Initially launched by GM for the 1959-1960 model year, the El Camino was an enigma from the beginning. Was it a car or was it a truck? Turns out that the El Camino was a bit of both but earned it’s way into a completely new category – utility vehicle.
The idea of a utility coupe actually came from a letter written by the wife of a farmer in Victoria, Australia asking for “a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays,” in 1932. The first coupe utility model was released in 1934 by Ford. General Motors’ Australian subsidiary Holden responded by producing a Chevrolet coupe utility in 1935 followed by Studebaker producing the Coupe Express from 1937 to 1939. While the coupe utility sold modestly to the public, the body style did not appear on the American market until the release of the 1957 Ford Ranchero.
Everyone seemed to love the crossbreed ca-truck and Chevrolet responded with the El Camino in 1959. Ford’s Ranchero had a successful 22 year run from 1957 through 1979, going from a full-sized to compact and eventually ended up as a mid-sized vehicle.
The El Camino was widely more accepted, even with the later start, and enjoyed a much longer run from 1959–1960 and 1964–1987 for a total of 24 years. Even with it’s own category of Coupe Utility, most considered the vehicle either a car or a truck. For our first Truck Tuesday weekly feature, we are considering the El Camino a Truck and presenting one of the most evil representatives of the utility vehicle genre:
Wayne Fritchie’s 1965 El Camino, 565 BBC with a very large F3R139 Procharger and a whole assortment of other goodies, runs 8 second quarters, is 1500hp capable. The video shows 1327 rwhp on the dyno run prior to taking the monster to the track. Fans claim that Fritchie’s Elky is featured at the CarCraft summer nationals every year and always wins the dyno shootout. Not resigned to trailer-baby status, many people have seen Wayne behind the wheel on the town’s surface streets.We prefer to see it eat up at the track.