Restomod Wonderful! 1965 Chevrolet El Camino

I have often wondered about the El Camino “Gap”, 1961-1963, and what was the cause. Chevrolet was two years behind Ford’s Ranchero, who brought the car/pickup concept to market in the ’57 model year. And then Ford made another bold jump moving the Ranchero down to the new compact Falcon for model year 1960. Chevrolet, on the other hand, experienced a steep decrease in Camino sales for ’60, plummeting to 14K units after posting a 22K total in their 1959 inaugural year. And Chevrolet didn’t really have a Falcon competitor to consider for a downsized El Camino – the Corvair wasn’t an appropriate platform. Whatever the reason, Chevy took a three-year hiatus and waited until ’64 and the introduction of the new mid-sized Chevelle as a restart point for the gen-two Camino – it was worth the wait. Today’s second year, generation-two, 1965 El Camino is located in Overland Park, Kansas and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $27,000 or here on eBay with a current bid of $22,600 with eight bids tendered so far.

One of the current trends that I have noticed with both gen-two and gen-three El Caminos is lowering, or slamming, generally with a drop of two inches. In this case, it has been accomplished via lowering springs and dropped spindles. The stance fits this car’s attitude which is resplendent in its code K, Artesian Turquoise finish. The seller states, “this car has never had or needed any rust repairs, all original GM sheet metal including floors, it would be very hard to find a better, more solid car“. The seller adds that this Camino has not seen an outside Midwest winter as it has been garaged, and the VIN indicates that it’s a Fremont, California-produced vehicle so perhaps it has spent some part of its life in the more favorable western climate. There’s no doubt about it, the Billet Specialties Speedway Legend wheels make a statement!

Power is provided via a 350 CI, small-block V8 with commonly found upgrades including an aluminum intake manifold and radiator, four-barrel carburetor, headers, and HEI ignition system. Backing up the small block is a GM four-speed O/D automatic transmission. The beautifully detailed engine also features a Vintage Air A/C system. Of note is the dual compartment master cylinder necessary to actuate the upgraded front disc brakes.

The interior compartment of an ElCamino is half that of a corresponding Chevelle and though the seller doesn’t reveal a lot about it, the pictures certainly do the talking. It is an extremely clean environment with the original steering wheel and a dash-mounted tachometer, along with under-dash auxiliary gauges as a change from stock. There is also a convenience console that has been added.

The seller states, “You can find them cheaper (and rustier), I looked at many before finding this one, most have been patched/repaired with Taiwan patch panels“. Based on my recent searches, I’d have to say that he is spot on. If you’re in the market for a generation-two El Camino, don’t let this one slip by you.

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  1. Steve R

    Good value for the money. It’s from an area where rust is not an issue and includes pictures to back up the sellers claim. The execution looks good and has some smart upgrades, AC and overdrive transmission. If potential buyers don’t like the ride height or wheel size, that’s an easy and relatively inexpensive fix, which won’t stand in the way of anyone whose actually interested in purchasing it.

    Whoever pulls the trigger to buy this will have done well.

    Steve R

    Like 12
    • Jeff

      Hi Steve. It is possible that this is a rust free car but I would ask for chassis photos. I live in the city that this elco is located and I can assure you that rust due to road salt is an issue here.

      Like 3
      • pixelpusher

        There are photos associated with the eBay listing which give a general indication of the undercarriage. Very clean looking where you can see frame rails here and there in those.

        Like 3
      • Steve R

        This car was located 10 miles from me until 2017. It’s hard to believe someone would take a life long California car to the Midwest and start driving it during the winters, that makes no sense.

        Steve R

        Like 4
      • robert semrad

        Jeff, the article states, “The seller adds that this Camino has not seen an outside Midwest winter as it has been garaged…” So, if it’s garaged in the winter, then it stands to reason that his statement about a rust free car is very plausible.

        Like 4
    • Jeff

      I concede! When Steve R said that it came from an area with no rust issues I had not read that it was a California car. All I was trying to say is that Kansas City is an area where road salt and therefore rust is an issue. I am sure this Chevy will bring top dollar.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Very nice. Well done and just right.

    Like 4
  3. local_sheriff

    Now THIS is what I call a textbook example of a restomod – an overall OE-appearing vehicle with subtle tweaks in driveline/ tranny/ suspension/ brakes/ wheels. Nothing really wild and also mods that aren’t irreversible should one want it back to stock config. It’s also one of my favorite Elky years and in an absolutely smashing period color.

    I’m pretty certain there are people who will nit-pick on details like the ‘too flat’ black in the engine compartment, aluminum radiator and its interior not completely matching paintwork, but in my world those are simply miniscule details that don’t distract from an overall very,very sweet Elky. Don’t think it’s possible to dislike this stunning Chev

    Like 6
  4. Al camino

    These caminos were boxee and ugly they were not good looking until 68 to 72 what do you think.

    Like 1
    • robert semrad

      Al Camino, I think that’s an opinion that’s not shared by the majority of Chevy lovers…what do you think?

      Like 7
  5. Al camino

    These caminos were too boxee and ugly 68 to 72 is the way to go what do you think

    Like 1
  6. jeff

    I grew up in southern oklahoma and a neighbor had a 65 Camino which was only two years old. He worked in the oil fields and used and abused that vehicle. The rear bumper was about six inches off of the ground as he had beat the rear springs with constant overloading. The bed was dented and bashed inside and out. The drivers door would sag when opened. That two year old car looked 40 years old. It had the V8 and factory air though so he was fast and cool.

  7. Steve Clinton

    Put custom wheels and tires on it, lower it, and viola “Restomod” (a term that has become overused).

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton


    • JoeBob

      Steve Clinton: Does the overdrive tranny, upgraded brake system, exhaust x pipe and aftermarket a/c count toward restomodding?

      Like 7
  8. 67 Stingray

    Beautiful El Camino

    Like 6
  9. Terry J

    The El Camino “Gap”, 1961-1963. LOL . It was a case of getting beat to the market by Ford that froze the General I think. Ford’s Ranchero came out in 1957 – 1959 on a full size platform and caught GM with nothing but they followed suit in ’59-’60 as a full size vehicle only to have Ford switch gears to the Falcon platform in ’60 – ’65. GM finally got it right in ’64 – ’67 on the Chevelle platform, forcing Ford to the Fairlane in ’66-’67 & Torino in ’68-’69. In the early 70’s both rigs got fat and at least I lost interest in the lines. Then GM came out with the nice smaller El Camino in ’78 – ’87. Great history of the battle of the big car companies. Always wish Chevy had come out with one on the Nova in ’62 however. :-) Terry J

    Like 1
  10. martinsane

    The wheels and tires are atrocious. Put some nice rallys on it and its perfect for the year.
    Id be more inclined for a 68 or 69 but opinions are like Camaros everyone has seen one.


    Just remember this is a 1965 car with a very limited suspension. You see the lowered look but no improvements. Guarantee it rides very harshly and there is half the road cushion gone from those ruff no side wall tires just a dumb thing to do if you want a good ride.

    Like 2
  12. ACZ

    Beautiful example but my favorite is still 74-77. 73 was basically the same but had an ugly front end. Also, 73-77 had the best towing capability.

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