396-Powered 1982 Chevrolet El Camino

Things, automotive-wise, were looking shaky in the ’80s. A lingering recession at the start of the decade, and another oil embargo in ’79 compounded problems already brought about by stringent emission control regs, CAFE standards, and growing Asian competition. Performance, for the most part, was a thing of the past. Ingenuity, however, never goes out of style and that’s what the seller of this 1982 Chevrolet El Camino has employed to pull this ute out of its early ’80s malaise – stay tuned for more. This Camino is located in Watertown, Connecticut and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $4,100 with four bids tendered as of this writing.

Chevrolet’s second-generation El Camino was introduced in 1964 and by 1966 it has sprouted a 396 CI big-block V8 engine as an option. The year 1968 saw the introduction of the El Camino SS396, only to be upped by the ’70 introduction of the SS454 version. After ’70, things were on the wane and the last big-block engined Camino was a 215 net HP, 454 CI V8 offered in 1975. By 1982, a tepid 5.0 liter V8 was the best that Chevrolet would provide new El Camino owners.

No biggie, when you want what’s not, or what wasn’t available, you just build it yourself and that’s exactly what an enterprising soul has done with this Chevy, he’s stuffed a 1969 vintage 350 HP, 396 CI “Turbo-Jet” V8 engine under the hood. While not stated specifically how this car/truck hybrid motivates, I imagine that it’s pretty strong, especially considering its listed mods. The seller does suggest, however, “Would recommend a short drive or trailer“. One point of concern would be this G Body’s original 7.6” ten bolt differential – they’re not known for being particularly strong so I’d be concerned about its longevity with such a stump puller under the hood.

While the exterior shows reasonably well we are told, “All other panels are decent with a few rust spots” though the frame is listed as being “very good“. The bottom edge of the driver’s side door is showing some perforation but that noted, the body still presents well overall and is showing no sign of crash damage – the cargo bed too, appears to be sound. The rally wheels are not correct for this vintage El Camino but they’re frequently found on any Chevy from any generation so their presence is really not a surprise.

The interior has a typical early ’80s GM look about it – cheap materials – there’s a cover over the bench seat and the dash pad is split. The real issue, however, is the driver’s side floor, apparently, it’s letting go and will need to be replaced. This is an A/C equipped car, a nice inclusion, and we’ll just have to assume that it works.

Cool? You bet – this El Camino is way beyond anything the bowtie was offering in ’82 and it’s probably a blast to drive. It needs some work, most notably with the floor, but beyond that, the world’s your oyster, right?


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  1. J_Paul Member

    Just a matter of time until this engine finds its way back to a Chevelle or Camaro.

    Like 5
    • Keith

      Don’t look now but Big Blocks are becoming boat anchors as the majority of the Chevelles & Camaros are being resto-rodded and the LS is the motor of choice.

      Like 9
      • J_Paul Member

        Not disagreeing, but if someone is restoring a ’69 Camaro or Chevelle (instead of restomodding), I can totally see a situation where this El Camino is bought for the drivetrain.

        Like 4
  2. Terrry

    Should have put a small-block 383 stroker motor in this car, along with a stronger rear end. But since it’s a Connecticut car it’s probably thoroughly rusted underneath including the frame..take what you get.

    Like 3
  3. Claudio

    I agree , being a Connecticut car there is a big possibility of rust , an inspection on a lift is necessary

    Like 1
  4. Raymond L Saunders

    All A-G bodys, rear frame rails rust behind rear end, we used to use angle iron and weld it in, easy fix dont make it right…

    Like 1
  5. Stan

    Heavy go pedal will shred the wimpy 10bolt rear. A 12 bolt upgrade easy w a ring and pinion of choice to the new owner.

    Like 1
  6. Al

    As far as the 10 bolts, It’s not a 7.6″ rear, it’s a 7.5″. The 7.625″ (7-5/8″) started in 1986

    71-81…. 8.5″
    82-85…. 7.5″ (26 spline axles)
    86-mid 91… 7.625″ 26 spline
    mid 91 to 02… 7.625″ 28 spline

    Like 6

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