By on January 2, 2010

el camino and more goodies in the garage

I have a growing cache of Eugene El Caminos, and was going to break them out soon enough. But taking a stroll around San Mateo, I ran into three ’67s within a few blocks of each other, so let’s caminar down that long and fertile el camino of Chevy’s popular ute pickup, with this particularly popular year. And what’s that lurking in the garage? Let’s take a closer look:

is that a '39 Chevy and '56 Nomad in there?

Yes, this Chevy lover has a ’39 in progress, and a pristine ’56 Nomad in there, along with a cool pink slammed pedal-car. I tried to coax the Nomad out into the sun, but the wife’s Vanagon was getting serviced, so no such luck. The ’55 Nomad is my favorite of the three, and one of my all-time lust objects for American cars of that vintage.

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We’ll save our Nomad ammo for a better day, and get back to the business pickups at hand. I’ve got a nice ’59 waiting for the beginning of the El Camino story, and a slew of later ones. But these ’67s are the last of the gen2 series that started with the very clean ’64s and ended up with the almost equally clean ’67s. Things got distinctly more “interesting” with the highly-styled ’68s and on, and we’ll see them soon too. But I suspect I’m not the only one who thinks that this generation may be the most palatable one of the whole family. As usually, that’s a highly subjective matter, and El Camino lovers are welcome to debate that point.

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One thing is overwhelmingly clear: El Caminos are incredibly popular. I’m constantly amazed at how many there are on the streets, both here and in Oregon. The grossly outnumber the more pedestrian varieties of Malibus, and rival old Mustangs, Mercedes SLs, and old Caddys as the most popular “collector” cars that I see curbside. The number of last-gen El Caminos amazes me most of all; even in my neighborhood in Eugene, where old Chevies are not that common, there are several of those ’77 through ’87s around. I have a “hybrid” version of one of those to share with you soon. Obviously, all the benefits of Chevy interchangeability and parts availability make these very easy to keep running and modify to whatever degree one’s heart desires. And nothing like being able to haul engines and other junk yard parts in one’s hobby car to make the job easier!

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12 Comments on “Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: Triple ’67 El Caminos and Reclusive ’56 Nomad...”

  • avatar

    Wonderful finds!

    I think the ’67 is the best looking of the Gen II El Camino.  I also really like the color of the first one — “Marina Blue” if I recall correctly. The ’64-’65s are too plain; the 4-door Chevelle sedans made perfect “anycars” for doctoring for insurance company ads back then.

  • avatar

    I had a ’65 years ago, like the one in the bottom picture.  I bought it as a beach truck to drive on Daytona beach.  It was used up when I got it, but perfect for the beach.  Being a beach cruiser it had a lot of rust and the quarter panels were rusted out behind the rear wheels and were packed with dirt.  I was director of operations at a motorcycle mechanics school and would drive it to work occasionally.  I walked by the passanger side one day to find a 4 inch pot plant growing out of the quarter panel.  Apparently one of the students decided to to a little gardening in my elCamino.  Other adventures included going up a hotel lobby entrance ramp at a beachside hotel, applying the brakes at the top only to have the pedal go to the floor and the elCamino coasted down the ramp right back on to the main road.   Coming off the beach one day I applied the brakes at a stop sign and promptly broke a tie rod.  I had a lot of fun in that $200 elCamino then my roommate finally finished it off by wrapping it around a tree. 

  • avatar

    Good forbid I ever get money, my garage will look like that.

  • avatar

    Forgive me, but that’s a ’56, not a ’55 Nomad. And a beauty.
    What a wonderful cache of classic cars in that garage. I’m envious.

  • avatar

    A little history on the El Camino and Ranchero:
    The survival rate of the El Camino is pretty remarkable. For the most part, they never sold THAT well — the best year was something like 70,000 El Caminos and nigh-identical GMC Caballeros — but people seem to like them.

  • avatar

    I think Paul acknowledged this is a ’56 but he thinks the ’55 is the best of the three years of “real” (2-door) Nomads.  I agree.  The difference is that only in ’55 did the Nomad have unique rear quarter panels, not shared with any other Chevy, which had full rear wheel openings and no trim strip.  That made the ’55 look very sporty and distinctive, and closees to the original Motorama concept.

  • avatar

    Wish you had more mix of that Nomad!

  • avatar

    Years ago, in college, I worked part time for a company that had one of these, just like the gray one, only yellow–used it for fertilizer deliveries.  The back rusted out so some guy in the machine shop built a wooden deck to replace the bed, and the thing carried on for many more years.   Hell…it was paid for and depreciated.

  • avatar
    Galaxy Flyer

    I have never figured out why El Caminos were not more popular.  Visit Australia and what they call “utes” are everywhere.  The are used by tradesmen as utility trucks (very efficient), by kids as cheap cars and by the richer as sports cars.  Wonderful vehicles they are.
    I wish Ford would import them, I’d get one the very next day

    • 0 avatar

      I think its because a “real” 1/2 ton pickup in basic 6 cylinder “three on the tree” trim, such as the C-10 or F-100 of that era was a lot less money so that is what “tradesmen” in the US and Canada bought.  Were such basic pickups sold in Australia,  or only the smaller Japanese ones?

    • 0 avatar

      But if this were GM…

      Theyd just tell you, oh the U.S isnt interested in such frippery.

      Yet they turn around and a sell us GMT800/900 shit.. and lots loaded with Lambas and Vues.

  • avatar

    Judging from all TEH COOL junk in the driveway and garage of the first picture…I’m going to guess the guy isn’t married?

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