40K Miles? 1971 Chevrolet El Camino Survivor

Although this is a really nice vehicle, I’m struggling with the 40,000 mile claim. We’ll discuss why below. This is a neat-looking 1971 Chevrolet El Camino, and for once no one has tarted it up as an SS, or a big block, or anything else. It’s even wearing original rallye wheels! It’s being sold here on eBay, where bidding is currently at $6,700 with a reserve, although there is a buy it now of $11,700 if you are impatient. It’s currently waiting for you in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Although the paint is oxidized quite a bit, the seller is claiming that 90% (they don’t specify where the other 10% is located) is original. I’m struggling with that because it appears that a piece of body side molding was taken off and it looks like original paint underneath where the molding was but faded repaint above and below it. Now, I may well be wrong as it could be that the molding protected the original paint in those spots and that the rest of the paint faded. What do you think?

I’m surprised to see the bumper so straight and true and all the trim in place and seemingly undamaged. Part of me would worry about using a “truck” like it was intended, considering how nice condition it’s in.

Even the bed looks pretty nice, with no obvious serious rust. Actually, the seller calls it a rust free California vehicle. I hope they are correct!

The interior looks nice, but is it really original? It’s certainly the original type and looks very nice. I can’t see the pedals clearly enough to determine if they are worn or not, but the carpet, dash and door panels certainly look the part.


That’s a lot of paint missing and marks on the air cleaner for a 40,000 mile car, even one that is 46 years old. I like the air conditioning, although I would assume it isn’t working as we’re not told that it does. I’m hopeful, though, as two of the hoses look new. We’re told it “runs and drives like new” and that the 350 cubic inch V8 has a four barrel carburetor. I’ll be really interested in how far you readers think this one has traveled!

Fast Finds


  1. motoring mo

    Super sweet!

  2. Dan

    California license plates?

  3. Rick Landau

    If rust free, why the primer stripe below the vinyl top?

    • tje

      Is that a vinyl top or is it just white paint?

  4. flmikey

    After looking at all the pictures, I believe it…and even at the buy it now price, worth every penny….

  5. JW

    With a PI and if his claim of rust free especially underneath and with a test drive to see if it needs mechanical help with no serious leaks then I would offer 10K , clean it up inside and out, buff the paint and drive it.

  6. CJay

    IMO the vinyl top is gone and we are looking at gray primer. (Maybe some one can verify that.) I see what looks to be flaking below where the (probably aftermarket) trim was removed. I have seen that flaking on older paint jobs that were not properly sanded next item such as trim and other chrome.
    I am saying at least one repaint, but what looks like a good solid base for an El Camino. I like the color because it is not a popular color!

    • Bill McCoskey

      CJay – I agree that there was a repaint at least on both sides, and the painter masked off the adhesive-backed vinyl side molding rather than remove it. Way too many cars were sold new with this vinyl side molding as it was a big profit center. I know — I used to install them back in the day. The wholesale cost for a box that would be enough for any size car was about $8. It took me about 15 to 20 minutes to install. Sold it as an add-on accessory for about $75. Or to close the deal, gave the buyer a discount on the side molding package, down to around $40 or $50.

      If I was buying the car, would probably have the paint buffed out, then add a similar vinyl side trim kit to hide the paint problem.

  7. Rock On Member

    Jamie checking pedal wear isn’t as accurate an indication of mileage as it used to be. The aftermarket offers reproduction gas, brake and clutch pedal pads for most popular cars and trucks.

  8. kman

    Didn’t we see this one e few months back?

  9. Woodie Man

    I like the earlier versions of the El Camino, like a ’66, As for the primer under the roof trim, looks to me like a rust repair. Other than that looks like a pretty honest representation.

  10. Mark

    After reading the description as compared to the pictures, I’m concerned about the accuracy of some of the claims. I think there is a very good base but I suspect that there may be other issues to consider, like paint and locating trim pieces. I would only make an offer after a thorough inspection first. As is, I think that the buy it now price may make repairing and restoring this car prohibitive.

  11. redwagon

    usually paint fades to a lighter not darker color

  12. Eddie

    Those aren’t rally wheels. They are the optional SS wheels for Chevelles, El Caminos and Camaros in 1971 and 1972, but only available on SS models. This truck apears correct otherwise. I love these wheels and have had a set on all kinds of Chevies over the years, but they don’t appear to be correct for this one. Not favtory. But looks very good with them in place.

    • The Giant Cornstalk

      Those are actually Z28 wheels, first appearing on the 1970 Camaro Z28 and Chevelle SS models as I recall. They later became synonymous with Z28 trim packages, as evidenced when the Z28 returned after a brief hiatus in the mid-70s. I personally always thought that they were some of the best looking wheels on the Camaros and Chevelles of that era, especially when color-keyed to the body.

  13. Rustytech Member

    I can believe the mileage claim on this. For some reason the paint on the air filter covers disappeared at an alarming rate during these years, I remember Working on these still under warranty that looked as bad or worse. The interior looks original, and consistent with 40k in wear. As for the no rust claim, that’s obviously misleading, I guess it depends on your definition of rust. Maybe what the seller means is “no rust through” but it has certainly had some surface rust. One things for sure, it ain’t a PA born and bred car! I like it, and I would restore it just as it came from Chevy in 1971.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Real easy to explain the paint loss on the air cleaner; That’s what happens when you hit it with a power washer spray — it peels the paint right off because there was no primer to hold it to the metal.

  14. Joe Howell

    Must mean 90 percent remaining of the original repaint.

  15. Show73 Ron Jellum Member

    I’ll take the 70-73 Camaro next to it.

  16. bob S

    Check the door hinge for play. If there is any, it has gone around. Those wheels were originally Z-28 rims. Love El Caminos.

    • stillrunners LAWRENCE FEARS Member

      No Bob they were originally 1970 SS Chevelle wheels and then later Z/28 wheels

      • joseph enlowe

        70 1/2 Z/28 too.

  17. Larry

    I believe it’s a salt free car. The hemming seems on the door bottoms are as clean as a whistle. That’s a good place to start when inspecting for rust.

  18. stillrunners LAWRENCE FEARS Member

    Did someone say something about the driver door color ?

  19. Art M.

    Those wheels are not 70 SS wheels, they were 71-72 Chevelle SS and Heavy Chevy wheels. They were were also used on Camaros starting in 71. I think this could be worth the money if there are no hidden surprises.

  20. moosie Craig

    Being a California car the vinyl roof probably baked off hence the reason for the light gray primmer on the roof,,, drivers door paint seems funky ? Nice el Camino. Mileage is probably correct judging from the interior pictures and under hood views, side moulding appears to me to be the regular clip on type rather then adhesive type.

  21. racer99

    Anyone else notice the bed floor that looks like it’s been pieced together? Looks like new carpet and set cover. Roof is gray primed over some funky looking body work (rust repair?). Looks like repaint was done with side molding in place and then it was removed? Just would make me wonder. Otherwise looks pretty solid and it’s my favorite body style El Camino. I think $10K is reasonable for this.


    I had a 69 el Camino for 20 years, gave it to my son, and he had it for another 10. It was in California and Nevada all its life, and it had a few small rust bubbles around the back window. That is a problem area, and I imagine this car (yes it’s a car not a truck) likely had the vinyl top removed, to chase/solve a minor rust bubble or two there. Mine also originally had a vinyl top, but I removed it when I had it painted. Looked much better in most people’s opinion. Looking at the interior, and all the exterior chrome, I believe the low mileage claim. It is good all of the ac is there, that often gets tossed to the side, when cars of this vintage changed hands often.
    I think the buy it now price is reasonable, if this were a regular Malibu, it would be 20-30k easy, and as Jamie mentioned, might have been converted to an SS clone by now. I wouldn’t mind having this car at all. I miss my 69.

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