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Parked For 20 Years: 1965 Chevrolet El Camino 4-Speed

Second-gen El Caminos are always a nice find. Overshadowed by the immensely popular third-gen (1968-1972) the ’64-’67 version, like this subject, represents Chevrolet’s second interpretation of the functional and popular, half car/half truck. Today’s find is a California built and domiciled 1965 example that was supposedly parked for twenty years.  Equipped with a desirable four-speed manual transmission, this 1965 Chevrolet El Camino is located in Rohnert Park, California and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $3,801, two bids tendered so far. Thanks to local_sheriff for this find!

On the surface, this Camino looks reasonable. Finished off in what appears to be faded Crocus Yellow, the exterior still presents pretty well though there is rust bubbling through in the driver’s side quarter. There is also corrosion that has settled in around the front and rear glass. While the bumpers are fair and the trim all seems to be in place, there is evidence of cracked Bondo near the driver’s side rust-through. The plastic Chevrolet emblem has been knocked out of the center of the grille but that’s a pretty common foible that befalls this vintage Chevelle/El Camino. Unfortunately, there is no image of the cargo bed included in the listing.

The seller states that this Camino is equipped with its original 195 HP, 283 CI Power-Pack engine. I’d say most of it, but not all of it. Having owned a ’65 Malibu SS with that engine, I can assure you that it was originally equipped with a Rochester two-barrel carburetor and not what looks like a Carter four-barrel as this example possesses. The heads, based on what I can make out of the casting marks, do look like the original power-pack versions. The intake manifold is wrong, as it would be with the Carter carburetor, and also, there shouldn’t be a PCV connection into the breather tube on this version of the 283 engine. It doesn’t sound like this example is a runner – there’s no fan belt installed, but as referenced earlier, the engine is connected to a four-speed manual transmission – certainly a good start. Note the hole in the firewall, looks like the windshield wiper motor is MIA.

Interior, what interior? As you can see, the floor has pretty well let go in places and the bench seat has been removed to help with the view. Being a California car, one may not expect this kind of rust but if you leave the windows open, anything can happen. I only suggest that as the seat looks like it has been exposed to the elements for some length of time. And then again it could have been caused by a rusted out windshield frame, something that this version of the “A” body is known for doing. Many ’65 Chevelles/El Caminos did not come with a padded dash as it was not yet required by law, but it was an option nevertheless. This vehicle has the padded option but it’s in pretty poor shape.

The seller states the following, “Make no mistake, this is a restoration project. BUT, if someone wanted to toss a small block in it, and put some patches on the footwells, you could be driving it in a weekend” A week seems a bit ambitious but there is definitely something here with which to work. I would suggest that any interested buyer check the underside, frame, and the cargo bed; with that much rust that is visible, there’s no telling what isn’t. Two bidding days to go and not much action, what do you think, is this 1965 El Camino worth a gamble?


  1. Jerry

    This car didnt live its whole life in California with rust like that…..I lived there 33 yrs, u dont see rust on cars there ONLY if they lived right on the beach with the salt air.

    Like 6
    • Steve R

      That’s not the rust pattern you see on a car that lived on the coast. The rust on the floors is consistent with the sellerS description. If it had rusted the way you describe, it would have rusted from the top down. Every surface above the belt line would show signs of rust, that’s not the case with this car.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  2. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking Chevelle El Camino. My favourite year for the Chevelle has always been 1964 and 1965.

    Like 3
    • Mountainwoodie

      Agree. I drove one as a parts gopher for a service station in Frisco, Co. back in early seventies. Loved it. Still love them. At this point though, I’d be better off buying one that’s in better shape, and dare I say it……I would even take one with a slushbox…….did I just say that? Arguendo it was a straight driver.

      This poor guy has been customized and vandalized a bit much.

  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    This is the only car in today’s listings that has any interest at all to me. Problem is; it just requires to much body work. You could spend countless hours working on this car before even getting it to a safe operating condition. Still for a hobbyist who does all the work himself, not putting dollar signs on time, this could be a great car in the end.
    God bless America

    Like 4
  4. Chris Londish Member

    What’s great about this is all of the panels are available a rotisserie and a cheap Harbour freight mig and plasma cutter and a couple of chain blocks about 1500 bucks in equipment and viola a beautiful Elcamino you guys are so lucky you have everything at your fingertips to make this something really nice I wish I was over there

    Like 2
  5. gbvette62

    I don’t think the seller’s saying the El Camino’s “equipped with it’s original 195 HP, 283 Power-Pack engine”, I think he’s saying it has it’s original 283 block, and Power-Pack heads have been added to it. The 65 283/195 was the 2 bbl version of the 283, the 4 bbl version was 220 HP. I think that’s a Carter AFB, on a 63-64 327/300 intake (it appears to have a 63-64 oil fill tube and cap anyway). It doesn’t run, the seller says the engine’s “froze up”.

    I love El Camino’s, and 65 Camino’s are in my top 3 favorite years for them. The rust doesn’t seem any worse than most other mid 60’s Chevy’s, but it would have been nice if they’d included a picture of the bed. Restored, this would be a nice little El Camino.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Interestingly, the 283 CI, 220 HP engine (RPO L77) wasn’t available in the Chevelle/El Camino in ’65; it was in ’64 and then again ’66 but not ’65. The carburetor that it used was a Rochester 4GC.


      Like 1
      • gbvette62

        While not available at the start of production in 65, it’s my understanding the L77 283/220 was brought back as a mid year offering for the Chevelle & El Camino. If you scroll down in the link below to the 21st page, marked “Power Team Combinations”, you’ll find the 283/220 listed there with a bulleted note that it is a February 65 revision.

        The 65 L77 used the same intake (992 casting) as the 65 327/250, but with the Rochester 4GC, instead of the 250’s Carter WCFB.

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        I know my ’65 Malibu SS owner’s manual made no mention of the L77 engine but I don’t know when it was assembled.


    • Norman Wrensch

      All 283’s 63 and newer in the cars which and el Camino is part of. had power pack heads, did not matter 2 barrel or 4 barrel. I have a 64 Chevelle two door wagon that came with 283 two barrel and it has power pack heads.

  6. Chris Londish Member

    This is brilliant a real fixer upper a couple of grand of equipment and all off the replacement panels are available and viola a nice LS and T600 5spd and a great ride I wish I was over there

    Like 1
  7. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep – looks like a buyer remorse sale due to all the rust – been there my self.

    Our salvage yard owner’s son ordered a new 1964 with the base 283 4 sp and factory tach. Once old man Fry got it back from the high school that was suppose to rebuild the engine and put it back after the son’s death – it sat in the yard with a $2500 price tag – this was the early 90’s. It was hard after he back into the quarter panel with the fork lift but someone finally bought it – it was black with a red interior – something when it was new .

    Like 1
  8. Andrew Thibodeau

    I had a 1967 Impala two door. It had a 283 “turbo fire” in it and a two speed power glide for a tranny I think. Michigan car, it was rusted through the frame bad. Car had low miles. I was told the engine was special.

  9. Chuck

    El Camino’s are still too readily available in better shape than this one for me to waste my time on this one. I would be looking to pay a bit more for one in better condition

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