1960 Chevy El Camino - Old-School Cool

Willpower Vs. Wallet Size: Let's See Who Won

Mike Harrington Dec 27, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Is it a car, is it a truck? Is it a rocket ship, or an F-86 Sabre jet? Nope, it's a 1960 El Camino. Never has there been a more unusually designed GM vehicle rolling off the line. What were they thinking? What was going through the mind of the GM designers (besides competing with the Ranchero) when they envisioned the El Camino in 1959 and 1960? Whatever it was, we'd like to sprinkle some of it on our Cocoa Puffs in the morning.

It might have been too radical for its time, though. Only about 14,000 of the 1960 El Caminos were ever produced, and then the brand went the way of the dodo for a few years.

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Owner Lloyd Fellows seems to have a soft spot in his heart for the El Camino line, and not just any El Camino either. Previous to this, Lloyd owned a 1983 El Camino, but sold it in search of a vehicle that would turn more heads.

As is typical of most project cars, this '60 Elky was rougher than a slice of organic whole wheat bread. In typical male fashion, Lloyd's eyes glossed over as a vision of the finished El Camino hit him between the eyes. On the home front things were a bit different. In the stereotypical female fashion, his wife was ready to have him committed for bringing home a rust bucket with no glass, rotted floors, a seized engine and no transmission-and who could blame her?

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Maybe being in the doghouse is a great place to be when starting a project car. For Lloyd, many long nights and surrendered hours of sleep were spent bringing the Elky back to life. The greatest challenge in reanimating this vehicle was the massive amount of time spent on the bodywork. Luckily for Lloyd, he happens to be a bodyman by trade. After a full day working on other peoples' cars it's hard to find the motivation and time to work on your own project, but he managed to. It was nearly 18 months later that the El Camino saw the light of day, and this time it was wearing a whole new skin.

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Lloyd left the suspension relatively stock. Of course, he rebuilt the front end and replaced all the worn-out bushings; still using the OE spindles, he opted for a basic disc brake upgrade in the front and bigger 11-inch drums in the back. He did lower the car 2 inches in the front and 3 inches in the back. For the most part, he refurbished the entire underside, sprayed undercoating and kept it the way it was.

The engine and transmission, a 350 / 700R4 combo, came from a 1987 Chevrolet truck. After a new set of lifters, rods and heads, Lloyd swapped in an Edelbrock intake and 600-cfm carb. This El Camino was good to go.

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From there, Lloyd had Rich Hodum shoot the car in Matrix brand Burnt Orange, which blends in perfectly with the red rocks of Nevada. All the original trim and bumpers were re-conditioned and re-chromed by The Shine Shop. One of the custom touches added to the vehicle was the 3/4-inch all-mahogany bed that Lloyd installed.

At the upholstery shop it was all brought back to its former glory, minus the Dakota Digital gauges, which add a 21st century touch to the Elky. When you look at the car you would swear he spent $70,000 on it, but that's just not the case. Lloyd tells us he did lots of barter work to get the El Camino to the state it's in now, proof positive that sheer determination is more important than a thick wallet.

Oh, and his wife Kimberly? She loves the car now.

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