Apr. 16—LIMA — When asked by the public if the Chevy El Camino was a car or a truck, the company merely states, it's whatever you want it to be. The Chevy El Camino was produced from 1959 to 1960 and again from 1964 to 1987. There were rumors of it being produced once again, but so far no luck. The car/truck line was new to Chevy, however Ford beat Chevy to the punch with their Ranchero, which was produced in 1957 lasting until 1979. However, the concept of adding a bed to a car frame came into fruition in the 1920s. The cars were known as roadster utility vehicles back then.
These roadster utility vehicles were used as daily drivers to work trucks. It's said that a wife of a farmer in Victoria, Australia sent a letter to Ford Australia asking for "a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays."
Vince Downing, of Lima, brought his 1967 Chevy El Camino to the Gary Allen Memorial Classic Car Cruz-In. He has owned it for ten years.
The 1967 Chevy El Camino was based on the popular Chevrolet Chevelle platform. It followed Chevelle's styling facelift with a new grille, front bumper, and trim. Air shocks came as standard equipment on the El Camino, allowing the driver to compensate for hauling a load. Chevy was hoping that work and play would mix for this restyled El Camino. The car came with a six-foot-long bed that could hold up to 1,000 pounds.
Chevy marketed the 1967 El Camino in print advertising, "El Camino is glamorous, luxurious, spirited (but not too proud to work like a truck)."
The El Camino was discontinued in 1987, thanks in large part to the success of Chevy's S-10 pickup truck.
Downing's El Camino is an automatic with a 396 Turbo-Jet V8 big block Chevy engine producing 375 h.p.
"You don't see many of these," said Downing.
He did a frame off restoration on this beauty which took him a year to complete.
Now he just takes it out on nice days.
"Just get it out on sunny days," said Downing.