327/4-Speed Project: 1965 Chevrolet El Camino

Instead of finding either a wreck in deleterious condition or a fully restored trailer queen or a pristine survivor, today’s find is none of those. It is a desirable 1965 Chevrolet El Camino that is on its way to noteworthy improvement. Equipped well from the start, this project-in-process will be one to watch. It is located in Torrance, California and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $9,327, reserve not yet met.

Still retaining some of its original Tuxedo Black finish and showing evidence of years in the California sun (this Chevy was built at the Fremont, CA plants and sold by Felix Chevrolet, a well-known L.A. dealership, the body shows to be pretty straight without evidence of the dreaded tin worm – not a surprise being a life-long California resident. So, how rust-free? Well, the seller states, “No rust thru in lower rear fenders / inner and outer, there is a very small spot of rust on the driver side rear wheel lip. No rust thru in rockers. No rust thru in front fenders/passenger side is an O.P.G., No rust thru in passenger door, Small rust spot on drivers door–rear lower. No rust thru in rain gutters. No rust thru in bed or tailgate, the bed support in the “smuggler’s box” has been replaced with an exact repo”. That’s a pretty thorough run-down of rust-frees, and other than the O.P.G. mentioned fender, it sounds as if this Camino is still wearing all of its born-with duds. The cargo bed is showing some surface rust but still appears to be stout but we’re told that the leading edge of the hood has some rust manifestation occurring (the same place my ’65 Malibu SS rusted!). Note the wheels, the seller claims that they are the original, dealer-installed Radirs. Of note, the windshield has been removed as the dash pad still needs to be installed and it’s easier to do it with the glass not installed.

The engine is listed as an RPO L74 which means a 300 HP, 327 CI V8, and in this case, it’s tethered to a four-speed manual transmission and twelve-bolt differential. The seller adds, “I have driven it around the neighborhood and it runs great for its age and trans shifts fine up and down“. The engine is claimed to be original and appears to have never been removed but that carburetor isn’t correct as this 327 would have been topped with a Rochester 4GC, not a Carter variant of some sort – a small point, and yes, the engine room looks as intended. Or does it…? This Camino had A/C at its birth but it has been removed and the firewall modified to appear as a non-A/C equipped car – seems like an unusual move. Fortunately, all of the A/C parts are available.

Inside, the progress continues. The floor behind the driver’s seat and the passenger-side toe board have been repaired with new steel and covered with new black carpet. The seller states that it was his intention to convert the upholstery to black from red but has held up that decision as the new owner may feel differently. Nice to see is the factory full instrumentation though the tachometer is inoperative. The red bucket seats are separated by a center console and this Camino had the optional top-of-the-dash mounted clock, it’s a rare item and unfortunately, is missing though the original radio is included in the sale. One thing to consider is what to do with the A/C vent holes that appear prominently in the lower dash corners.

There is a lot of good effort that has been put into this rare and nicely equipped El Camino, more than I have described so please go through the listing. As to why it’s for sale at this stage, nothing is said but sometimes a project gets tiring and it’s just time to move on. Be sure to check out these various running and driving videos: Video 1, Video 2, Video 3, Video 4.  Many of these changing horses in the middle of the stream projects can be overwhelming and hardly worth the effort; in my estimation, this isn’t one of those, wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. PaulG

    Well ordered by the original purchaser, and would be worthy of a driver quality restoration unless $ isn’t an issue.
    Nice to see the wheels, pretty rare!

    Like 9
  2. Jack M.

    There are always a handful of El Caminos for sale. They are not as popular as the coupes. You could do a lot better than this one for 10 grand.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      Ugly re-paint on your craigslist find? No telling what evils are under that trash, no thanks.

  3. Bell

    doesn’t get more perfect than those wheels on this car

    Like 4
  4. Gregory Mason

    The 327 300 did come from the factory with a Carter 4bbl. The 327 350 hp came with a Holley 4 bbl. The top 283 used the Rochester 4 bbl.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Further research indicates a Carter AFB or some references indicate a WCFB, one that I’m not familiar with.



      Like 5
      • 427Turbojet 427Turbojet Member

        AFB stood for aluminum four barrel, WCFB was white cast (pot metal) four barrel. I don’t recall exactly which came on which engines or if one was preferable over the other.

        Like 4
      • Bill

        Wrong. The 300 horse did have a Carter AFB along with the “double hump heads. The 250 and 275 horse had Rochesters.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Yes, I think I did state that in response to Gregory Mason’s comment.


        Like 1
    • Norman K Wrensch

      The 250 hp 327 also used the 4GC, the 300 used the AFB, I don’t think they used the WCFB anymore in this year. I think the was mostly a late 50’s thing

      Like 2
  5. Bob

    I need some of the good stuff this people are smoking

    Like 3
  6. Dirt Track Doug

    ….and to add to that correct information from Mr. Mason,… SOME 300hp -327’s (depending of which factory assembled them) came with a small Holley 4bbl . I seem to remember that the Fremont built 327’s did. And to go further, ‘most 250hp 327s came with that good ol’ Rottenchester 4GC as did 220hp-283’s. How do I know’ you wonder… Well, I still have my GM Chevrolet Master Technician pin after all these years. Yeah, I’m THAT old… LoL

    Like 4

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