Chevrolet introduced the El Camino for the 1959 model year in response to Ford’s Ranchero that had entered the market in 1957. Like the Ranchero, the El Camino was derived from modifying a station wagon body (in this case the newly-designed Brookwood) to create a vehicle that was not quite a pickup and certainly not a passenger car earning the industry designation of “coupe utility”.
The concept was not new, dating back to the roadster utilities of the 1920. Variations of the coupe utilities came on the scene in the 1930’s but did not catch the public’s interest. Famed GM designer Harley Earl supposedly began throwing around the idea of producing a coupe utility in the early 1950’s, several years before the El Camino was introduced. Coupe utilities were all the rage in Australia and US automakers were quick to jump on the bandwagon.
While built on a passenger car chassis, in the US market the El Camino was considered a truck. It was the first General Motors truck to have a steel bed floor as opposed to a wood floor and could be optioned with an available Chevrolet engine including the 283 cubic inch V8 with Ramjet fuel injection.
After selling over 22,000 units in the introductory year, sales for the 1960 model dropped by more than one-third and GM executives dropped the El Camino from the 1961 Chevy lineup. In response to Ford moving their Ranchero to the new compact Falcon platform in 1960, Chevrolet’s coupe utility offering for 1961 was based on their Corvair van.
The El Camino nameplate was resurrected for the 1964 model year, with the coupe utility now based on the mid-size Chevelle/Malibu platform. That continued through the 1987 model year, which marked the last time an El Camino rolled off a GM assembly plant line in the United States.
The coupe utility concept proved popular with the American motoring public and since 1964 was offered in a number of trim levels over the years. The El Camino could be optioned with both appearance and performance packages. Powertrain options over the years spanned the gamut from small six cylinder to massive big-block V8’s with three and four speed manuals and two, three and four speed automatics backing them.
This very rare 1980 Chevrolet El Camino has been a part of the present owner’s portfolio for almost three years and presents as a great example of performance and luxury. Built at the Kansas City, MO Leeds assembly plant the fourth week of July 1979, the vehicle’s VIN indicates it was built with the 305 cubic inch V8 (the largest engine option available for the 1980 model). That fact is confirmed by the build sheet, which also confirms this to be one of the 544 El Caminos built with the M20 Muncie four speed transmission. While the vehicle has obviously been treated to a repaint, the original exterior (Code 75 Claret) and interior (Code 79 Dark Claret Red) interior colors indicated by the cowl tag and the build sheet remain. Power options include power steering, power brakes, power windows, power door locks and tilt steering wheel. The car was built with factory air conditioning but is missing the compressor and other pieces and is not operational at this time. The factory radio has been replaced with a JVC unit. The build sheet confirms that the car was ordered with the Royal Knight package (RPO Z16), one of 2,598 such vehicles according to the GM Heritage Center.
Another rarity of this vehicle is the build sheet’s verification it was manufactured for the Canadian market and was shipped from the factory to the GM terminal in Edmonton, Alberta. The car retains its’ Canadian instrumentation with the speedometer and odometer reading in kilometers and a 1996 Canadian inspection sticker remains on the driver door jamb. The El Camino was imported to the United States sometime after 1996, as it had a Nevada title when purchased by the present owner.
The vehicle is presently powered by a small block Chevrolet engine of unknown displacement as the block pad is blank. It has an aftermarket intake manifold and Holley carb, headers and aftermarket chrome valve covers. While we have no reason to believe the odometer reading of slightly over 44,600 kilometers is not correct, in accordance with statutes governing licensed Missouri auto dealers the vehicle is sold “mileage exempt” due to age. The owner holds a clean Missouri title to the automobile. When you add up the documented provenance of this vehicle being a four-speed Royal Knight built for the Canadian market, this becomes a rather obscure vehicle worth of a spot in any collector’s portfolio.
Evergreen Digital Showroom offers this exceptionally rare 1980 Chevrolet El Camino for sale at a price of $24,900 USD. Pre-purchase inspection is welcomed and encouraged. We can arrange shipping at buyer’s expense or will work with the transportation arrangements of buyer’s choice. For additional information or to make an offer on this vehicle, contact sales manager Steve Russell at 417-532-8000. Other vehicles we have offered for sale can be seen on our website, www.evergreendigitalshowroom.com.
Because of the number of vehicles we represent we cannot drive every vehicle for long distances. These vehicles have been part of static displays for long periods of time, in some cases for decades, and are subject to the flaws and imperfections consistent with that. While we do our best to disclose all issues we known about a vehicle in our advertising, these are old cars and something that has always worked in the past might not function properly today. Please check the requirements of your state regarding the licensing and registration of classic vehicles and make sure the vehicle you are looking at meets those if applicable. Unless otherwise noted, all vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom possess a clean (non-branded) title which will be provided the new buyer when purchase funds clear our financial institution. Virtually all our vehicles are sold as mileage exempt due to their age. We do not warranty any vehicle, nor any part of the vehicle including air conditioning systems, brake systems, electrical systems and gauges, fuel systems, accessories or powertrain components.
These are old vehicles and it is very common for them to require certain maintenance and upkeep for them to be operational. In many cases issues with leaks may develop when being driven after a long period of not being used. This is common, as classic cars at some point will leak fluids. For this reason, we do not encourage buyers to attempt driving their purchase home as we cannot guarantee functional reliability of these vehicles. We strongly encourage prospective buyers to be sure they are comfortable with these issues before purchasing a classic car.
Descriptions of vehicles represented by Evergreen Digital Showroom are intended to be informational in nature and do not in any way constitute any sort of warranty, expressed or implied. Again, these vehicles are presented “as-is, where-is” without guarantee or warranty. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1981 will likely not be included in the databases of companies such as CarFax and AutoCheck that provide vehicle history information to consumers. If you have specific questions regarding a vehicle we urge you to contact us at 417-532-8000.