Rare First Year: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

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This 1959 Chevrolet El Camino is part of a pretty large collection of classic cars and machinery that is about to go under the hammer. Barn Finder Craig B spotted the El Camino for us, so thank you for that Craig. The El Camino is a distinctive looking vehicle, and its styling almost makes it feel like it would be a shame to use it as a workhorse. Sale details for the El Camino can be found here on VanDerBrink Auctions. The El Camino is scheduled to go under the hammer in Beardsley, Minnesota, on August 10th, 2019. The option is available to submit an online bid, and so far this has pushed the price to $7,500.

The El Camino has been stored indoors for quite a while, and the distinctive-looking vehicle looks like it has survived this quite well. There doesn’t appear to be any issues with rust. The doors, rockers, lower quarter panels, and bed look to be quite clean. The Aspen Green and Snowcrest White paint have a bit of a matte look about them, but I would be willing to bet that they would respond quite well to a polish. The exterior chrome and trim all look really good, as does the glass. While I am a self-confessed Ford man, I have to say that I think the styling of these El Caminos places them ahead of the Ranchero if we are talking about a car that has a presence and attracts attention.

The green and white interior of the El Camino appears to be in pretty reasonable condition. As with the car’s exterior, I think that a good clean would have it looking a million dollars. Apart from some wrinkling on the passenger side kick panel, I really don’t see any problems that would need to be addressed. With no engine photos to work from, we are at the mercy of the seller to find out what resides under the hood. What they tell us is…not much. There is a V8 engine which is hooked to a 3-speed manual transmission. It could either be the 283ci or the 348ci engine, but your guess is as good as mine. What we do know is that the El Camino doesn’t run, but there is no indication of whether the engine even turns freely. It seems to be a case of “You pays your money, and you takes your chances.”

The styling of the 1959 El Camino has seen them become a firm favorite with both restorers, and those seeking a custom project. This one looks like a solid car that would be a great candidate for either option. If this does check out as being solid and completely original, then my instinct would be to undertake the necessary steps to get it back on the road in its original guise, rather than molesting an original survivor. If you bought it, what would you do?

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  1. sir mike

    Do a good clean up,go over the mechanical’s and drive her.This is a survivor class car.

    Like 26
  2. Matt steele

    Brother had one. Not this nice in 1972..wow this would be cool to have

    Like 3
  3. Bob C.

    Definitely clean it up, get it roadworthy, drive and enjoy. Hmmm, 283 or 348? Scalloped valve covers = 348. This would be a real eye catcher.

    Like 3
    • PatrickM

      Not really. 348 and 409 were cut from the same block. 283 is much smaller in physical size as well as ci. The hood ornament shows a simple V, indicating a 283. If it were a 348, there would be flags over the V. Since I’m not well versed in VIN’s, I believe the engine size can be determined by a VIN search, from what I’ve been told over the years. All that said, if there has not been an engine swap. A six would not have the V.

      Like 2
  4. Larry

    By the V emblem on the hood it is a 283 engine

    Like 6
  5. DRV

    By far the coolest of the car/trucks! This is a perfect original. If you change anything, you will go to he__.

    Like 11
    • Marshall

      Thus saith the Lord, thou shalt not abominate an original! The Lord will have mercy on him that maketh a ratrod out of a rusted out bucket of bolts that hath sat out in the weeds for 40 years. But on him that abominateth an original, a curse shall be upon all of his future restoration projects, for I am the Lord God, the Ancientmobile of Days.

      Like 6
      • Marshall

        I would delete this earlier version if I could, but I don’t know how or even if it’s possible. Sorry about the “devine duplicity”😎

        Like 0
    • Marshall

      Thus saith the Lord, thou shalt not abominate an original! The Lord will have mercy on him that maketh a ratrod out of a rusted out bucket of bolts that hath sat out in the weeds for 40 years. But on him that abominateth an original that was stored indoors, a curse shall be upon all of his future restoration projects, for I am the Lord God, the Ancientmobile of Days.

      Like 1
  6. local_sheriff

    If I were a player here it’d be vital to know what V8 it has – a #s matching 348 59 Elky should be of considerable higher value than one with a SB. Personally I wouldn’t mind a SB for simplicity and parts availability. It’d be interesting to see how this Elky would respond to a thorough rub and pollish. The more I look at this 59 I cannot comprehend how anyone can dislike the batwing Chevies!

    The seller also has a highly unusual Pontiac Barnett limo hearse for sale

    Like 3
    • PatrickM

      The bat wing Chevy’s were said to be unstable in the back end in high winds

      Like 0
      • John S

        Another urban legand…

        Like 1
  7. Gaspumpchas

    One sweet elco- I have built some 348’s and I love the way they run. 4 speed or even ;Leave the 3 on the tree for now. Would love to have this beauty. Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 3
  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    One sweet El Camino, too bad the auction is the same day as the charity car show I’m co-chairing,. Note the fact it’s not running, so take that into account also.

    Like 3
  9. gbvette62

    If it’s the original engine, it’s a 283.

    59 Chevy’s with a 6 cylinder just said “Chevrolet” on the front of the hood, 59’s with a 283 added the “V” above the Chevrolet script, and 348’s added a pair of crossed flags, over the V.

    I love El Caminos, I’ve had a few, including a 71 I’ve owned since new. I’m also a big fan of 59 and 60 Chevrolets, and have had a few of those too. This one looks like a pretty decent example, but one area of concern with this era El Camino is the floors, especially the rear floors. The El Camino used the same floor as the wagon, so there is a full floor under the bed, that often has hidden rust.

    Like 9
    • PatrickM

      See, I told ya.

      Like 0
  10. kakerlak

    Is that overrider with the Dagmars a factory option?

    Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      Yup, it was called a grille guard rather than a bumper guard. It has a third attachment point at the center of the bumper

      Like 1
      • Stillrunners

        My uncle bought a black and white one new. It’s what he took on the honey moon.

        Like 1
  11. 409 Jim

    According to the emblems on the hood, it’s a 283.

    Like 0
  12. Del

    Nice car.

    Too bad its not running.

    But thats OK. Just mean its auctions for way less 😁

    Like 2
  13. CaCarDude

    This ’59 looks amazing overall for an original that is from the Dakotas. I see the original paint dividers are still on the car and are a very rare option to see today still present, these alone could fetch you north of $500 for the pair. The front override is a nice option and I have had a few over the years as I had two of these El Caminos for the last 20+ years. I do not believe the paint is original as it is too flat looking and does not in any way come close to match the interior and door jamb color. The RH rear bumperette is missing also. Definitely a SB 283 car, as my last ’59 was the same w/283 3 on the tree. Also the 8 piece SS top bed trim is looking great and hard to find a good set with no holes drilled for tonneau covers or cowboy Cadillac rails. A nice find and could bring a good price at auction, thinking around $12k tops.

    Like 1
  14. John S


    Like 2
  15. Del

    12 at auction ?

    Try 6 tops.

    If it was running then…..

    Like 1
    • CaCarDude

      Am thinking you will be very surprised at what this first year El Camino will bring, I was off at thinking 12k. These Batwing haulers are in big demand now and I do not see the market dropping anytime soon. Just ten years ago I would have said people were crazy to spend the kind of money these are bringing today. My first ’59 I bought in summer of 1994 for $950 and it was a Norcal rust free car complete 283 3 spd needing paint and upholstery only. I bought another complete runner but needing brake work and paint for $2600 in ’99.
      The current OCPG shows these now at $95k for number 1, that is just stupid money IMO. Its definately a crazy market out there.

      Like 1
  16. Brian S

    I’d just make sure all of the mechanical stuff works so it’s road Worthy and drive it as is

    Like 0
  17. Larry

    Update: This car sold for $31,000 at the auction

    Like 1

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