Ratty But Fast: 1969 Chevy El Camino

From the outside, this El Camino looks like any other unfinished project that has been sitting in a barn for years, but open the hood and you discover it’s actually a lot more interesting than that. A previous owner decided the 350 just wasn’t enough engine, so they dropped a freshly rebuilt 396 in it. It’s paired with the original 4 speed, which they also rebuilt, and a 12 bolt rear end. It still needs some work, but it’s currently a driver and is said to run great. You can find it here on eBay with a BIN of $9,995 in New Hampton, New Hampshire.

I’ve always been a bit of an El Camino fan, especially ones with interesting options. This one doesn’t appear to have too many unique options from the factory, although the 4 speed is somewhat rare. The 396 definitely ups the interest factor though, as it has to make this a bit of a beast to drive. The swap looks to have been well executed and the engine looks fantastic. No word on the engine’s trim level, but it should be good for between 325 and 350 horsepower.

Like the exterior, the interior needs work. Personally, I’d get rid of the modern bucket seats in favor of period buckets or even a bench seat. The steering wheel needs to be changed out too, but that’s just my opinion. The seller notes that the tachometer doesn’t work correctly and the clock is broken. Fixing both shouldn’t be too difficult or expensive. Just giving it a good cleaning would greatly improve the experience of driving this Ute.

The biggest expense of finishing this El Camino will be the finish. A quality paint job won’t be cheap, but it sure would do wonders to improve the looks. I’d like to know what color it originally was, as that’s probably the color I would paint it in. Of course, with those slot mag wheels, it really needs a wild ’70s style paint job!

Fast Finds


  1. JDJones

    Good deal. Doesn’t need much more than a paint job and maybe some original bucket seats. I’d buy it. I just spent 10K on cancer surgery. I would have rather spent it on this.


      Glad you’re around to make comments JdJones. Fellow survivor, life is good, so very good

  2. JDJones

    Ha. That didn’t last long.

  3. brian crowe

    That didn’t last long. I love it just the ay it is. If anything I would change the rims to Corvette rallys but that it.

  4. Coventrycat

    Love the salt spray all over it. That’s how we roll here in NH. Then we complain all the cool cars have rusted away.

  5. Arthur

    It was obviously driven in salt…. that is scary with old metal. How often did that occur and how well was it cleaned? Salt finds ways of hiding in little crevices and showing its damage where you least expect it.


    I had a daily driver 69 for 20 years, 454 with th350. 3.70 gears in the 12 bolt rear. It started life as a 2 brl 350, with 10 bolt rear end. Was a mild 454 and ran 14.30’s in the 1/4 mile on good days and 14.50 when it was hotter outside. Was a fun car, cheap to keep, parts available everywhere. Gave it to my Son, he had it about 8 more years, and sold it. Wish it was still in the family, but hopefully someone is out burning rubber with it. I do miss it. Thanks for the memory

  7. erikj

    What a deal if it was bought for bin price. That factory tach. dash is very rare!!! I bought a 68 chevelle along time ago and it was also very plain, but was a factory 4spd and had a very rare factory tach dash. The tach. was a ROLL TACH. if you know your 68 chevelles you know what a roll tach. is. Lots of people don’t know what I mean when I say that,but I do !! Great buy on this camino.

    • brian crowe

      erikj please explain roll tach.

  8. JW454

    A conventional tachometer has a numbered display and a needle advances and declines as the R.P.M. changes.
    The Tachometer that ERIKJ is describing as a “Roll” tachometer has the numbers displayed on a barrel that rotates up and down within the gauge. The current R.P.M. is read by aligning the barrel to a fixed line across the lens of the gauge. IE: If the 5 on the barrel is in line the the fixed line on the lens, then the reading is 5000 R.P.M.

  9. brian crowe

    found a pic of one I believe.

  10. XMA0891

    I see a lot of the other “P-Word” in this listing: Potential! Great, great car! Just me, but I’d bring it right back to stock. Great find!

  11. Jay E.

    I love the faux salt spray, that must of taken a lot of work. Oh, wait, it is real salt spray… Poor car!

  12. ACZ

    I’ve had half a dozen Elkys over the years. My 69 was my favorite.

  13. Doug Towsley

    These were great back in the day, Super rare now. We ALMOST bought one when looking for a Chevelle project for my wife. We had looked at a number of rough Chevelles and were not having a lot of luck finding a good donor project. (We are not wealthy so both of us would rather build something cool rather than sit around and dream about “Someday”) So we went to the Annual Chevelle & El Camino club NW regional meet here in Oregon (Sadly they stopped having them) and had a wonderful day hanging out with a huge outing of cool cars, we looked at a 69 like this that was rough in the for sale corrall , but very rebuildable, Price was right too. Local seller. We mulled it over, got the guys number and decided to sleep on it before pulling the trigger. Got home and checked email and message from another guy who changed directions and offered us up his car. So, we are happy with the 69 Chevelle we bought, But my wife still says today she would have been very happy with the El Camino

  14. KevinW

    I like the stance and wheels on this. Looks just like something you’d see in my high school parking lot,(circa 1979).

  15. John Engstrom

    That engine in stock configuration would have been 325 HP. I too like El Camino’s but with no weight over the rear axle, you could never get any traction all you could get was wheel spin, wheel hop and burning rubber. If you want it to go, you need to do a lot of work with the rear of the vehicle.

  16. ben

    ben here in fl if u check out my face book bens detailing and classic cars u will see that I buy sell restore elkys have had many looking to buy 8 from a guy here in fl going to look at the 59 ford pickup sat listed here about 3 hours north of me not a bad price but from my knolage and raised in ct I would have to check out the frame and floor pans espically behind the the seat 58 bird is coming along haven’t done much on conv into pt crusiers this week sold 3 how crazy is that when it stops being fun find something else to do be blessed my friends here on barn finders ben in fl

  17. Rolf Poncho 455

    Grate truck big ci’s 4 speed rite model I want to have it

  18. Steven

    Earlier El Caminos’ had better styling in the 60’s..

  19. Ed Member

    I had one in 1974 SS 396 4 speed 375hp midnight blue with black cover snapped down on the back One of those I wish I still had I put sand bags over the back wheels to keep it from spinning sideways when the light turned green lioved it

  20. Impala Tim

    Actually the barrel in the tach doesn’t move. The needle itself moves up and down.

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