix, Arizona, just early enough to energize ourselves with Jason's pristine hauler. As a professional aircraft mechanic we had the distinct opportunity to photography Jason's '70 in a spotless hangar just beside the taxiway. Upon first glance it was obvious that Jason's mechanical aptitude had served him well during the restoration, as there was not one visible detail not in order. Even the sheetmetal gaps appeared as though they were lined up with a feeler gauge, truly the work of an aircraft mechanic.

Jason's claim to fame began more than 2 years ago as he was perusing the Auto Trader online for a starter car. Lo and behold, he came across what looked like the perfect project, a '70 El Camino SS California car. After having a buddy in the Sacramento, California, area perform a quick once over, Jason decided to make the trip himself. Once the deal was negotiated, Jason hopped into the A-body and began his 18-hour trip back to the desert. Only a few miles into the trip Jason had his first and only bout of excitement during the entire voyage. The beauty ring on one of the rear tires was rubbing the sidewall just enough to cause a terrific blowout. After a tow and two new tires, the trip to Phoenix was smooth as silk.

With intensions of cruising the ElCo a bit before her restoration Jason quickly developed an interest in what was hiding under the sheetmetal. So, with a bit of curiosity leaking from his head he decided to sandblast the body. This was the beginning of the end, or so Jason thought.

After blasting the entire exterior, the restoration was on! The body was separated from the frame and the chassis was blasted and powdercoated. New brake lines, fuel lines and suspension were outfitted to the frame while fresh sheet metal and floor pans were welded in place on the body.

Jason determined that a GM Ram Jet 502 was the perfect power choice for his lil' hauler. Backed behind the big-block was a TH400 outfitted with a stout converter, and a custom made driveshaft. The stock rearend was replaced with a beefy 12-bolt, housing 3.73:1 gears. With the driveline 90-percent completed, the rest of Jason's attention was diverted back to the paint and body. Although the sheetmetal straightening was performed outside of Jason's domain, Beck's Auto Body was up to par with the rest of Jason's plan.

Having had a '70 El Camino as his first car Jason was all too familiar with the reassembly and detail work that would be necessary to complete the A-body. After the freshly polished body was set back onto the chassis, Jason proceeded with his custom interior and finishing touches.

Working two jobs plus a full time restoration was certainly a full plate for Jason, especially with a pregnant wife back at the ranch. According to Jason, the journey meant less time with his family, friends, and wife, but the end result was something everyone could admire and be proud of. With an SS this nice the only bummer is that Jason is slightly afraid to drive his beast every day as he originally planned. Keep your eyes peeled in the pages of SUPER CHEVY for a road test of Jason's lil' 502-powered street machine. While the plans haven't been set in stone, a little bit of "Road Rage" testing may be in Jason's future, at least we hope so!




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