Redemption is a wondrous notion that can resurrect a person, an idea, or a car. Even a car-turned-truck. That’s what happened here. This 1968 El Camino sat forlornly in a field, abandoned by all the world, for something like eight years before a hobbyist rescued and transformed it, resulting in the modified-for-enjoyment Chevrolet that you witness here. It’s alive, the recipient of extensive body, engine and interior upgrades, completed in 2017 and all executed with an eye toward making this Cowboy Cadillac, as some affectionately call these vehicles, into a highly personalized street fighter. It’s not perfect, and it could benefit from some additional detailing and good old TLC, but it’s ready to roll down the highway and rock with your favorite aural entertainment, courtesy of its small-block 350-cu.in. V-8.
The renewal of this El Camino started out with major changes to its drivetrain. The rig’s original 327-cu.in. small-block V-8 was pulled and replaced with a Chevrolet 350-cu.in. V-8 of indeterminate vintage. After determining it had good compression, the seller rebuilt the 350 with a new timing chain, water pump, and alternator. He also installed a Holley Super EFI throttle-body fuel injection setup that sits atop an Edelbrock intake manifold. The exhaust feeds into a Magnaflow 40 system installed by Boise Muffler in Idaho. A variety of chromed dress-up items appear under the hood. The seller reports that the engine “starts and runs beautifully” thanks to the Holley EFI setup and produces no smoke, not even at startup.
The THM350 three-speed automatic transmission received a full rebuild during the restoration and it is said to shift without issues. The seller reports a small weep from the oil pan; he reports the valve covers, front and rear seals as dry. He previously replaced the steering pump and hoses due to a fluid weep. He adds that neither the transmission nor the rear end exhibit any kind of leaking or weeping of fluids. The engine bay presents as reasonably clean but could stand for some detailing as surface corrosion is clearly visible around the power brake booster.
This El Camino was optioned from the factory with a vinyl roof, which the seller removed. Patch panels were welded into place on both rear quarter panels, and rust repairs were made to both the front and rear window channels. For appearance-preference reasons, the 1968-mandated front marker lamps were removed, as were the frontal factory scripts and callouts. The exterior was finished in a PPG Omni color, which is said to remain unblemished, other than some tree sap that can be removed with the proper solvent. Aftermarket alloy wheels show some discoloration, with some curb rash on the left front. A rear-view camera has been installed. The door and window seals were all replaced. The original glass, including the windshield, is described as clean although wear marks can been seen on the side windows. The bumper and grille assemblies are fully intact and appear to be in good condition. The cargo bed has some scratches and imperfections. The undercarriage appears to be generally clean with minor surface corrosion in spots.
The interior in this classic El Camino was fully redone in custom leather with inserts by Fish House Upholstery of Boise, Idaho. The reborn cabin’s theme is centered on bucket seats from a modern Chrysler with six-way power adjustments. New square-weave carpeting was installed, and appears to still be in good shape. The seller added a complete Vintage Air system with integrated dash panel, and replacement instrumentation by Dakota Digital that remains fully functional. A B&M custom shifter now handles gear-changing duty for the automatic transmission. The seller invested $2,500 in a new audio system using a SoundHound artificial intelligence interface through a Kenwood digital receiver, which incorporates a rear-view camera and is mounted in the center console, next to the digital monitor for the Holley fuel injection. A custom leather-wrapped steering wheel has been added. The door panels are custom-covered in a theme that matches the rest of the cabin. The factory small controls and trim all appear to be present. The lower steering column has not been repainted, and the factory kick panels are scuffed.
The seller originally intended to use this El Camino as a shop truck, but instead went another route for his work. Since restoration, this classic Chevrolet utility vehicle has seen only 9,100 miles and the seller reports that it runs reliably. Additional work in the restoration included fitting a quick-ratio steering box and 1.25-inch anti-roll bars at both ends of the El Camino, which the seller says have favorably transformed its roadability. He reports a tight, solid ride at highway speeds with confident handling. All the brakes, brake lines and wheel cylinders were replaced during the rebuild, according to the seller. Same for the shock absorbers, giving the El Camino a slightly lowered stance. The front tires were renewed during the restoration and the rears have about 60 percent of their tread left.
Since it’s no longer destined to be a work truck, this El Camino is ready to come out and play. Don’t miss that chance!
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