Green Flag Drops On The Mustang Era Of NASCAR


August 9, 2018

By: Jonathan


The Front Is A Car, The Back Is A Truck, But The El Camino Is All Icon

The Chevrolet El Camino is the greatest truck in history.

That’s right, already dropped one truth about the El Camino that’s been bothering people since its release, it’s a truck. The Sedan Pickup, as it was known in early Chevy truck manuals, was released alongside the Sedan Delivery and 13 other truck and van models ranging from ½ ton to 2-½ ton.

In 1959 the El Camino was Chevy’s answer to the Ford Ranchero and would continue its production run through the 1987 model year, minus a brief hiatus following the first-gen. In all, 25 model years were produced, nearly on par with the Ranchero’s 1957-1979, 22 year run. However, it is the El Camino that has survived in popular culture to this day.

A clear topic of debate and pop culture phenomenon, the El Camino was first and foremost purpose built. Regarded by the GM Heritage Center as, “more than a car — more than a truck,” they’re right. Available in 1959 the model 1180 featured a 6-cylinder engine or a 283 cu.-in. V8 made the model 1280, a 1959 Chevy truck’s engineer manual said of the El Camino, “this new vehicle combines the ride and styling features of a passenger car with the load carrying ability of a pickup truck.” And with a cargo capacity of 1,150 pounds and bed volume of nearly 34-cubic-feet, it truly was a pickup.

Taking the pickup from the farm to the suburban home was the styling. While the back was certainly designed with utility in mind, it maintained the flare of cars of that era with a leisurely cab to boot. The initial release saw the El Camino offered in 13 solid or 10 two-tone color options. Tones of grey, green and blue adorned the vinyl seats and matched the all-new instrument cluster for ’59.

The first-gen El Camino was killed off after just two model years making its resurrection and rise to stardom over the Ranchero in folklore even more astounding. Through the years it found success and some “muscle car” appeal by way of the SS in the 70s, but like the first-gen, the others would rise and fall. Too much car for someone in need of a truck, but too much truck for someone looking for a car, the El Camino’s base was as split as its design allowing for no one to ever fully grasp it… That is aside from popular culture.

A near timeless punchline the El Camino survives today not as the truck it once was, and should be respected for, but as a piece of Americana that should be recognized from all angles.

[Photography courtesy of the GM Heritage Center.]

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