End of the Road: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

My father-in-law has a ’59 El Camino sitting in his side yard awaiting restoration; seeing this sad ’59 makes me appreciate its overall completeness, and wonder if he could use any of the parts this truck still has to offer. There are a few goodies here; the question is, are there enough to justify the buy-it-now price of $1,760, plus the cost of removing this hulk from its current resting place? If you think so, head here to eBay, where this El Camino is listed as a parts car out of Hillsboro, Iowa.

The first thing that catches my eye (well, maybe the second, after the swiss-cheese rear wheel openings) is this custom grille. It’s a much simpler affair than the El Camino’s original glittering chrome eggcrate look, and not perfectly contoured to the shape of the car, but it looks clean and purposeful and makes me think about the people who loved and fussed over this now-derelict car over the years.

The next thing I notice—more relevant to this car’s value as a source of parts—is that all of the glass appears to be fully intact. The big front wraparound windshield will be useful to anyone with a ’59 Chevrolet, but the rear window is an El Camino-only piece, making it the more valuable find. My curiosity wants to poke at those rust holes in the floor of the bed, by the way, to see if the rear seat footwells stamped into the floorpan of the Brookwood station wagon-derived El Camino are still intact underneath. That bed, a bolt-in affair, was Chevrolet’s first all-metal pickup bed.

Also of likely interest is the 283 V8 with four-barrel carb under the hood. It doesn’t run, but the parts to return it to roadworthy status should be easy to find and inexpensive, making this engine a nice potential upgrade for an originally six-cylinder-powered car, or one that’s lost its original powerplant. Come to think of it, I don’t know what engine my father-in-law’s El Camino has, but Andy’s a big motor kind of guy so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s got the 348.

Even better, the 283 is mated to a four-speed manual, an appealingly sporty combo. I’m not sure there’s much else to salvage from this interior—maybe the radio—but the chunky floor shifter is another intriguing remnant of this car’s past.

Presumably, this pile of trim and other detritus is shown because some (?) of it belongs to the El Camino. Add that to the glass, the engine and transmission, and maybe the custom grille, and what do you think of the $1,760 ask for this El Camino’s salvageable parts?

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Comments

  1. slickb

    Had one… it was almost all restored and we had to move the saddest part was the car didn’t even get sold, it was sent to the scrapper.
    :( sad sad memory

    • glen

      I’m hoping the scrapper put it aside.

  2. Metoo

    Hey look…….patina! Big selling plus.

  3. gbvette62

    I’m guessing it has a 3 speed, not a 4 speed. It appears that it was originally a “three on the tree”, and the seller only says that it has a manual trans. It doesn’t look like a 59 4 speed floor/tunnel either, so it’s likely a 3 speed that someone added a floor shifter too.

    I love El Caminos and 59-60 Chevrolets, but they seem to be about the worse GM cars ever, when it comes to rust.

    • Jerry Brentnell

      lump the 59s right in there with 60s and then jump up a few years to 73 impalas big ugly tanks, gutless with 307s, lest we forget the upside down bathtubs gm called caprice, all forgettable junk!

  4. healeydays

    Alot of the unique parts, especially the chrome, doors and some of the glass isn’t reproduced, so you could probably get $2k worth of parts out of it. Probably not much more…

    • John

      All glass for the 59 el Camino is reproduced in both original and tinted versions.

  5. Duffy Member

    Wow/ Would anyone want to mess with this one? The scrapper could get his $350.00 for junk, let it be.

  6. Bitsy

    Not to pick nits, but it looks like that HVAC ductwork in the last photo is from a later model El Camino.

  7. Madbrit

    Nowadays all the glass is available, even in tint and windshield heavy top tint form.
    I have a 43,000 mile 1959, with numbers matching and am the 3rd owner. Mostly original paint and quite a usable car. When I purchased it, it had a non-original 4 speed close ratio Muncie which I changed out to a TH350 but kept all the parts to put bit back to a manual if a future owner wishes. Converted it to 4 wheel disc brakes and also kept all the original parts.
    I see lots of valuable trim parts on this sad vehicle, have seen worse restored but at what cost.

    • LARRY

      Is this white one for sale?

  8. junkman Member

    The trim on the tail fins is difficult to find, and even harder to find, the clips that hold it in place. Front headlight pans are very tough to get, also tailgates. As mentioned these are wicked rusters, junk yards in the South West are pricey but do the job getting these cars back looking good. I had one and sent the only pictures I had of it to the guy that ended up buying it. I’ll be more careful about that in the future.

  9. gaspumpchas

    Hopefully someone who needs a parts car can make a deal wih the owner. LOVE the elcaminos–good luck.

  10. mike D

    rusty frame… nope.. no thanks !

  11. Matt Member

    I am a mopar guy, but the 59 chevys are the most beautiful things ever produced, i mean those fins and taillights, the grille, what is not to love?. Recently, i saw a green ’59 el camino with 283, 3 on the tree, very basic, but very clean. He was asking 12k, sold pretty quick.

  12. Madmatt

    About The only thing that rusted worse than the 57–59 Ford Rancheros
    We’re the 59–60 El Caminos sadly…🤔. I know I’ve seen some real
    Rusty ones even in northern CA 20 + years ago.GM must have had some
    Inherent design flaws,..like Ford’s..,that caused these to get so Rusty.?
    This does look like a good deal on a parts vehicle,if one was to need
    The parts it has..? 59–60 El Caminos have always been cool😎,but to find a
    Good project….is getting more expensive….and harder..!
    These early Caminos will only become more valuable in the future….!

  13. Dan in Texas

    Hmmm…I know where this is a one owner 59 bel air I could have for free. Needs a drivetrain, and some odds and ends. This could be the parts car for it!

  14. Charles Clark

    I’ve been looking for one of these. I wonder if it has a title

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