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El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

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vwminispeedster

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El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostFri Jun 08, 2012 9:45 pm

When you were raised on Citorens all your life the idea of rebelling involved desiring an American car or truck. My three automotive wants all come from the General and are a Buick Grand National (car), GMC Syclone (truck), and a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Chevrolet El Camino (cartruck). The El Camino is everything a Citroen DS isn't; simple mechanicals, 8 cylinders, RWD, and a bed for hauling (ass or lumber, it does both equally well). I am not yet in the position, nor really "need" a 2nd car (ignore the unfinished project car in the garage) but when I am ready to pull the trigger I want to make sure I get what I want. And part of the problem is I don't know what I want other than "El Camino". I have not clue which engines are garbage, transmissions to avoid, what areas are easy to fix and others to avoid like the plague. I grew up on LHM and button brakes, not big blocks and 4 barrels. Any fans of the El Camino that can steer me in the right direction your knowledge is appreciated. And any enablers that find nice ones for sale in the San Francisco Bay Area leave your tips here so that I may drool over them and let them be sold to some other schmo.

Thanks,

Chris Hanzel
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Scandinavian Flick

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  • Location: SF Bay Area, California

Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostMon Jun 11, 2012 10:10 am

My knowledge as far as working on them and reliability is pretty much limited to common knowledge stereotypes, such as 80s American cars being anemic and unreliable, and pre-smog cars being much more simple and easy to mod. Plus, I just like 'em better...

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http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/3067553113.html

I did get a hearty laugh from the fact that when I searched for "El Camino" on CL, Google Chrome detected that the search results page was "in Spanish". After accepting the translation, I find that there are a lot of "The Roads" for sale. :lol:
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Stu_Rock

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Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostTue Jun 12, 2012 12:46 pm

I don't know much about them, but they are basically standard GM A-bodies with a ton of parts interchangeability. People just find one they mostly like and replace all the parts they don't like.

My neighbor has one and he's on the fence about keeping it. Driving it is too hard on his back (because of injury), but the car is a several-year work in progress that he still occasionally moves forward on. It has a carbureted crate 350 in it. Here's a streetview cap (that's my van on the opposing side):
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nj_hoon

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Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostSat Jun 16, 2012 10:18 am

As a former owner of a 70 Chevelle, I know a little bit about El Caminos. Personally, I not a big fan of the 78's and up, but I have seen some with a Monte SS front end which make them tolerable. The 68 to 72's are my favorites but the 59 & 60's bring the biggest bucks the last time I checked. The 3rd Gen (68 - 72), like the Chevelles, the the foot wells between the door and the fire wall tends to rust. I have heard that the front of the bed will rust, with the tailgate being the worst offender. As for what engine, all are OK but depending on what you want to do some will be better. If it where me I would lean towards a small block, big block are heavy and believe it or not it can get crowded in there with one. I hear a lot of people saying 'stay away from a 307' but I had one in my chevelle for a time and the thing got good mileage with a 2bl and was stone cold reliable. They can be made to get very good torque too.
I say go for it and enjoy, parts are plentiful and still made so you can't go wrong with any of them.
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P161911

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Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostMon Jun 18, 2012 2:20 pm

All the V-8 engines should be OK. They will be either a big block or small block Chevrolet V-8. As stated earlier the small block is probably preferred. I would avoid V-6 models or ones with the TH-200 transmission (this only applies to the 1978+ ones). You won't find an engine with cheaper or more available parts in anything from 150HP to 700HP.
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vwminispeedster

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Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostTue Jun 19, 2012 9:55 pm

Thanks guys for the info. Good to know about the versions that fetch the most dough. I won't be aiming for a show stopper or even one with all the same color body panels (I know a guy) but one that I won't immediately have to rebuild.
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Scandinavian Flick

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Re: El Camino, Spanish for, The Camino

PostWed Jun 20, 2012 4:25 pm

Are you going to show up at the next Seconds Saturdays with a The Road now? :mrgreen:

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