Chevrolet El Camino History / Evolution (1959 - 1987)
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Chevrolet El Camino is a coupé utility vehicle that was produced by Chevrolet between 1959–60 and 1964–1987. Unlike a pickup truck, the El Camino was adapted from a two-door station wagon platform that integrated the cab and cargo bed into the body.
Introduced in the 1959 model year in response to the success of the Ford Ranchero coupé utility, its first run lasted only two years. Production resumed for the 1964–1977 model years based on the Chevelle platform, and continued for the 1978–1987 model years based on the GM G-body platform.
Although based on corresponding General Motors car lines, the vehicle is classified and titled in North America as a SUV. GMC's badge engineered El Camino variant, the Sprint, was introduced for the 1971 model year. Renamed Caballero in 1978.
The El Camino was introduced for the 1959 model year two years after the Ford Ranchero. According to Chevrolet stylist Chuck Jordan, GM Harley Earl had suggested a coupé pickup in 1952.
Chevrolet reintroduced an all new, mid-size El Camino four years later based on the Chevrolet Chevelle.
Since the L35 396/325 hp engine was the base for the SS396 series, the number of L35 engines reported sold by Chevrolet in 1967 (2,565) were sold in one of the two El Camino series, which were the only other series the engine could be ordered in. Since the L34 (350 hp (260 kW)) & L78 (375 hp (280 kW)) were available in either El Camino series as well as the two SS396 body styles, there is no way of knowing how many of these optional engines went to which body style. Chevrolet does report 17,176 L34 and 612 L78 engine options were sold in 1967 Chevelles, but there is no breakdown of body styles. The TH400 3-speed automatic was now available as an option (RPO M40) with the 396 engine in both the SS396 series and the 396-equipped El Caminos.
Chevrolet introduced a longer El Camino in 1968.
A new, high-performance Super Sport SS396 version was launched. The Turbo-Jet 396 was offered in 325 bhp (242 kW) or 350 bhp (260 kW) versions. Returning to the official options list for the first time since late 1966 was the 375 bhp (280 kW) L78.
The Super Sport group included a 265 or 325 hp (198 or 242 kW) 396-cubic-inch V8 beneath a double-domed hood.
For 1973, the El Camino was redesigned. Matching the Chevelle line and using the wagon chassis, it was the largest El Camino generation. Energy-absorbing hydraulic front bumper systems on these vehicles added more weight. The base model and SS option shared interior and exterior appointments with the Chevelle Malibu, while the El Camino Classic (introduced for 1974) shared its trim with the more upscale Chevelle Malibu Classic.
The 307 2-barrel V8 with 115 hp (86 kW) was the base engine. Options included a 350 2-barrel V8 with 145 hp (108 kW), a 350 4-barrel V8 with 175 hp (130 kW), and a 454 4-barrel V8 with 245 hp (183 kW).
The 1978 through 1987 El Caminos were produced in four trim levels: Classic, Black Knight (1978)/Royal Knight (1979–83), Conquista and Super Sport, and shared chassis components with the Chevrolet Malibu. Chevrolet 90° V6 and Buick V6 engines were used for the first time. The optional 305 cubic-inch small block V8 was rated at 150 or 165 hp (112 or 123 kW), and from 1982–1984, the Oldsmobile-sourced diesel engine was also optional.
A coupe utility version was released in 1971 under the Chevrolet El Camino name and was offered with imported Holden 186 six and 308 V8 engines. A version of the later Holden HQ utility was marketed in South Africa as the Chevrolet El Camino AQ. A facelifted El Camino AJ was released in 1976
In 1974, Chevrolet's sister division, Pontiac, reportedly took an El Camino body, grafted on the urethane-nose front end from its Grand Am series, added the GA's instrument panel, reclining Strato-bucket seats with adjustable lumbar support along with Pontiac's Rally II wheels. This was a styling exercise for a possible Pontiac version of the El Camino; the concept never reached production.
In 1992, GM unveiled an El Camino concept, basically a pickup variant of the Chevrolet Lumina Z34.
GM had a concept El Camino based on the full-size Caprice station wagon using the grille of a 1994–96 Impala SS
The Pontiac G8 ST was shown at the New York International Auto Show in March 2008. Based on the Holden Commodore Ute, it shared the G8 platform with a 73 in (1,900 mm) cargo bed. The Sport Truck had the same 361 hp (269 kW), 6.0-liter V8 used in the G8 GT, as well as the 3.6-liter, 300 hp (220 kW) direct-injection V6. The G8 ST was slated for release as a 2010 model, but in January 2009, GM announced to dealers the G8 ST was cancelled due to budget cuts and restructuring. In 2011, GM again considered bringing back the El Camino under the Chevrolet brand as early as 2015.
Jan 13, 2019 at 10:01 AM
Science and Technology
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