Green With Envy: Doug Mann’s Nostalgic 1959 El Camino

What makes a car notable in the hobby today? Is it body style? The amount of time and money that went into it? Or is it about how radical the build is? For us, it’s not quite that simple.

While we see outstanding builds throughout the year, exploring trade shows, cruises, car shows and races all over the country. Yet the cars that stand out aren’t always the ones you’d expect. Certain cars just have that special something.

The way the body flows together, how the color scheme works to enhance the vehicle rather than detract from it, or the right combination of performance add-ons. The reasons they catch our eye are endless and sometimes defy explanation.

Your car doesn’t need a ton of horsepower, crazy custom additions or an in-your-face color palette to attract attention! Sometimes classic, clean, and cruiseable is just what the doctor ordered!

That’s exactly how this 1959 El Camino owned by Windsor, Colorado resident Doug Mann hit us. We loved the paint (especially the pin striping), the stance, that big toothed grin, and the overall look the early El Camino has. Plus, who doesn’t like adjustable air-ride suspension and a Chevy small-block under the hood?

Mann has been into cars since before he could legally get behind the wheel. His Dad was always working on something, mostly 1955 to 1957 Chevys, and he caught the bug. Like so many automotive enthusiasts, Mann’s upbringing with a prominent family figure in the garage shaped what he finds appealing in the scene today. 

You know it’s love when you have your cooler painted and trimmed to match your car!

Fast forward, and Mann now has many car projects of his own: a ’27 roadster, a couple of 2-wheel-drive Blazers, and several 1955 to 1957 Chevys. While many of these builds have come and gone, Doug’s latest project – the 1959 El Camino – seems to be here to stay for now, which is something he told us he never thought would happen.

“After finding out how sought after they were, I thought I would build it and sell it to make a few bucks for the next project,” Mann told us. “But then I fell in love with it.”

And what’s not to love?! Even if classic El Caminos aren’t really your thing, you can probably appreciate the revival story this particular car has.

Just finished in 2017 as you see here, Mann has owned the ’59 El Camino for nine years now and purchased it for just $2000!

“My wife actually found the car on a walk,” Mann explained. “It sat on the edge of a cornfield for 17 years. We just got back from the Viva Las Vegas Car Show and after talking to a few ’59 owners there they said , ‘If you have a chance to buy a ’59 El Camino, you better get it cause they don’t come along very often. In fact, if you’re not interested, then get me the phone number.’ So after buying it and evicting all the critters out of it, I thought it would be cool to replace the stock 6-cylinder and 2-speed PowerGlide with a 350/350 combo and cruise it out to Bonneville for our annual Speedweek trip.”

The rest, they say, is history. 

Mann upgraded his El Camino by taking out the old 6-cylinder and replacing it with a rumbling Small Block V8! Photo compliments of Doug Mann.

The small block is backed by a Turbo 350 automatic transmission for easy cruising, even on the interstate. Underneath, the car just recently got outfitted with an air-ride suspension system from EZ Air Ride, while rolling down the road with 14-inch Supreme wheels wrapped in radial white walls.

It’s nothing fancy or over-the-top, but a trusted combination that gave Mann exactly what he was looking for, an easy cruiser he could enjoy with his family and friends. In the future, Mann might upgrade the El Camino with electronic fuel injection, but for now, he’s just enjoying the ride.

There’s nothing quite like the toothy grin of a classic El Camino!

The car is sprayed out in a crisp coat of PPG Vibrance Collection paint in Chameleon Metallic applied by Newstalgia Custom Paint. The retro ’50s color is accentuated with gorgeous pinstriping done by Bill Peratt of Parrot Pinstriping.

Dark green indoor-outdoor carpet adds a little something to the rear bed of the car, while an expertly matched Chameleon Metallic cooler with pinstriping and a chrome El Camino logo stands ready for drinks and snacks for car shows and cruises.

Inside, the mint green color scheme continues, with a body-colored dash and steering wheel, a contrasting white diamond pleated bench seat and dark green carpeting. Behind the rear seat, you’ll see the car’s name “El Casino” painted in white. 

“One afternoon after getting back into Wendover from the Salt Flats, I parked underneath the Casino sign and my buddies named it the El Casino,” Mann told us about the El Camino’s unique name.

Mann’s El Camino is not the most custom of cars we’ve seen, nor is it the most powerful, pristine or performance-oriented. But it doesn’t have to be! The car is great cruiser that is enjoyed year in and year out by a die-hard hot rod guy, and that’s something we can all appreciate, especially when it’s wrapped up in a classic package such as this ’59 El Camino!

Check out more shots of this beautiful Chevy in the Rod Authority Photo Gallery below, complete with a handful of photos from (the) Mann himself!

Photo gallery

VIEW FULL GALLERY >

About the author

Lindsey Fisher

Lindsey is a freelance writer and lover of anything with a rumble. Hot rods, muscle cars, motorcycles - she's owned and driven it all. When she's not busy writing about them, she's out in her garage wrenching away. Who doesn't love a tech-savy gal that knows her way around a garage?
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