Chevrolet El Camino
The Chevrolet is the classic car-pickup truck mash up beloved by many. Introduced in 1959, the El Camino offered consumers a utility vehicle that also looked and drove like a car. It was Chevy’s answer to the success of the very similar Ford Ranchero. The second, third, and fourth generation of the Chevrolet El Camino were based on the platform of the Chevelle, while the final generation switched to the Malibu. In spite of the car platforms, the El Camino has always been classified as a truck.
Officially called a coupe utility vehicle, the Chevrolet El Camino and its Ranchero competitor came from an idea that originated in Australia. Farmers wanted a vehicle that could be driven into town, but also used for hauling materials. Several varieties of such a truck/car came out in Australia, but were not seen in the U.S. until the 1957 Ranchero.
The first generation of the Chevrolet El Camino lasted two model years from 1959 to 1960. This first model came with a few engine options including an inline-six and two V8s. Transmissions included a three- or four-speed manual, and a two-speed automatic. All were built in Arlington, Texas. The 1959 sales of the car were a hit, but slumped significantly in 1960. As a result, the El Camino was out until 1964.
For the second generation, Chevy tried again and this time put El Camino on the Chevelle platform. Although it shared a platform and nameplate with the Chevelle, the Chevrolet El Camino was still marketed as a utility vehicle and buyers were not initially given the choice of adding some of the bigger and more powerful engines available with the Chevelle. Eventually, in future generations, the El Camino could even be bought with the SS, or super sport option. Although the Chevrolet El Camino proved successful for many years, by the late ‘80s it was on the way out. Rumors that it could be coming back have excited many fans of the brand, but nothing has been seen yet.