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Best One Left? 2,200 Mile 1986 Chevrolet El Camino

Although the Chevrolet El Camino has lived through multiple iterations, the fifth and final generation is perhaps the most recognized. While it’s the kind of car that brings a smile for its unusual configuration and always-ready-for-a-good-time demeanor, values haven’t ever risen to the point that the car can be considered a true collector’s vehicle. Perhaps it’s due to never becoming a true muscle car, or the fact that it went out with a whimper during the height of the malaise era. That said, nice ones are quite hard to find, as seemingly very few were set aside as fair weather only vehicles. This incredible 2,200 mile example is listed here on Hemmings for $35,000 firm. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Mitchell G. for the find.

The El Camino sports sharp black paint with gray lower cladding, a red pinstripe, and chrome accents. Once you move past the novelty of the truck bed design, the looks are otherwise pretty standard if not forgettable. The utility factor is what draws you into the El Camino, as having one of these on the property seems like a no brainer for anyone who hauls smaller and doesn’t need many passengers to help. The beds are typically pretty used up by this point, and in general, old El Caminos seem to attract owners who simply sue them for their impressive utility. That’s why survivors like this are so unusual, as the El Camino was never worth enough to leave it parked, and always cheap enough to justify as a weekend errand runner.

Not this car, of course – no, someone loved it, and drove it sparingly, to the point that the typically vulnerable bed and carpets remain in outstanding condition. These were incredibly “low rent” interiors even by General Motors’ standards, so seeing one that has survived to such a degree takes you back to the days of flipping through the glossy brochure at the dealership. The cabin sports the typical colors of the era, with mauve-colored plastic surfaces and seating upholstery, crimson carpet, and the occasional splash of chrome trim on the dash and door panels. The best picture in the eBay gallery shows off how clear the original cluster is, with perfect colors on the needles.

By this point, the 4.3L V6 was the standard engine, an adequate performer overall but nothing like it could have been had General Motors been in a position to justify building a high-performance El Camino derivative. It makes me wish this car were still alive today, as I can only imagine the horsepower war that would come about if the likes of Chrysler had a similar vehicle in their lineup. But, this is why the El Camino stands apart: it never asked for the spotlight despite being the kind of vehicle that demanded it, and instead concentrated on delivering plenty of utility in a cheap-to-run package. It’s a concept I wish we’d see more of from manufacturers, but in the meantime, buying one that’s almost new is the next best thing.


  1. Moparman Moparman Member

    WOW! I dreamed I hit 88 mph in my DeLorean and went back to 1987 to buy this one…wait, it’s NOT a dream…this one is real! This is an absolute beauty, and it could only be better by having the console! Out of my budget range, though *SIGH*..GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 9
  2. CaRCrAzY dAn

    People either love or hate them but for me, I really LOVE them, rides and drives like a car and hauls like a truck. Best of both worlds! I would love this one or its Conquista twin.

    Like 5
  3. Racingpro56 Member

    35 large? Why? I don’t get it…someone explain please!

    Like 4
  4. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Nice garage. And over here in the white Cadillac section …

    Like 5
  5. CJinSD

    The window sticker says this one has a 5.0 liter corporate V8 with a 4 barrel carburetor, which was as strong as GM could get away with while trying to comply with the CAFE boot on its throat. I’d like to assume it was a 305, but it could have been an Oldsmobile 307. I have a neighbor who has two similar El Caminos, and Google street view suggests he had another right before I moved in. I doubt he’d pay this much for the best one in the world. I mentioned to him that I’d seen a listing for a relative bargain on a low mileage one with rare options, and he chortled dismissively. I can’t imagine the customer for one at this price level.

    Like 2
  6. Dusty Rider

    I had a ’79 with a 4 speed, I really liked that truck before the rust crept in.

    Like 1
  7. notinuse

    Looks like a 305 Chevy V8 to me. I think the 307 Olds had the oil filler at the front.

    Like 4
  8. 200mph

    These are great car/trucks… I’ve had three of them. They are better with the base FI 4.3 V6, the 305 with the clickety-clack carb is a turd.

    No center console or floor shift ?
    Is the dash top cracked. or is the cover just protective?

    The market for these is around 1/2 this price… they are neither rare nor very collectible, but they sure are fun. All the various G-body suspension upgrades apply (Hotchkis). With more miles, this would be begging for an LS swap.

    Like 1
  9. lc

    My 81 Elko with a 4 barrel Edelbrock and Crate 350 runs great. Maybe if it had the 305, I would not like it as much. But it runs great. Mine even had a fuel economy digital computer on the right bottom of the front consul next to the steering wheel, but wasn’t functioning when I purchased it. With the engine swap, I don’t think it would work anyway since it was more than likely made for the 305 that was originally in it.

    Like 0
  10. Tom

    I like these a lot. But not enough to spend anywhere near 35 grand on one. But that’s not to say that nobody else will. It’s a beauty for sure…

    Like 1
  11. BB

    Nice 102,200 El Camino, 2200 original, I doubt it.

    Like 0
  12. Joe Sewell

    My first ‘new car’ was a ’78 Monte Carlo Landau 3.8L. Pretty car, never left me stranded. Local carb shop ‘fixed’ the carb shortly after I bought it-ran noticeably better. Instruments failed on a regular basis, and the chrome tape bumper trim had to be constantly re glued into place. Very embarrassing to be dragging the rubber/plastic bumper trim down the road.

    Motor used a quart of oil consistently in less than 1,000 miles – Chevrolet/GM stated this was ‘normal’. Traded the Monte in 1980 for a 1979 Sedan Deville. The Cad had many issues, as well as my 1981 Chevy C-10 I bought new. The C-10 was my last GM vehicle.

    I always admired the El Caminos but was gun shy of ever owning another GM vehicle again.

    Like 1
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    A CarFax will reveal true mileage, for any doubters.

    Like 0
  14. Super Glide

    If the mileage is true, then it’s a nice truck. If you buy it to drive it, then the value will plummet quickly. It’s nice looking, but why would you buy this and not drive it. Why was it only driven so few miles in so many years? It’s not a
    a 1970 LS5 El Camino SS. I’m sure there is someone out there who’s mad at their money and needs this car/truck.

    Like 0
  15. Chris Londish Member

    The equivalent down here was the Commodore Ute but we were able to really trick it up with performance options and HSV did special limited runs as well now highly sort after because of the termination of local production

    Like 0
  16. Curtis Marquart

    For that price you can own real Elko from the late 50’s or mid 60’s to early 70’s

    Like 1
  17. Denny

    Not with a V6 ,nope never

    Like 1
  18. john

    my dad had this model .. great !
    Always made sure I never parked on a hill facing up hill damn door about killed me HA.

    Like 0
  19. Bay Area Car Collector

    I own An 86 El Camino.. all original, with 60k original miles. Glossy black 🤘 i am driving it quite often these days and receive compliments daily, including two offers just this week alone. Never care to hear what they offer, just cool to know “the hate it, or love it car” is appreciated.

    Like 0

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