To drive or not to drive? That is the question. To be just like everyone else and drive a nice car is a worthy goal. It is certainly a goal that many of us have been striving for since the day we got our drivers license. But then there are the chosen few, those that have the ability, the skill, and just plain ol' determination to do something different just because they can. Since the first mass-produced cars rolled off the assembly line and into the American public eye, there has been a self-appointed group of automotive architects who say "I can make it better." Visions of chopping, channeling, shaving, frenching, pancaking, and metal-flaking are always at the forefront of the redesign process. From wild to mild, who doesn't love to look at a customized car?
Robert Dutton, owner of Bob's Customs and Hot Rods, is just the type of fellow about whom we have been speaking. Like most guys growing up, Bob was addicted to the "little books," as we affectionately call them, and it was the inspiration from the pages of these little books that Bob decided to ply his craft. Cars came and went, and throughout the years Bob honed his skills in the art of chopping, channeling, frenching, shaving, and lowering vehicles. In fact, he became so adept at this art that he opened up his own shop, and today continues to make a living out of those sharpened skills.
So what does a guy like Bob build for his shop truck? You're looking at it. According to Bob, he bought this '64 Elky for $3,500, and it was a hunk of junk. It was in primer, of course, and everything about it was sagging and dragging-not a respectable shop truck for a car customizer to have. Bob and his crew went to town on this El Camino, immediately tore it limb from limb, and massaged it with hammers and hacksaws. The hood was smoothed, the corners were rounded, and the front bumper was narrowed. If that already sounds like a lot of work, even more was done. The door handles and all the emblems were shaved and smoothed over, and the rear bumper was narrowed, as well. The taillights on the El Camino were frenched in, and are flush with the surface of that car. The paint that you see on this Elky is a custom mix. Bob had some extra House Of Kolor paints laying about, so he mixed up a batch and laid it down. He then metal-flaked the roof. What makes the appearance of this El Camino so successful is that the whole look of the car flows. All the work is subtle and adds rather than detracts from the overall visuals. The suspension is mostly stock other than the airbags, which give this car its beautiful pavement-plowing stance.
Inside the engine bay, Bob kept the original 327 and gave it a thorough rebuild. It was bored 0.060 over and still uses the double humpheads with a Crane hydraulic cam, an Edelbrock RPM Performer intake, a Holley 670 carb, a Holley water pump, and kept the stock oil pan. Topping it off are Moroso valve covers, Hooker headers, and a gold-painted block. We asked Bob what kind of paint he used on the block, and he told us it was just regular automotive paint with a shot of clearcoat. The inside of the El Camino now has bucket seats and a custom-built console with VDO gauges, an ididit column, and Lecarra steering wheel. After all is said and done, Bob has informed us that this is the shop truck and the daily-driven parts-chaser.