The El Camino was like a fine wine, better with age


The Chevrolet El Camino may seem like an oddball today, but it was all the rage during its heyday. Although the El Camino was conceived to emulate the Ford Ranchero, the Chevy captured the limelight.

So, let's take a look back on the model's history with Donut Media.

The Ranchero came to market in 1957 and Chevrolet quickly responded with its El Camino in 1959. However, sales tanked shortly after the first model year and the truck was quickly discontinued. Chevrolet gave the segment one more go, and this time, the El Camino shared its underpinnings with the Chevelle. That's good because the Chevelle quickly became Chevy's entrant into the muscle car segment with the Super Sport (SS), which really began to heat up in the mid-1960s.

And the Chevelle's goodies made their way to the El Camino, too.

The El Camino had a banner year in 1968 when Chevy stuffed its 396-cubic-inch V-8 under its hood—enough for 375 horsepower. Two years later, before anyone could conceive of an oil embargo, Chevy stuffed a 454 big-block V-8 rated at 450 hp and 500 pound-feet of torque under the El Camino SS' long hood. Yee haw! 

All good things must come to an end, as they say.

The 1970s saw the fuel crisis tame those V-8s, but Chevrolet still sold a record number of El Caminos 1973. The SS was long gone, but the regular truck gained more equipment in bid to woo personal luxury coupe buyers looking for some utility.

By 1987, sales slumped and Chevrolet pulled the truck from the U.S. market. To this day, however, the El Camino reminds us there's nothing wrong with a little business up front, and party in the back.

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