Owned By Frank Sinatra? 1972 Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet followed Ford into the “gentlemen’s pickup” market in 1959 with the introduction of the El Camino. For 1959-60, it was based on the full-size Chevy, was then disappeared only to return in 1964 as part of the new Chevelle lineup. This 1972 edition is from the truck’s third-highest production year and is said to have once been owned by “Old Blue Eyes” himself, Frank Sinatra Sr. Located now in Nashwauk, Minnesota, this pickup is in questionable running order and has plenty of rust, but it’s available here on craigslist for $12,000. Our thanks to Pat L. for once again turning up something a bit out of the ordinary.

From 1964-87, the El Camino was in continuous production, with more than 63,000 units built in 1972 alone. During its Chevelle days, the pickup was a passenger car from the windshield forward and a modified station wagon from there back. GMC added their version of the truck in 1971, first called the Sprint and later the Caballero. This edition is said to be offered by the third owner who has had the truck since 1991.

The body of this El Camino is going to need a lot of work. There is rust in some of the sheet metal, especially the floorboards which are very crusty and have holes in places. So, regardless of any intrinsic value of it being previously owned by a celebrity might have, it’s not going to be a small project. Under the red primer in most places should be a coat of yellow paint, supposedly the original color of the pickup.

Though we believe the truck runs, the seller says there is some piston noise after at least 100,000 miles of use (the odometer is broken, so the real mileage would simply be a guess). A 350 cubic inch V8 is under the hood, paired with an automatic transmission. If you think the Sinatra claim is interesting, then the truck’s source of propulsion is going to wow you. We’re told that it runs on either gasoline or propane gas which can be switched while driving! There is even a propane tank in the bed of the truck and extra hoses and such under the hood. But why?

Now to the Sinatra claim. Old Frank is known for having had his fair share of automobiles, many fine and interesting models, though probably not as extensive as the collection Jay Leno owns. But they tended to migrate to wildly different cars, like a 1962 Dual Ghia of which just 26 were made mostly for celebrities and other wealthy folks. Frank owning an El Camino does pop up a time or two online, though you don’t find a photo of him behind the wheel of one. There is a DMV registration slip from 1972 that the seller has with his name on it.

The seller refers to this truck twice as being “a real money maker” but the one profiting off the truck initially will be the parties hired to restore it. The truck popped up for sale about seven months ago (for the same price) and references to its existence go back to at least 2005 when it was rumored to have been up for sale then for $50,000, but who knows what condition it would have been in at that time. Someone wanting to restore this truck should first look at it for what it is, a well-used old pickup. And then decide if the Sinatra factor adds anything besides “way-cool” to the picture.


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  1. Howard A Member

    By gar, it’s been a while since such royalty graced our happy site, well worth the “early access re-log in” fiasco. I read, get this, there are currently, 976,191 people in the US with the name Frank Sinatra. I bet plenty in Cal. wanting to cash in on his fame somehow. I looked up “Cars of Frank Sinatra”, and “CurbsideClassic”, which I consider an authoritative site, had an excellent write-up. I seems, Sinatra was a Chrysler man, his last car an ’85 LeBaron wagon, but no mention of an El Camino. I mean, in the 70’s, these people were giving their spouses ( Mia Farrow at the time) Lamborghini’s and such, I doubt he’d have any use for an El Camino. Somebody in the great north is a fissin’ here, and not in the many lakes there either. Little with the condition of this , aside from the fancy braided hoses, suggests California. They just don’t have beaters like this, much less bigshot movie stars.

    Like 18
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    Not like this was John Voight’s LeBaron.

    Like 21
  3. Gary

    Adds nothing for me but I guess some people need the fame thing.

    Like 2
  4. Jeff

    Ownership claim appears legit. That was FS’s address.

    See here: https://www.palmspringslife.com/lets-get-away-from-it-all/

    which says:

    The Frank–Ava marriage lasted six years but ended in exhaustion and divorce in 1957. Sinatra, not about to live with those memories but still wanting to live in the desert, sold the home and moved east to what was then called Wonder Palms Road and Tamarisk Country Club

    70588 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage

    Like 12
    • Steve R

      It’s amazing how much you can verify or refute by spending 30 seconds on Google.

      Steve R

      Like 10
  5. joenywf64

    I like the poor man’s cowl induction air cleaner!
    Can i assume that is a 13″ grant gt steering wheel? Looks good.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      The “poor mans cowl induction” is part of the propane conversion.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  6. Sam Shive

    I don’t care if JC owned this RUST BUCKET. For half of the $12,000.00 I’ll haul it to the local YOU PULL IT. Old Blue Eyes Does Nothing For Me. Don’t look like he did much for this car either .

    Like 6
    • Ike Onick

      JC Whitney?

      Like 6
      • Sam Shive


    • joenywf64

      I don’t think this car would do much for/interest Joe Piscopo either, if it was legit.

  7. Ike Onick

    Mr.Sinatra used this when he was clearing brush on his ranch. When not at the ranch, it was used to carry booze, broads and condoms.

    Like 13
  8. Melton Mooney

    I’ve never run propane, but THEY say: Propane has a lower average cost per mile than gas, and many claim that a motor will run forever on propane. The reason you need to be able to switch on the fly is because it’s harder to tell when you’re getting low on propane, and because the motor will make more power on gas if you happen to need it.

    Also, even if Sinatra owned it, it doesn’t mean he ever even sat in it. He could have bought it for his gardeners to use for all anyone knows.

    Like 7
  9. Frank Sumatra

    I am having a little trouble picturing The Chairman of the Board
    patiently waiting in line at the Palm Springs DMV while Angie Dickinson waits outside in the El Camino

    Like 10
  10. charlie Member

    CA, always ahead of the curve, allowed propane and natual gas vehicles to use the car pool lanes with only one person in them. My son had a Ford Focus equiped with both gasoline and natural gas, bought at auction from Pacific Gas and Electric, and living in LA used the natural gas for fuel in the city, and gasoline elsewhere – since you could not get natural gas in very many places. So, someone in Frank’s entouage wanted to use the carpool lanes, alone, and had this done. The natural gas tank took up about half of the trunk, but otherwise, it was just the same as any other Focus. On either fuel it was gutless.

    Like 4
  11. Brian

    Every time i see an El Camino I think to myself “that looks like something Frank Sinatra would have loved.” Nah.

    Like 4
  12. Stevieg Member

    Ol’ Sinatra owned this during his later “mullet” stage.

    Like 6
  13. R.Lee

    This Elky was used by Pedro Gonzalez, Sinatra’s Cabana boy. Sinatra did take the Elky to Vegas to have his mullet styled and help Evil Knievel set up the jump January 73′ Vegas where Evil jumped his XR750 over the Elky and 16 other Elky’s. There are several different camera angles that the Wide Wide World of Sports did that day. And interviewed Frank with Evil with the Famous Elky.

    Like 1

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