Not An Everyday Find! 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

El Camino’s are pretty common, especially nicely restored examples. They are a favorite of hot-rodders and pro-tourers. Here is a first-year example that is neither a hot rod nor a pro-tourer but is pretty complete and mostly original, located in Coram, Montana and listed here on eBay for an opening bid of $7,999. A brief history, the El Camino was Chevrolet’s 1959 response to Ford’s Ranchero, introduced two years earlier. It was a half car/half pick-up truck built on the “B” (full-size) platform for two years and then discontinued. After a four year absence, the El Camino returned to the “A” platform (mid-size Chevelle) in 1964 and was a sales success through 1987.

The first generation, 1959 and 1960, seem to be either loved or hated primarily because the 1959 full-size Chevrolet was a polarizing design and those elements flow through to the El Camino. The 1960 model softened some of the ‘59’s more extreme styling tendencies but there is no mistaking the lineage. Time changes all and the 1959 Chevrolet has become more acceptable and desirable as of late – certain models, depending upon their equipment, are very collectible. Incorporating the ‘59’s design into a half pick-up truck layout makes for a strong visual statement, I know I like it.

Power in 1959 extended from a 135 HP 235 CI six-cylinder engine all the way to a 335 horsepower 348 CI “Turbo-Thrust” engine. Today’s find has the base six-cylinder engine driving through a three-speed manual floor shifted transmission. The owner says that the engine in this Camino runs but it is tired and will need some work. The owner also claims that this vehicle has been parked in its current location for the last 37 years. Cause for concern is that it is outside and the tin worm has worked its way through the floor pan though the frame is supposedly solid – there are no pictures to confirm or deny.

While the bed is rusty looking, it is apparently surface rust and the integrity has not been compromised. Of larger concern is the dent in the cab roof, apparently, a shed fell on it some number of years ago. Hopefully, the panel can be straightened, a ’59 El Camino roof panel is not an every day, off the shelf part.

As for the interior, well it’s inside. There appears to be a strato-bench seat from a later model Impala. While it’s obviously wrong for the El Camino, it appears to be in reasonable shape. The original steering wheel is gone but the dash ornamentation seems to all be there. The issue is, as mentioned earlier, the floor – this Camino will need metalwork.

Cars of this vintage had a lot of external trim; in the case of the El Camino, much of it unique. While there were 22,000+ Caminos built in ’59, the number is minuscule compared to the Impala/Belair/Biscayne trio so they are rare by comparison and special trim pieces can be expensive and hard to find. And that is a strong suit for this example, it looks like most of that unique trim is present. So what do you think, would you take this project on? This is a mostly original and seemingly complete example of a collectible and seldom seen special vehicle.

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Comments

  1. Chebby Staff

    $100 is an opening bid. $7,999 is a reserve, or a Craigslist price, or a Buy It Now, or should have a Make Offer button. Why does eBay indulge silly people trying to hedge all their bets. Do you want to sell the damn thing, or not?

    Like 11
  2. Chuck

    The damaged roof, missing Camino only trim, rusty floor, missing seat & six-cylinder is a turn off for me. I’m guessing the floor shifter was not original.

    Like 2
  3. Krindall

    I used to see the 59-60’s all the time when i was a kid but it was usually old guys driving them, young guys usually had the 68-72 models. In 2002 I bought a 60 283 3 spd off the original owner’s son for $2600. Faded paint and surface rust but complete and ran great

    Like 4
  4. BRAKTRCR

    A friend bought a similar 59, in early 70’s It was beautiful outside. Had a supposedly fresh 283, and a Powerglide. Unfortunately, the fresh 283, was a rattle can rebuild. He was so disappointed.
    I think the subject el Camino can be saved, and likely worth the effort. But, it will be a lot of effort. While I still feel the 60 is a nicer looking car, the appearance of the 59, has grown on me significantly in the past 10 years or so. This 59 is begging for a modern drive train in my opinion, and the fact that it’s already a floor shift stick, makes it more appealing.

    Like 4
  5. Ian C

    One of my absolute favorite vehicles and on my list that I will own at some point. I can guarantee that mine will be much nicer than this one. This, quite sadly, is bordering on parts car status.

    Like 4
  6. TimM

    I’m sure the guy had to use the whole street sign to cover the hole in the floor from putting the shifter in!!! Cool car!!! Lots of work with a car that there isn’t a lot of after market parts for!! Hate taking dents out of a roof!!!!

    Like 2
  7. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    I want the El KaBong and the Wagoneer, and the Ford.

  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    My day had a ’59 Ranchero, which he loved although he quickly found out that it was NOT a truck. He sold it and ran pickups until he thought the El Camino was improved enough to try it again. A ’64 and a ’66 which did their best still didn’t hold up so Dad swore off them and went back to pickups. However, my uncle decided that a ’59 El Camino was the answer to everyone’s woes. His was blue, much the same as the left front fender and hood. Through the years he always lamented on getting rid of it. I guess THAT El Camino was the best one…

    Like 3
  9. James Martin

    I think the price is to high. Some bones there but not alot. And there are not alot of parts avalable. Some more for 59 more than 60. I had a 60 camino, had a bit of rust, missing trim and some low rate body modifications and I sold it for 2000. He most likely will take 4000.

    Like 2
  10. bobhess bobhess Member

    Have seen a few of these restored and in person they are impressive. The ’59 was the only car of that era that the bat wings matched the design of the rest of the car. Fell in love with the ’59s when a friend showed up with a black over red convertible with the 348, 4 speed and posi rear end. Slightly lowered, it was and still is one of my all time favorites. This car is rough but it’s not hard to like the way it looks.

    Like 3
  11. canadainmarkseh Member

    I used to think these were ugly but I guess part of that was that any car that I ever saw was an old rust bucket like this car. I’ve since seen restored ones and they are impressive, I do like the 59’s more the 60’s models and for me it’s all about the tail lights, the 59’s are way cooler and that all there is to it. There’s always three set back for me bidding on these time, money, and space. Good luck to the buyer. Nice find.

    Like 1
  12. local_sheriff

    That starting bid is close to hilarious!🤣 Its body seems shockingly solid for being stored outside so long, but the work to fix its floor not to mention the frickin’ damage to the roof will make this a comprehensive project. Seems to be additional surprises in the quarters too…

    I simply love Elkys of this gen and I honestly hope someone will take upon the restoration of this, but as James mentions above 4k would be max…

    Like 3
  13. Miguel

    I dislike cars very much when they have been messed with as much as this one has.

    Somebody put a do it yourself floor shifter in it and also the aftermarket turn signal system.

    It was just as easy to buy a new turn signal switch for inside the column.

    Like 2
  14. jimmy the orphan

    I don’t like 59 chevys at all. Now the 60’s were cool. trimmed down those goofy big flat fins. The 60 caminos were cool the impalas even more so. I respect Canada for seeing it the other way around. that’s what makes collecting old cars fun. If we all only liked 1 year chevy. ford, buick ect. it would be boring and all the cars would of been gone in a few weeks years ago. LOL But really 8k is pie in the sky $. Put a car on ebay that’s worth the reserve and go from there. Put it on craigslist for 4k obo news paper too.I don’t like ebay for any cars really anyway.As always just me Later………..JIMMY

    Like 1

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