Junkyard Find: East Bay Gig-Rig Malaise El Camino

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find east bay gig rig malaise el camino

When a truck or truckish vehicle gets close to the end of its usable lifespan, the last owner— if this vehicle happens to be in an urban area full of scroungy underemployed dudes with a 15:1 effects-pedal/guitar ratio— will often be a Band You Never Heard Of. When I was an affiliate of such a band in early-80s Oakland, we had a GMC Value Van with Chevy 396 power. The fate of such vehicles is always the same: a year or two of abuse, spilled beer on the carpets, and tire theft while parked in alleys behind dive bars… and then the head gasket blows or a control arm breaks and the tow-truck takes it for its final ride.

I see a lot of these discarded gig-rigs in the junkyards of the San Francisco Bay Area. I think it’s good to see that a truck’s last miles were spent holding up honorably under such abuse, like a sick old horse that still hauled tons of scrap iron up the hill before collapsing dead in a mud puddle. Lots of stickers, the stink of sweat and stale beer, and a general sense of time-capsuleness. Some museum should buy these up and exhibit them; imagine how cool it would be to see a collection of beat-to-hell gig-rigs from, say, early-80s Austin or mid-60s Los Angeles.

The Artfag Mafia and Stork Club stickers definitely mark this as an East Bay band’s amp hauler. I grew up in the East Bay and have seen many a gig at the feet-stick-to-the-floor Stork Club; this El Camino (or maybe it’s a GMC Sprint; damn if I can tell the difference on one with no emblems) would look right at home parked on Telegraph with a bunch of dudes in Fang T-shirts unloading a cheap drum kit out of the camper shell.

There’s even the remnants of some sort of homemade psychedelic-light-show device in the back, no doubt passed from band to band until finally being sacrificed to the Junkyard Gods.

Look, an East Bay Rats sticker. The stories this cartruck could tell!

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2 of 8 comments
  • SCE to AUX This is not a race worth winning.
  • JMII These would sell better if they came with a service to drop it off (with new tires and brakes) at which ever track you decided to visit per weekend. While its small it still doesn't fit on a private jet and there aren't many tracks close to where your yacht can be docked. 1st world problems here.
  • JMII Its an SUV so I am shocked they don't already offer it.
  • Analoggrotto As we Tesla owners receive our life energy from the greatest son of the gods of all time, Elon Musk; His cherubs and His nephilim may remove whatever they wish from us for unto him we owe all for our superiority above all the rest of humanity.
  • Kcflyer Nice to see California giving NY some competition to be the worst run state in the union.