Muscle Truck: 409-Powered 1960 Chevrolet El Camino!

1960 was the second year of Chevrolet’s “gentleman’s pickup,” the El Camino. Unlike an ordinary truck, the El Camino was built off the two-door Chevrolet station wagon platform with the cab and cargo bed integrated into the body. This El Camino is home to a 425 hp, 409 cubic inch V8, circa 1963. Located in the Inland Empire area of California, the truck is available here on craigslist for $19,000. Kudos to rex m for sending this find our way!

The El Camino was Chevy’s answer to the Ford Ranchero, which beat the Bowtie guys to the market by two years. It had a brief initial run of two years (1959-60) as a full-size vehicle, then it took a hiatus until it returned as a mid-size in 1964 based on the new Chevelle. The El Camino would enjoy continuous production from there until 1987. This was not Chevy’s first attempt at coupe-type trucks as they tried in 1955 with the Cameo Carrier. These early El Camino’s may best be remembered for their tailfins, just like their automobile counterparts sported.

This 1960 El Camino is claimed to be a one-owner vehicle that’s been sitting in a garage since 1989. The original buyer decided he wanted to kick some butt with this truck, so he purchased and installed a crate 409 V8 in 1963. This was one of the few engines of the era that would put out at least one horsepower per cube, in this case 425. We don’t know what powerplant it replaced, but a 283 would be a logical guess. The seller does not mention if it runs, only saying it needs some TLC to get back on the road again.

As a California car, the truck spent time in a dry environment, so the body is in good shape with just some tiny rust along the bottom and rear quarters, and there’s one small dent from its time in the garage. We’re told the bed is in like-new condition and was never used to haul anything around. The truck has rare air conditioning (probably an add-on), and it comes with two sets of wheels, Chevy Rally wheels from the late 1960s and 18/20-inch staggered Boyd’s aftermarkets. The bench seat looks to have recently been redone.

1960 saw Chevy build about 14,000 El Camino’s, down from 1959 and below Ford’s Ranchero, which became a compact that year based on the Falcon. Hagerty believes a ’60 El Camino in fair condition is worth about $14,000 and – if totally spiffed up – at least twice that. The seller’s asking price leaves a little room for a restoration, but not a whole lot. But how many El Camino’s are left running around with a 409 (“she’s so fine”)?


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Probably one of the nicest unrestored one of these I’ve ever seen.

    Like 36
  2. Howard A Member

    While I didn’t care for the front styling of a ’60 Chev, I must say, the early El Caminos were just the nicest of all the car/pickup renditions. Slight correction, the Cameo pickups were still trucks, and not car conversions. The El Camino , and other car/pickups, did neither job well, but without going back to Studebakers Coupe Express or Hudson, the original car/pickups, these were the nicest, and a better example I doubt you’ll find. I always wondered what a ’61, a style I liked, El Camino would have looked like?

    Like 16
    • CCFisher

      Chevrolet offered a coupe-pickup similar to the Studebaker coupe express from 1936-1942.

      Like 2
    • Phlathead Phil

      Simple, just envision a ‘61 station wagon with its roof cut off behind station 1. Station 2 would be where the rear seat would have gone and station 3 would be the cargo hold. Thus, a “Station Wagon” becomes an El Camino (The Kings Highway.) IMHO, I’m thinking if GM would have left it on the Impala frame, it would have gone farther.

      Like 2
    • Charles Sawka

      Find a 61 two door wagon and go for it.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’m not a big El Camino fan. My uncle had a ‘59 El Camino and my dad bought a ‘59 Ranchero. They both found out that a car was a lousy platform to use for a truck. Then my dad decided to try it again in ‘64 and ‘66. That ended Dad’s love affair with the car/truck but I ended up with a couple of uncles who drove El Caminos and Rancheros into the late 70s. If I was ever attracted to an El Camino it was a ‘69 SS396 version I saw in Great Falls. Something like that could’ve at least hauled the beer to the party. Well, my ‘47 pickup did a great job of that anyway.

    This style would be my favorite behind the ‘69 SS. But I have to admit that the real appeal is the 409. I would clean it up, fix what’s needed, PITCH that aftermarket A-C and just drive it. Have a little fun with it…

    Like 13
  4. JOHN Member

    This is sweet! The El Camino is polarizing to most people, it’s not exactly a car or a truck, but I love them because they stand out in the sea of Chevelle’s in cruise nights and shows. Some of the Chevelle guys turn their nose up at it and the truck guys laugh. Mine is a 70 SS 396, burgundy with white SS stripes, it never fails to get attention at cruise nights, exactly why I love it. I agree with geomechs, clean it up, fix what’s needed, PITCH that aftermarket A-C and just drive it. Have a little fun with it…

    Like 9
  5. Miguel

    I wonder why the tail lights were changed.

    Like 3
    • Tom Nemec Member

      I know 59 El Caminos very well. I don’t prefer the 1960. With that said, are you saying these taillights are not correct for a 1960?

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        Tom, They look like ’63 lenses to me.

        Like 2
    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      That’s what they did back then – simple swap – just like the engine.

    • Chuck C.

      True. Looks like ’63 Chevy taillamps or at least lenses. Good catch,Miguel !

      Like 1
  6. Vince H

    The emblems show this started out with a 348. Pictures are not good enough to tell if it is a 409.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      I’m not knowledgeable on the 348/409 series but I seem to remember that the 425 hp motor had dual quads and solid lifters. Anybody know?

      Like 4
      • 86_Vette_Convertible

        IIRC there were at least 2 versions of the 409. The higher output version was solid lifters and dual quads. As I understand there was a hydraulic lifter, single carb version also.

        Like 2
      • gbvette62

        There were multiple versions of the 409 offered between 61 and 65.

        In 1961, the 409 was rated at 360 hp, and had a single 4 bbl and solid lifters. In 62 there were 2 production versions, a single 4 with solids rated at 380 hp, and a 2×4 with solids rated at 409 hp. In late 62, Chevrolet offered a Special Service Package to select racers, that included a unique 2 piece 2×4 intake, different heads and cam. Solid lifter 409’s were only ever available with a 3 or 4 speed manual trans.

        For 63, Chevrolet added a new, hydraulic lifter, lower compression 340 hp 409, that was available with either a manual or automatic trans. The 2 solid lifter engines were increased to 400 and 425 hp, by means of different pistons, and a higher redline. The same 3 409’s were offered in 64, but for 65, the 425 horse version was dropped. In February 65, the 409’s were dropped altogether, and replaced by the 396.

        For 63 there was also a 427 version of the 409, rated at 430 hp, that was part of the Z11 light weight drag racing package. The 63 Z11 427 was a completely different engine than the 63 NASCAR “Mystery Motor” 427, which was the Mark I version of the big block Chevrolet engine.

        I can’t tell from the photos in the ad, but if it is a real 409 in the El Camino, the dipstick will be on the passenger side. 348’s had the dipstick on the driver’s side.

        Like 15
      • Camaro guy

        Yes it did twin Carter AFB’s and yes solid lifter cam but don’t remember the specs 340hp motors had hydro. lifters

        Like 1
      • Bill E

        I think you are correct but worked in auto machine shops from 1975 thru 2008 and only remember one from a 62 Impala SS built in that platform one of the quickest of the 60’s I ever saw.

    • Bill D.

      If it originally had a 348, tbe 409 would have been an easy swap.

  7. lc

    I like the ’63 Chevy tail lights. Well, the three of then anyway :)

    Like 2
  8. Kenneth Carney

    Had one of these and loved it. Mine was a 348 cube tri power truck with a
    factory 4-speed. Bought it from one of
    Mom’s friends dirt cheap in ’70 for $150.
    After I fixed all the body rot, I used it to
    haul band equipment for awhile before
    selling it to a kid I knew in school who really wanted it. I had my ’66 Caddy Calais back then so letting it go was
    easy. You could get more dates with a
    Caddy than you could with an El Camino
    anyway. At least that’s how it worked
    for me.

    Like 4
  9. PaulG

    Nice, especially if it truly is a 409. The engine alone would be worth at least 1/2 the ask.
    The damage to the LR quarter is significant because of the body creases, no small feat to get right, let alone to find the damaged stainless…

    Like 3
  10. Chris

    Is it just my eye or does the drivers side rear tire look to be at a slightly odd angle? I know that there is body damage to the rear but wasn’t sure if that also included a hit to the suspension.

    Like 2
    • Jon Rappuhn

      That was the first thing I noticed too. It would take a close inspection, me thinks. Still a rare find, probably not too many at local shows (or even in your local grocery store parking lot.)

  11. 200mph

    Grille emblem should also have crossed flags if originally a W-engine car (348, in this case). I have a ’60, upgraded to full Impala trim inside and out.

    Love it, and wonder if these would have sold better had Chevy tried that with their not-quite-a-truck, one-passenger-row-shy-of-a-car 59-60 Elco.

  12. Phlathead Phil

    Looks like things got a little hot on the R/H side of the hood.

  13. ACZ

    I’m in love!

  14. William c Harris

    The back flags says it was a factory 348

    Like 1
    • Tom Nemec Member

      The flags do indicate that it came with a 348 providing the flags are correct to the car.

      409, if I am right, was not an option in 59 or 60 in the El Camino. I had a 59 with a 283.

      I don’t prefer the 60.

  15. Morley Member

    It would look good in my garage beside this one. Now how do I get it home????

    Like 2
    • Phlathead Phil

      I suppose but if that’s yours it’s a ‘59.

      Nice, very nice!!

  16. Chris in Pineville

    love elCaminos.
    don’t love red cars.
    this is the cleanest unrestored example I’ve seen lately.

    a bit pricey, but if I had time for a major project I’d sell the engine/tranny and put a 6-3speed-overdrive in it, then paint it……

  17. Patrick Michael Shanahan

    gbvette62, You’re right on. As a street racer in the 60’s I remember guys trying to pass off 409 cu as 348 but like you mentioned, dip stick on the other side.

    Like 1
    • Morley Member

      Switch the oil pans, then dip stick is on the “correct” side

      Like 1
  18. Steve S

    I would have to scrap the aftermarket wheels and keep the chevy rally wheels. Then put a 4 speed manual transmission in it.

    Like 2
    • Steve S

      I guess it already has the 4 speed manual transmission I was looking at the picture closer and seen the shifter sticking up through the floor.

  19. bobhess bobhess Member

    With Steve. That’s all it needs. My wife wants it for her grocery cart….. Nice!

  20. R. Hedden

    The Chevy Rally rims are a classic, timeless design. They look like they belong on every Chevy they are put on.

  21. HC

    The bed looks suprisingly in good shape. That and its a 409 with add on factory air? Please! Who cares about tail lights that guys are nit picking about. If i had the money and a trailer it would be gone!

    • Miguel

      HC, it is not nit picking.

      People don’t spend money just to spend money.

      Usually when the wrong part is installed, it was for a reason.

      maybe it was hit in the back and they couldn’t find the correct lenses.

      That is why I asked I wonder why they were changed.

  22. martinsane

    For 20 large, you’d think a couple hundred spent on a detail and a couple more to get her running would solidify that ask real quick. Very confusing.

  23. Tooyoung4heyday Member

    Just plain cool….Nothing against the Chevelibu versions which are cool in their own right but I’ve always thought the ’59-60 versions looked the best. This one got even cooler with 409 installed. I know there’s a lot of people out there with negative opinions about the 409 but its still iconic. I have my eye locally on a red ’60 Elk thats been in storage for a while, I believe its a hot rodded 283 car though. I also agree with the comment on the rallye wheels looking great on pretty much any chevy, weird how that works.

    Like 2
    • ACZ

      I couldn’t agree more!

  24. BENJAMIN harrison Root

    i think a little over priced for all the changes ben in fla elcamino guy bens detailing empiourm and classic cars

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