By on December 21, 2011

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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8 Comments on “Junkyard Find: East Bay Gig-Rig Malaise El Camino...”

  • avatar

    I was pulling a 1UZ V8 out of a Lexus the other day with a friend at the yard. While working, we spent most of the time making up stories about the last gasps of certain vehicles around us. Such as the “Sentra 500” with homemade emblems and spray painted interior, which I theorized had last had a dejected luchador at the helm. That would be great if yards required an essay or eulogy when you disposed of the vehicle. I’m sure this example would come with some sort of interesting death-poetry.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Wow somebody even put a pushbar/grille gaurd (or as my Dad likes to say “cow catcher”) on that sucker. That was about the only modification that Murilee didn’t make to his Impala.

  • avatar

    Wow, the four Christmas tree lights in that setup in picture 4 must’ve made a mind-blowing light show!

  • avatar

    75 El Camino looks like. Or someone swapped bumpers or grill with a 74.

    Don’t need any thing off it for my 77 sedan.

  • avatar

    The Hebrew bumper sticker says, “Preserve the limestone hills, it’s not too late”. Perhaps Tal or Dror in Israel can let us know more specifically what it’s about.

    • 0 avatar

      It might be a reference to deforestation in Palestine, which causes the soil to erode and the limestone hills too.

      Alternatively, it could refer to acid rain, which would eat away limestone.

      There are a lot of limestone buildings in Israel and the West Bank.

  • avatar

    Shame it’s long since been chipped and melted, as it’s calling to me, telling me I need a new daily driver…

  • avatar

    dammit, im waitin for the backstory… this should be good, as usual :)

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