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Parked For 35 Years: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

Located in Buckeye, Arizona, this 1959 El Camino has that somewhat baked look that has become familiar when we see project cars from that neck of the woods. There is a healthy coating of surface corrosion present on this old girl, but overall, it seems to be a fairly solid car. It has been sitting since 1984, and the owner has decided that it needs to go to someone who will do justice to this old classic. There have been a few people that have seen potential in the El Camino as bidding has reached $5,200, although the reserve has not been met. If you would like to get your hands on a classic El Camino project, you will find this one listed for sale here on eBay.

The El Camino is clean, but it isn’t perfect. In addition to the healthy coating of surface corrosion, there are a few rust issues that will need to be addressed. The worst and most pressing would be around the rear window. It’s not horrible, but it could certainly require attention. To aid in this area, the owner does have a complete solid cab, and this is being included in the sale. The floors will also need repair or replacement. There are also some pin-holes in the bed floor, but these might be able to be repaired without having to replace the floor. Giving the car a pretty thorough once-over, it does appear that the owners claim that there is no Bondo in the car might be true. There is a dent in the passenger door, but this also looks to be repairable. Along with the spare cab, the owner is also including replacement side glass, and a new matching lock set for the El Camino.

The engine in the El Camino isn’t original, although the owner does think that all of the accessories are. He thinks that this is either a 327ci or a 350ci V8. I’ll put my hand up and say that while I’m not 100% sure, I personally think that it might be a 350. Having said that, hopefully, one of our knowledgeable Barn Finds readers can confirm this either way. If I’m wrong, then I’m happy to cop it on the chin. The engine is hooked to a 3-speed manual transmission with a column change shifter. The owner says that the car currently doesn’t run, but he doesn’t believe that it will take much work for it to roar back into life. One nice little option on the El Camino is the fact that it has been fitted with air conditioning, which was a $385 option on the 1959 model.

When you look at the interior and are making a list of the upholstered items that will need replacing, save yourself some time by just writing “everything.” The headliner is pretty badly shredded, the seat will need a new cover, and both the door trims and kick panels appear to be missing. However, don’t treat this as bad news. Depending on the new owner’s ultimate plans for the vehicle, this will give them the option to finish the interior in the materials and colors of their choice. The only thing that seems to be missing from the dash is the ignition switch, but hopefully, that is kicking around somewhere.

I’m a self-confessed fan of almost any car that wears the blue oval badge, but I have to admit that I really like this El Camino. I also like the amount of potential that is contained within the vehicle. As a classic, these continue to be a desirable vehicle, and their ongoing increase in market value reflects this. Values across ’59 El Caminos, regardless of condition, have increased by around 20% in the past 3-years, and this trend looks set to continue. It is hard to find a good one for sale for under $35,000, while an immaculate example will sell for closer to $60,000. Last year, one buyer paid a record price for an immaculate, low mileage original car, which was an eye-watering $110,000. This one will probably never achieve that sort of price, but it certainly has the potential to be a fairly valuable and rewarding car if the right sort of restoration or refurbishment work is performed on it.


  1. Avatar photo Joe Machado

    Found tons of cars in Buckeye in the late 70’s thru the early 90’s.
    All gone now.
    Benson, Arizona had a huge wrecking yard also gone.
    Rust free and baked well.
    They can be found, but go looking as we do and dont wait to find it on epay or anywhere else. Travel with green in the pockets and an empty trailer. U go now.
    Happy deserted trails.
    Almost ready to install new engine in my 61 Imperial LeBaron.
    80 degrees today. Air conditioner on.
    Nite nite

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Rosko

      Hey Joe.

      I sent BF links and images of the Fort Auto Parts yard in Huachuca City AZ. Not selected for a post here but has good potential. Ever been?

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Joe Machado

        No, I have not done Huachuca, but I spent 3 days going thru yards in Farmington, New Mexico once. Then Bloomfield, and assorted towns nearby. Went back with an empty trailer back in 2012. Found a 61 Savoy 6 passenger wagon. Have it here at home. 318, Torqueflite. Radio. Interesting color. Not white or black, or beige. It is DD1. A medium blue metallic. Son has that same blue in a 60 Ram Induction Polara D500 convertible. Paint name is Mediterranian blue metallic. Forgot interior code for the wagon. Body plate is on car. Should look at again. Dog dish.
        Ps, the gentleman passed a couple years after and ruin estate destroyers hounded him to death, litteraly.

        Like 1
    • Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

      “U go now” lol Cochise……

      I think Adam meant “…neck of the desert”

      Being a future El Camino/Ranchero owner I like the batwinged El Caminos..but………..this is mighty baked.

      Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jerry Brentnell

      you bring me up to speed here. living in canada with snow and salt galore! we have 4 feet on the level right now in new brunswick that said how come this arizona car has this much rust out? surface rust I get with the heat baked interiors too but rusted out floors??? then look at the rusty stuff gas monkeys dig up in texas? don’t get it!

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Pete

        Most folks think AZ doesn’t get snow. But Flagstaff in the northern part of the state does. This year it had record high snow falls. So the need for salt is great in that part of the state. It is also on the way to Las Vegas a popular destination.

        Like 0
      • Avatar photo Norman Wrensch

        Rusted out floors usually come from the inside, normally bad door seals. I have a 64 Chevelle 2 door wagon that I picked up in Tuscon, body is great floors are garbage. Door seals garbage, floors get wet from the rain coming through the door seals and then rots out the floor, because the carpet doesn’t very fast or worse yet it has rubber floor mats then the floor never dries out. And that is why when I store a car I remove the carpet.

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Neil G

    Rosko is on to something. Here is a link to the Fort Auto Parts yard: https://www.flickr.com/photos/35055840@N06/6690598783

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Fred W

      Wow! I enjoyed looking at the parts yard photos, but also the rest of the photo album- reminded me of my own Route 66 excursion a few years back!

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo chryco Member

        Whoever did the photos for this, whether it be the seller, or a photographer hired/friend of the seller, his or her artwork is almost worth the current bid. You can photograph adds for any cars I may need to sell any time. Beautiful. Every angle and shape that makes this one of the better car designs of the 50s thru the 70s, set in a scenery that anyone would easily believe was where this car has always been. As for the car, Make everything mechanically and structurally safe and sound, with minimal change to its current cosmetics, and you will own a rolling piece of American folk art. This is a car to appreciate as it is, please don’t think of it as a hot rod trailer queen to fix up and make a bunch of money with. If I had the money and a house in the desert, (dream on) it would be mine, just as it is.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Rosko

      I believe a fire claimed some of the cars in the yard a few years back, or so I have heard. It would be worth checking into before buying airfare ;)

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Leon D Henderson

    The engine does not have oil filler in the intake probably a 350 unless intake has been changed

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo stillrunners

    Uncle had one new in black also….have pictures…..why can’t we load pictures anymore ?

    Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Larry

    Those pics. of the Fort Auto Parts yard made this Penna. guy druel !! I want the White Falcon Ranchero, okay some others too. Those Falcon’s just didn’t seem to survive here.

    Like 0

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