El Caponcho: 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix

This one is a head-scratcher, even more so than some of the others that have popped up lately. Intrepid Barn Finds.. finder.. Pat L, sent in this 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix custom pickup, El Caponcho, or El Poncho, or Pontiac Pickup, or whatever a person would call it. It’s in Sanger, Texas which is just north of Denton, which is just north of Dallas/Ft. Worth. It’s on Craigslist with an asking price of $9,500! They mention that they have “lost title but have a copy”, and it’s the “only Pontiac Pickup registered in Texas.”

The seller says that they were “told years ago by the previous owner that the company that built the Cadillacs built 2 or 3 Pontiac pickups.” That could very well be true, but in 2017 when anyone who is selling a vehicle says “they were told…”, I hit the brakes real quickly. It could be true that Chatsworth Conversions in California, the company that built a hundred or two Cadillac convertibles, may have experimented a bit. It does look like a bang-up job here. Just think, could it someday look as nice as this Pontiac Grand Am version? There are no interior or engine photos, (no comment).. but the seller says that this one has a “400ci Pontiac with turbo 400” and that it needs “floor pans but I have them. Bucket electric seats. Very little rust. Needs restoration. I drove it 15 years ago.” So, it ran-when-parked. It looks decent from the photos but who knows what it looks like in person. It may be worth restoring?

Not being a bodyshop guru I don’t have a clue how someone would build a custom like this and have it look seamless and flawless. Pontiac built two El Camino-like vehicles based on the 1960 Catalina: the El Catalina. There is just one left. The company also built an actual pickup truck as far back as 1928, which is the last year that they made one before transferring that portion of their work to GMC. I’m wondering if Pontiac, and GM, missed an opportunity to build El Camino-type vehicles from all of their divisions?

Here’s a quick photoshop exercise that I just did in putting a ’77 Olds Cutlass front end on a ’77 El Camino body. Maybe that doesn’t quite work, but maybe I’m just not used to seeing them. The 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix pickup needs floor pans but the seller has them, hopefully that’s all the rust work that need to be done. In a two-part questionnaire – what do you think: 1) Is this 1977 Grand Prix pickup worth restoring? 2) Did GM miss an opportunity to offer El Camino versions of their other makes?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I like it! And yes to both questions Scotty, nice find.

    Like 1
    • Jerry Brentnell

      you know what this looks like to me a chevelle elcamino with a pontiac front clip on it! there was a 65 elcamino kicking around years ago that was transformed into a 65 gto pickup 389 4 gear and all

  2. Rock On Member

    Rarer than even the Chuppacabras that travel around Texas way.

  3. Joe Haska

    All the typical from the seller, told by previous owner and ran when I parked it! But it is just different enough, that it might be a fun project.

    Like 1
  4. Oingo

    Looks like a $950 car to me.

    Like 1
  5. Mitchell Gildea Member

    The Grand Am El Camino looks way cooler. In regards to this car tho, it looks to be rust free, but I don’t know if it’s worth $9,500. I’m thinking $2,000 tops

  6. Doug Potts

    Ok here’s my take on the “custom bodywork”. The Malibu/Cutlass/Gran Prix/Regal ALL were intermediate cars. It’s as easy as taking an El Camino(based off the Malibu wagon) pull the front clip and install the Gran Prix clip.

    Like 2
    • CCFisher

      Not quite… There was some fabrication work on the doors. Those are El Camino doors, yet the raised center section of the Grand Prix hood continues into them.

      Like 1
      • joeinthousandoaks

        That line is visible in the red El Camino picture above. it is just highlighted with the two-tone paint on this car.

      • CCFisher

        Look closer, or perhaps at some other photos. The El Camino’s hood is nearly flat, while the Grand Prix’s has a prominent raised section that extends into the doors. The Grand Prix clip will not line up with the El Camino doors without fabrication.

        Like 1
      • gbvette62

        I’m pretty sure that the doors on all of the 2 door 73-77 GM intermediates, were interchangeable with 73-77 El Camino’s doors.

        Unlike earlier El Camino’s, that had doors that were unique to the El Camino, I think GM used Chevelle 2 door hardtop doors on the 73-77’s, in an effort to save some money building the low production El Camino.

        Having owned a couple of those El Camino’s, I can tell you the doors are quite large, like a 2 door.

        A local body shop owner I knew in the 70’s, turned a new wrecked 75 or 76 El Camino, into a Cutlass El Camaino. He used the nose, doors, wheels, dash, seats, door panels, emblems, and a Cutlass wagon rear bumper and tail lamps, to do his conversion, and then shot it an Olds two-tone tan and brown metallic combo.

        Like 1
      • CCFisher

        El Camino:

      • CCFisher

        Grand Prix:

    • charlie

      I agree with Doug Potts. Looks like an El Camino with a pontiac clip on it.Charlie Starkie here in Ms has a nomad clone that was a pontiac safari as original. Best way is check the title.

  7. edh

    Your photoshop skills failed you, try using a 1977 Cutlass front end next time.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Thanks for being so understanding, edh… It’s fixed now.

      • jw454

        Scotty,

        I think the Cutlass version knocks it out of the park. I like it. Good job!

        Like 1
      • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

        Thanks, jw454!

  8. Mark

    I think someone took the front clip off a 77 Grand Prix (probably a rear end total) and put in on the front of an El Camino. Plain and simple. If you look at the car from the front window back, it’s all ElCamino. It’s especially noticeable Looking at the tail lights, bumper and tailgate. Still would be cool to own in decent shape. But at the current condition? I agree with Oingo, looks like about $900.

  9. joeinthousandoaks

    At first I thought the doors and 1/4’s were different, but looking closely they are the same as El Camino. Even the dash could have been swapped from a wrecked Grand Prix to give it the Pontiac look. Cool car though, unfortunately, the Pontiac styling doesn’t really do it for me in this form.

    I had a friend back in the day that had a ’73 Ranchero and he swapped out a Thunderbird front end. That looked really sharp.

    • D

      There was a Ranchero of that era in South Dakota probably 20 years ago that had the Thunderbird nose on it and yes, looked sharp

      • Bill Owens BillO Staff

        I lived in a town in the 80’s where I would occasionally see the front of a 1978 Thunderbird on a Ranchero. I thought it was cool, especially since I had a 1978 Thunderbird at the time.

  10. joeinthousandoaks

    At first glance I thought the doors and 1/4’s were different, but looking closely they are the same as El Camino. Even the dash could have been swapped from a wrecked Grand Prix to give it the Pontiac look. Cool car though, unfortunately, the Pontiac styling doesn’t really do it for me in this form.

    I had a friend back in the day that had a ’73 Ranchero and he swapped out a Thunderbird front end. That looked really sharp.

  11. That Guy

    If this was built by a recognized company as the seller suggests, I would expect there to be some kind of ID plate somewhere. Without anything like that, or other documentation, it’s just an interesting custom. No more or less.

  12. Chris Kennedy

    I like it! Pretty bold and defenatly different. You would be the only one at Cruze night with one!

  13. gbvette62

    There really was no reason for Pontiac to build their own version of the El Camino in the 70’s, they already had one.

    From 71-77, GMC sold an El Camino, called the GMC Sprint. Most, if not all Pontiac dealers, were also GMC dealers and sold Sprints. There was even a Super Sport version of the Sprint, called the SP. In 78, when the El Camino was redesigned and downsized, the GMC Sprint was renamed the Caballero.

    Pontiac did come very close to marketing an El Camino type vehicle, around 2008. Pontiac was importing the Holden Commodore from Australia, and selling it as the Pontiac G8. They toyed with selling a version of Holden’s VE UTE here, as a Pontiac G8 ST (Sport Truck). In the end, it died as a result of GM’s money problems at the time, and Pontiac’s subsequent death.

  14. Don Tennison

    Is it an El Camino with a Poncho front cap?

  15. Vin in NJ

    My guess is it’s a Grand Prix nose, hood, front fenders and doors, that used elCamino glass in the doors to fit the curved bedline. whatever the case is, I’d love to have it

  16. Richard Kaltenbach

    Now Let’s See The BUICK Version With The Front Clip Off Of A 1977 BUICK RIVIERA!!

    • Blyndgesser

      That’s a completely different platform and would not come close to fitting.

  17. Van

    I like both cars. I saw a 77 Olds in Roswell Ga back in the 80s. The red one here shouldn’t be an SS, it’s a 241. 2 seats, 4 barrel, 1 bed.

  18. Miguel

    I don’t want to pay the amount the car would be worth if it was restored when it is in this condition.

    What does this guy think this car is worth all done with no pedigree and no title?

    Also how does he know it is the only Pontiac pick up registered in the state of Texas?

  19. Barzini

    I don’t want to own one but I admire those who have the creativity, skill and ambition to design and build a custom car like this. Not all of them will succeed but they are fun to see.

  20. A.C.Z.

    This is a fairly common sheet metal swap for the mid-seventies GM A bodies. The same can be said for the 80s G bodies. To make the doors fit, all you do is take a part of the door skin that matches the front clip and stitch it to the Elky door.
    This is in NO Way related to the Cadillac Caribou or Mirage. Those were done by a professional coachbuilder. This was done under a shadetree.

  21. D

    Definitely appears to be a 4th generation El Camino with a nose job. Looks pretty cool to me and doubt there would be much of an issue locating parts, as in body / interior. I would like to have it but don’t have $9500 to spare, so I guess my 71 El Camino won’t have a custom stablemate. I wish folks would include the vin, that will tell you what it was born as.

  22. Greg Mosho

    Yeah – this is definitely a 1977 El camino – with a Pontiac nose on it. I own a 1977 Chevy El Camino now – and i have had a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix in the past. I am not 100% sure – and i would know if i could see the interior – but, it would have been really easy to take the nose of the el camino off and put a pontiac nose on it – instead of the other way around. either way – a really cool car!! and i would love to own it!

  23. W9BAG

    Too much time on this guy’s hands. Blasphemous !

  24. H Hoffma

    Overpriced but neat. As a investment not worth a restore, but if it makes you happy it is worth it. I don’t think this car mint is worth much more than 10k if that.

  25. KevinR

    It’s a sheet metal swap. It has been done, literally, hundreds of times. They should have used the back bumper from a Pontiac LeMans wagon (Safari?) to complete the look.

    Swivel buckets and a Trans Am steering wheel would be nice touches too.

    It might make a neat shop truck or parts hauler at the $9500 price, IF everything was complete and good to go. As it sits, a couple grand at best.

  26. Dwight Crawford

    I own the GP pickup. It is a Pontiac with a Pontiac vin# and data plate.
    Title says Pontiac pickup.

    Feel free to come look at it in Texas.

    Dwight

    • charlie

      Thanx for the clarification.It is Indeed Rare.I thought i read that the title was not available.

  27. Dwight Crawford

    I have a copy of the title. I misplaced the original.
    Photographs were taken at the Pontiac Convention at Texas Motor Speedway last week.
    Maybe someone will know something about it.
    I sent off vin to Pontiac Historical and will post what they come up with.
    Pontiac Museum curator has never seen this truck but he took photographs.
    The lower portion of the bed has the same body lines as the lower GP doors.

    ????? Who built it or why. I’ve owned it for nearly 20 years and never checked out the history.

    Since none of the 400plus POCI members at the convention had never seen this truck,I’m going to check it out.

    Dwight

  28. Johnny Mailman B

    buick grand national/el camino mash up….next gen el camino

    Like 1
    • Dwight Crawford

      Look at the door glass and notice they are pretty well straight up.

      Now look at the GP pickup and notice the door glass is slanted as the roof line.

      An El Camino is an “A” body. A GP is an A Body stretch. Don’t know what a GN is but it looks good.

  29. Dwight Crawford

    He is a picture of a portion of the Texas Title

  30. Dwight Crawford

    He is the ID plate.

    • D

      Generally fastened with rivets, this one is attached with screws????

      Like 1
      • Dwight Crawford

        Yes but the vin plate is fastened with rivets.

  31. Dwight Crawford

    Screws are factory on most all Pontiacs I have seen in the 1970’s. Check it out. The vin has the rivets.

    Additional info:
    Texas MVD shows no title history prior to the copy of the title I have in my possession. That title is still on file.

    Could have come to Texas from another State.

  32. Dwight Crawford

    I have a Blue Texas Title in my name.
    Title says Pontiac Pickup.

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