Bricked In for 28 Years: 1970 Chevy El Camino LS6

It’s rare that we get heartwarming stories in the collector car world. Maybe I’m a pessimist, but more often than not, collectors are more concerned with outspending the next guy, or flipping a find onto eBay. This story of a garage find Chevy El Camino LS6 appears to be neither of those, as uncovered by Hot Rod magazine. The story of a rare El Camino with one of the most desirable drivetrains ever offered – and how it came to see the light of day again – is worth a read. Find the full story here on Hot Rod magazine’s website.

The discovery of this El Camino provides a few good lessons, one of which is to treat your mentors with respect and, eventually, as friends. The story goes that the new owner of the El Camino befriended its first owner, a local baseball umpire, when he asked if he’d teach him the rules of the game. This mentorship grew into a friendship, and one that grew larger when the umpire showed up to work in a gorgeous, black El Camino SS with white stripes and the special-ordered LS6 big block under the hood. There was additional wait time when the car was ordered to accommodate for the high-horsepower motor.

The protege told his mentor that if he ever decided to sell it, he wanted a shot at buying it. Many years went by, and in one of the few good things that Facebook enables, the two men remained virtual friends where the umpire could see that his mentee was raising a family around the classic car hobby. A phone call was placed, and the umpire simply said, “It’s time” – meaning, it’s time for the El Camino SS to go to its next caretaker. True to his word, he gave his friend the first shot at buying the car and made it easy on him, selling for an undisclosed price that the new owner indicates was well below market rate.

While a less powerful 454 was swapped into the El Camino when the oil embargo hit, the original LS6 was kept on an engine stand nearby. That matching-numbers motor carries with it an additional bonus in the form of aluminum heads from former NASCAR drivers James Hilton. A few years into his ownership, the umpire rounded up some desirable big block parts in the racer’s collection, including the desirable heads that apparently helped give the El Camino a nice, lumpy idle and surprise many an unsuspecting Hemis and 429 Mustangs back in the day.

With the El Camino seeing daylight for the first time in 28 years, the car looks to remain in impressive condition, with the new owner just noting the need for some replacement fenders. It’s incredible how original the El Camino remains, even down to the AM radio that the first owner swapped out for a cassette deck. It’s remained in storage with the car all of these years. Other than getting the LS6 back into its rightful home, the next owner will hopefully change very little about this incredible find, which will forever carry with it a bond between friends and a car that meant more than getting top dollar for a price or flipping it for a quick buck.

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Comments

  1. NotSure Member

    What a great story and a great find! I wonder If he carried sand bags in the truck bed to help keep the back down while he was toying with the Hemi drivers or 429 drivers? Beautiful car!

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  2. poseur Member

    a friend in high school had (actually still has) a ’69 396 Elky SS.
    it was one of the quickest beasts in the parking lot in ’84 & contrary to my expectation, he claims all he had to do to get traction was to drop the tailgate.
    regardless, this is a stunning survivor & the story behind its sale is heartwarming in this world of flippers, gougers & scammers.

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  3. Ken Member

    You’d think someone who owned such a rare and desirable muscle car would have taken better care of it, instead of leaving it exposed to the weather for nearly three decades.

    • Ike Onick

      I would think someone should know that after somebody buys something they can do whatever they please with it.

  4. Suttree

    This el Camino is nearly a twin to the one in Two Lane Blacktop. It was an LS 6 too.

  5. Dan

    This el camino was in my town. I knew the original owner and had tried to buy it for years. He never would sell, but just recently let it go to a guy he used to coach and had loved the truck since he was 16. I was awfully disappointed, but oh well. I remember back in the day when he was still driving it, and it would fly. He had the biggest tire on it he could fit. I guess being an automatic is how he got it too hook.

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    • moosie Member

      Strangely that automatic cost more than the LS6

  6. Gaspumpchas

    Great story and beautiful Camino. Its in the best of hands!! Good luck!!

    Cheers
    GPC

  7. OIL SLICK

    That’s “Looney”

    • Mark

      Now we are talking!
      Commented on the LS6 Chevelle find the other day which had been neutered and was no longer whole…..but this one is a different story. Major kudos for keeping the original engine. Someone is going to have one fine ride when it is all said and done. GLWTS.

    • glen

      I guess whoever works on this beast is a “Looney Tuner”!

  8. 68custom

    an neat car, bet traction really suffered! and BTW an LS-6 stock has a lumpy idle!

  9. Pat L Member

    Funny to think that there was a time when anyone thought that there was an economical 454!

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    • bobk

      Hey, I can remember buying 17 cent per gallon premium gas for my 396 motivated ’55 Chevy in 1968 (Dad helped me swap it in). Even allowing for the fact that I made about 1/20th as much in per hour wages as I do now, 17 cents per gallon made big blocks fairly affordable to drive. Especially if you’re 16 years old and don’t have any cost of living other than gas and other goodies. I don’t think that there was a single car in the high school parking lot with less than 383 cubic inches – at least the ones owned by students of the male gender.

  10. lbpa18

    I hope that the need for fenders is not due to rust for if so, it will be all over this nice example of a rare gem. Storing a vehicle is a nice idea but it has to be done correctly or it just decays.

  11. Jimmy

    Had a chance to buy a immaculate red with black stripes and vinyl top 70 El Camino SS 454 for 12K in 1989 from a kid who was going off to college and needed the money, this was in Florida and we were moving back north so the wife said NO since I would be taking some of our money we planned for a new house. That was her mistake not mine.

  12. Bob McK Member

    Great story, best of luck to the new owner. You waited long enough.

  13. JOHN TRAINOR

    This car didnt get much love despite all the feel good stories…….pathetic really.

  14. Catie H

    Am I the only person who thinks it is a little tacky of this guy to sell it? The original owner wanted him to have it, not flip it.

    • Rob

      Some of you people don’t read too well, do you?

      • OIL SLICK

        Some don’t read at all. It never said in the Hot Rod article that he was going to sell the car.

  15. Bodyman68

    This car is worth restoring and i hope he does it . Itll be nice when done . Theres a bigger advantage for the El Camino as you can add as much weight as needed for traction over regular cars with trunks

  16. Steve

    “I told him, ‘Mr. Fleenor, if you ever decide to sell it to me, I’d love to have it.’”

    What he didn’t tell him was he was going to turn around and sell if for way more than he paid. What a pal!

    • Steven Smith

      He isn’t flipping it for more money. Nowhere does it say he is going to resell it. Don’t know where you read that.

  17. Steve

    My first car was a 71 EC in 1985/6 or so. It was Le Mans blue with a black bench seat. Not an SS, but it had a 350 (2 barrel when I first got it) that my dad brothers and I added an aftermarket cam, 4 barrel intake and carb to. We later built a 355 with flat top pistons and a pair of 461 “camel hump” heads and headers. While it wasn;t a BBC, it was plenty to get a 16-17 yo kid into trouble! I still have the original block and rotating assembly from that car…

  18. Steve

    This story reminds me of the 71 EC SS my sister in law’s grandpa bought new in 71. He was a GM mechanic, Oldsmobile IIRC. It was dark green with dark green bench seat column shift automatic, full gauges, LS5 454. He pulled the 454 for a 350 sometime in 73 0r 74. He went to a nursing home and knew my broter was a gearhead, so he offered the car to him for $1000, it “lot drove” with the 350, but was supposed to come with the original LS5. My brother said he dug through several engines in his shed, but never came across the LS5. He later found a complete 7 LS5 out of a wagon for !k, of all things. As close My brother intended to get it driving, but was building a house. He offered it to me, but as he was strapped for cash due to the new house, needed to get as much for it as he could. I had to pass as I was a broke apprentice electrician at the time. He sold it at the Pate Swap meet for $8,500.

  19. Catie H

    I appear to have misunderstood. When it mentioned “the next owner”, I took that to mean he was selling. As some of you have rudely pointed out, I misconstrued. My apologies.

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