Coupe Utility Project: 1974 Chevrolet El Camino

There were two players in the so-called “gentlemen’s pickup” category, the Ford Ranchero (1957-79) and the Chevrolet El Camino (1959-60, 1964-87). From the mid-1960s forward, both were based on the platforms of their mid-size automobile counterparts. From 1973 to 1977, the El Camino was a derivative of the “Colonnade”-styled Chevelle and was larger than before except for its first two years. This 1974 example looks like a stalled project that had some less-than-stellar paint and bodywork done. Located in El Dorado, California, this “barn find” is available here on eBay where you can take it home for $3,250 (or make an offer).

Also referred to as a “coupe utility”, the fourth generation of the El Camino used the Chevelle’s station wagon chassis. Because of the Colonnade connection, the doors used frameless glass for the first time. Front disc brakes would finally become standard equipment and swivel bucket seats could be ordered when a console was also specified. In 1973, the two largest engines offered were 350 and 454 cubic inch V8s. They would turn into a trio in 1974 when a 400-short block was added to the mix. The seller believes there’s a 400 in this El Camino but concedes it could also be a 350.

Not much in the way of history on this El Camino is offered and may not be known as the photos provided are all from the back of a trailer. It’s described as an “old project that got left under a tarp” for an unspecified amount of time. It appears a refurbishing was started with newer paint, but the quarter panels look to have been tampered with in the process. The engine block codes do not match elsewhere on the truck, so the engine (400 or 350) may have been swapped. A TH-350 automatic transmission handles the shifting of gears.

This Chevy was not placed in “no-op” status with the DMV in California, so if it stays in-state some back fees may come due. There is likely more to this project than meets the eye and it might better serve as a donor if the DMV is expecting a big payday when you transfer the title. Chevrolet built 56,096 of the El Camino and the GMC Sprint combined in 1974, with the latter coming in at 4,783 copies.


  1. DON

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen a car that’s supposed to be painted black under the hood painted the same color as the body ! A lot of supposedly “restored” Mopars have the underhood areas painted black , instead of painted the body color . It looks odd that way, and this way as well.

  2. chrlsful

    gone: 2 1/2K$.
    one of few chebs I like (last gen chevelle, only made it to the 3rd gen – camino, waggy, Malibu Classic sedan’n coup). Nice big grill, straight lines now “the humps over the wheels” of the late 60s are gone. And this one (no pic) w/the great lookin curve in the head brd & back window. Take it over the three nine six of earlier muscle any day. “To each his own”, eh?

    But tops? the dwn szed chero of 60/6. 0-3 the “round body” & one yr ’66 in SCCA livery. (66/7 just the grill’n stacked hd lghts but they’re so great! The 8/9 – fairlane/torino is OK, but that really ends anything of interest, not earlier or later).

    Like 1
    • Keith

      Go check out “clunkers and classics” on YouTube. He’s getting a 76 ready to sell. He’s done some work to it and it runs and drives.

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