Original Farm Find: 1985 Chevrolet El Camino SS

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I am happy to count myself among a small, but vocal contingent of people who feel that General Motors should put the El Camino back in production.  We hear all this incessant whining about how the average American doesn’t need a full-size truck and that owning one is overkill.   Well, that may be true in the sense that we don’t regularly require a truck with as much capability as a full-size can deliver.  However, we buy these vehicles because they are the only way we can get our hands on a truck with a V-8 driving the rear wheels.  Once upon a time, we were able to purchase sensibly sized trucks with a V-8 and rear wheel drive based upon a car chassis.  The El Camino, GMC’s Caballero, and Ford’s Ranchero were available for those who wanted car-like comfort and stance and could carry a moderately heavy load.  Yet, despite their usefulness, they were gone in a flash.  This 1985 Chevrolet El Camino is a good example of what they took from us.

Turn the clock back to 1985.  In that year, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke, Michael Jordan was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, and the average cost of a new house was $89,330.  Oh, to have a time machine…  If you did have a chance to go back in time, then you could pick up a Chevrolet El Camino SS just like this one with a starting MSRP of under $10,000.  The El Camino was in its fifth generation, which would stretch from 1978 through 1987.  With styling based on the Malibu, the El Camino that emerged in 1978 was for the first time riding on its own chassis despite borrowing heavily from the corporate parts bin.

A styling upgrade from a two to four headlight front end in 1982 lived on until the closing curtain in 1987.  The El Camino you see here is a 1985 Super Sprot, or SS, version.  The SS option was not a tire-melting sports car version as the name would insinuate.  It consisted of a more upmarket trim package and rally wheels.  Sometimes these get confused with the Choo-Choo SS, which was built from 1983 through 1987.  These aftermarket conversions were claimed to be ones that left the factory as SS El Caminos,  but historians believe that few actual SS package El Caminos were modified by Choo-Choo Customs to accept a Monte Carlo SS-type nose and various other cosmetic upgrades.  The company did slap SS decals on them though.

If you want to know what a standard El Camino SS looked like in 1985, then this example is a good indication.  Minus the fading and wear, of course.  Usually, SS models were loaded down with options, and this one was no exception.  It is equipped with air conditioning, an AM/FM radio with a cassette player, cruise control, power windows, power locks, power steering, power brakes, and a tilt steering wheel.  Inside, it has a velour-covered split bench seat that would look at home in any GM personal luxury coupe.  Under the hood is a garden variety 305 cubic-inch V-8, and it is believed to be backed up with a four-speed 200-4R automatic transmission.

The seller tells us that this truck was a “farm find,” but does not detail exactly why.  We are told that it was purchased from an older couple and has always been a California vehicle.  While the seller’s claim that it is in good condition might be one of those “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” kind of statements, the truck is described as free of any corrosion more serious than surface rust.  The tailgate is said to need some work and a complete refinishing of the body is certainly in this El Camino’s future.

The big selling point of this El Camino is its originality.  Nothing has been altered, modified, or changed outside of maintenance items.  While the mileage is listed as 27,776, it seems safe to say that the odometer has rolled over at least once.  Despite the mileage, it is said to “start right up and runs great.”  To prove this, the truck has recently passed California’s onerous Emissions testing and is road-ready until April of 2025.

While tired, this is a solid truck that could easily be brought back to very good condition with a repaint.  From there, you could probably drive this El Camino into the sunset.  Parts are readily available, they are easy to work on once you get past the nest of hoses we see above, and they still excel at being a small, luxurious truck.  Every five years or so, GM hints that a new version is just around the corner.  With the proliferation of full-size trucks that seem to be bigger than over-the-road trucks from the 1970s, it would be nice to have something that fits into home garages and parking spaces at Wal-Mart.  Who knows.  What is old is new again seems to be a marketing plan for manufacturers these days.  Maybe we will get lucky.

If you are a fan of car-based trucks and want a highly original example to restore, then this 1985 Chevrolet El Camino SS for sale on eBay in Martinez, California may be the truck you are looking for.  This two-tone blue truck is currently sitting at a $4,550 bid with just two days to go.  Or, if you cannot wait, it can be purchased at the Buy it Now price of $6,200.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Super Sprot indeed.

    Like 5
  2. JDC

    I would far prefer that they brought back small pickups like the S10 or the LUV. I’m really durprised that someone (Kia? Mitsubishi?) Doesn’t take advantage of the market for small pickups.

    Like 4
  3. Al camino

    Somebody got they’re moneys worth out of this camino!

    Like 1
  4. Jeff

    I luv the Camino

    Ford made a Maverick 4 door in both regular and hybrid options. The Ranchero had a longer bed and hauled more.

    Like 1
  5. Dusty Rider

    I had a ’79, it was the only vehicle I’ve ever had that I could load a Harley in by myself. I loved that truck, might try to find one in white.

    Like 3
  6. chrlsful

    love (just) the final gen (3rd?) chevells. Wagon, sedan, this, coup, vert. The square lines. Big grill. Almost go for this model just for the sweeping back curved window/hdbrd ? Had one as company car. Hard to keep wheels on pavement as I got a ‘chirp’ no matter how light I stepped on it at each stop sign & stop light (“over powered”? wrong rear gear?)

    Like 2
  7. ACZ

    Almost a twin to the one I have owned for the last 33 years, except mine has buckets and console. I wouldn’t sell it for anything.

    Like 6
  8. Stan

    Choo-choo limited ed. models may bring even more cash 💸 💰

    Like 0
  9. Henry DavisMember

    I like it, I want it, and if the BMW I’m bidding on at BAT falls thru I may own it!

    Like 4

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