Supercharged 1959 Chevrolet El Camino 4×4?!!

There’s no doubt about it, I like El Caminos, I pour over listings all of the time. That said, I freely admit that I’m not a big fan of the first-gen (’59-’60) or the fourth-gen (’73-’77). The ’59, and its similar ’60 follow-on, are noteworthy for their extensive trim and body integration steelwork. And they were hardly slouching in the power department as robust engines and four-speed manual transmissions were available too. Four-wheel drive, uh, I don’t think so and I doubt that it was ever on the minds of the engineers. Today we have an example of a ’59 El Camino that has gone where Chevrolet didn’t go and this Camino is a doozy. It’s located in Bohemia, New York and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of  $5,800, reserve not yet met. Thanks to Larry D for this most unique discovery!

We see customizations all of the time that are based on the body from “A” being plunked down of the frame from “B”, and somehow, everything lines up and goes together. And that’s what we have here, a ’59 El Camino body, that originally sat on a 119″ wheelbase X-frame, now perched atop a 129.5″ wheelbase 1979 Chevy Suburban perimeter frame. And the wheels have ended up where they are supposed to be, in the Camino’s wheel openings. How’d they do that? My guess is a shortened Suburban frame but the seller makes no elaboration regarding the conversion nor has he included underside images. Anyway, it looks right, sits even and level, and possesses straight and uncut bodywork. The seller adds that all of the trim is in place and in good shape – though the “Chevrolet” hood badge is missing. And speaking of the hood, it is painted while the remainder of the body is covered in gray primer to enhance the zombie apocalypse vibe or allow for a refinishing in a hue of the next owner’s choice. I have to say that this conversion reminds me a bit of Jethro Bodine’s monster truck mash-up from the 1993 Beverly Hillbillies movie.

Things stay interesting in the engine room where we find a blown 383 CI “stroker” V8 engine connected to a four-speed manual transmission. The seller allows that the engine is endowed with, “aluminum heads and a 671 BDS blower, (the) car has power steering, power brakes, tilt wheel, and front disc brakes…” The seller makes no mention as to how this Camino runs and drives but one has to imagine that it’s quite an adventure. One caveat, the front axle is not connected to the transfer case, though the driveshaft is included in the sale. That tells you something is up with fitment or some other issue, otherwise, it would be in place and connected – so we’re technically on hold regarding true 4X4 status.

The interior is another perfect example of let’s see how much detritus I can stuff in here so you, the prospective buyer, can’t really get a complete look – I’ll never understand that form of merchandising. Anyway, the red fabric bucket seats are of unknown origin (Suburban maybe?), one door card is missing and the other is sporting duct tape, and there are gauges and other electronic items attached to the underside of the dash. The distinctive 1959 Chevrolet instrument panel presents well and gives a hint of what the exterior color may have originally been. The immediately recognizable ’59 Chevy steering wheel has been replaced with an inexpensive aftermarket piece.

So now we ask, why? Maybe it’s more of a why not? Perhaps the original Camino frame was shot while the body was still in reasonable condition. Whatever the case, this car/truck has undergone a rather impressive conversion and a tip of the hat is owed to the craftsman that made it all come together. Now for owning it…I’m not so sure, how about you?


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  1. Lyman

    This is what happens when you have long cold winters, and a heated garage to tinker around in, me I it, the way it stands, and what can I say I’m a big fan of early 60’s cars and all that chrome, and this one looks like all the hard to find peices are still on the car, the windows show well. I would never take it off-road, one brush with a tree and those wings would be clipped

    Like 6
  2. local_sheriff

    Unique yes, but in my mind it looks more like some kiddie’s toy car than a serious hobby car. I’m a big fan of these 1st gen Elkys so to me this is kinda waste. If its frame was rusted out it wouldn’t be that hard to locate a better, buildable X-frame from some 4door donor car.

    Wonder how extensive the alterations were done to fit the Elky body to the Burb frame? If not too comprehensive and if the body is sound I wouldn’t be surprised if someone bought this project to make it an X-frame ’59 Elky again and sell the rest

    Like 4
  3. Charles Sawka

    Again guys ? The old car hobby used to be about having fun with cars. I’m sure the builder of this had a blast ! Just because it’s not how it came off the assembly line doesn’t mean it’s not good. C’mon lighten up.

    Like 34
    • chuck

      I agree with Charles. Everything doesn’t have to be factory stock to be interesting and fun. I hope some of these guy’s aren’t as critical of their wives.

      Like 11
      • Rj

        It does in Commiefornia, and soon color will not be yours to choose.

        Like 1
  4. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It is different, looks to be a Heinz 57 to me. In addition to the 4×4 conversion, other than the dash I don’t think there’s a single original piece inside that thing. As has been said, it’s only original once and this one definitely will never be original again.

  5. Howard A Member

    Love the ’59 El Camino, 4×4, okay, looks cool, could be fun, supercharged drag racer motor,,,come on now. If they made it for actually using, that’s one thing, but all this shows, is I got a bigger tally wacker than you, and someday, probably after I’m long gone, we’ll get past that foolishness. Reason no front drive shaft, they probably twisted it off on the first run.

    Like 7
  6. Jay B

    Looks like big fun!

    Like 4
  7. Mike

    I like it PLENTY! How unique? Here where I live, we use our 4×4’s to cruise the beach. I have not seen a single 1959 El Camino in Hatteras! I’ve seen a Lincoln Mark VIII, a Unimog w/a camper on the back, a few older Bronco’s and Blazers and a pile of new Toyota’s, Fords, Dodge’s and Chevy’s but no ’59 El Camino’s. This one has a blower too? I like being different and this is a different as it gets. I think whoever did a doggone good job too!

    Like 8
  8. John

    I suspect “Hold my beer” had some part to play in this..

    Like 9
  9. Lowell Peterson

    I love it! Creative but looks to be well done. Way kooler than some 70’s Bronco/Blazer in parallel dressing. I hope that missing driveline was twisted off while stress testing. ITS AWESOME!

    Like 4
  10. 433jeff

    Great rig i like the fact that he didnt jack it to the sky, maybe the driveshaft is out just to do burnouts, put it back in on snow season. The other car that really looks good 4wd is the 58 edsel, to me this thing is special, mostly cuz of the tasteful way the mods were done. Let it snow!

    Like 3
  11. deak E Stevens

    What a waste of money to do this to a beautiful car,this personal to be from the midwest,Midwest, like they only have the mindset to destroy something.

    Like 2
  12. sw2cam

    Why was it done, maybe the frame was rotting in half. At least it wasn’t all deeked up and left to rot in the school yard. Ya got to love personals from the midwest with their destructive mindset to destroy something into a usable item.

    Like 5
  13. CaCarDude

    Outstanding work here, I am partial to the first year El Camino after having two in the last 30 years. This is the first time seeing what they look like in 4×4 fashion. On the interior paint being Grey that is what all the first generation El Camino’s came with regardless of the exterior color. So if you see any interior color other than Grey in a 59 or 60 you can bet the interior has been repainted.
    Like others have said here I believe the original X frame fell victim to the tin worm and was replaced with the newer burb frame. Nice find here!

    Like 1
  14. Morley

    Built this in 1981, 427, 671 blower Richnobd five speed. Still have it, driven all over the US and Canada to the big shows. I have never trailered it. And you people who think it is not fun do not know what a hot rod is all about. So lighten up you enjoy yours what ever it is–I am sure I wont like it– and I will enjoy mine I know that I would enjoy this 59 4X4

    Like 13
  15. Sirlurxalot

    I love it. I am a soulmate of whomever put this together. I’d put a few finishing touches on this and daily it proudly.

    Like 2
  16. ERIK

    The posts here show the two sides of the coin of our hobby. I believe “It’s only stock once and stock never goes out of style or value” and that we are caretakers and preservers of the vehicles of yesteryear. But I understand that there is an element of thought out there of “Hold my beer Billybob while I grab my wrenches” that likes to personalize vehicles based upon what available and what budget allows and reality TV shows like Monster Garage and YouTube builds has allowed such practices to be normalized. Luckily for us all there are magazines, websites, TV shows, etc that cater to our side of the hobby we prefer and we can subscribe or look or we can skip on by.

    Like 2
  17. martinsane

    I am with the like it crowd.

    As for elcaminos 2nd gen is the lamest with 1st and 3rd being the best.

  18. Jwaltb

    One “pours” from a bottle, and “pores” over something interesting..

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Last time, I dumped a cup of coffee on my keyboard, does that count?


      Like 2
  19. Robt

    Who doesn’t like a blower sticking through the hood?
    Would have loved to do something like that with my 60 4dr belair back in the eighties.
    After all they are only machines, to be used and … Let’s have some fun.

  20. Terrry

    It needs more than the drive shaft to become a 4×4. There’s no 4×4 lever inside, so that means linkage is probably needed as well.

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