Royal Knight Survivor: 1983 Chevrolet El Camino

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The El Camino was Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Ranchero. It was in production as a full-size “gentlemen’s pickup” from 1959 to 1960 and again from 1964 to 1987 as a mid-size hauler. The seller’s version comes with the Royal Knight package, an appearance option from 1979 to 1983. It presents well and was a one-owner vehicle until just last year. It looks rather clean, but all the seller tells us is the truck is in “perfect condition.”

Most of the time that the El Camino competed with the Ranchero, it was the market leader. The last Ranchero was produced in 1979, so the El Camino had the market to itself after that (except for the in-house clone from GMC, the Sprint). 26,000 El Caminos and Sprints were built in 1983, with more than 90% coming from the Chevy camp. We don’t know how many of these had the Royal Knight option, but it couldn’t have been many given how few seem to turn up on the collector market.

We’re unsure what’s powering this El Camino and no photo is provided under the hood. A safe bet is a 305 cubic inch V8, and usually, we’d expect to see it paired with a Turbo-Hydramatic. But the seller says the transmission is a manual. Either way, the pickup is said to run well with 80,000 miles on the odometer. The body and paint seem okay, though what’s on the hood surrounding the huge Royal Knight emblem may be a bit faded. Wonder if the same people who did the Trans Am logo did this one?

Everything else is said to be original, but that likely isn’t true when it comes to the wheels (Cragars?). The seller upgraded the sound system to include better speakers and Bluetooth and the additional hardware appears to be hiding in the glove box. If you’re near Sebastopol, California, and have a spare $20,000, this Chevy could be yours here on craigslist. Another interesting tip brought to us by “numskal”!

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  1. Jon Calderon

    I like it. But a 3 on the tree by 83? New one to me.

    Like 1
    • Frank M

      It is an auto. The brake pedal tells the truth. If it was a manual, it would have a floor shifter.

      Like 7
    • Stan

      Try moving that shift lever like a manual 😲🥴.. you’ll end up calling the hook 🛻🪝 lol.

      Like 3
  2. Tommy T-Tops

    I remember when I was a kid seeing one of these Royal Knight El Camino’s. I actually thought it was something the owner added via the JC Whitney catalog (they still around) along with those metal bumper feelers lol. Interesting to play around with and drive to the flea markets for 5k but not 20k..GLWTA

    Like 11
    • Henry DavisMember

      Had one of these back in the early 80s. Parked it in front of my inlaw’s house. One morning it turned up missing. Called the police and reported it stolen. They came over to the neighborhood and found it a couple of blocks away, unscathed. Turned out my nephew (12-13?) tried to drive it, got scared he’d be in trouble, abandoned it and walked home…which explained the keys in the ignition.
      Previous owner was a route salesman for an oil company. Left town on Mondays and came home on Fridays. Had a custom gas tank made that sat in bed, appeared to raise the bed about 4 inches but otherwise looked stock. He’d fill up at office when he left on Monday and not have to buy gas on the road all week.

      Like 3
  3. Robert Eden

    The GMC Sprint was the early ’70s GMC version of the El Camino. In the ’80s, it was called the Caballero, not Sprint.

    Like 5
    • Phil D

      The name changed with the 1978 downsizing of what was then still the A body platform. 1977 was the last year for the Sprint, 1978 the first year for the Caballero.

      Like 1
  4. Mrtinwoodie

    Mr Seller….r u serious?…..$20K

    Like 5
    • MGM

      It’s well worth 20 k. I had an 83 in 88, a customer left one at my shop owing me $600. Picked up a clean title and sold it for $3500, had 54 k milage w the 229 V6 . It was slow but I recall it as being one of the finest vehicle’s I ever owned. It was perfect, and I’m still kicking myself for not keeping it.

      Like 0
  5. Vin_NJ

    The rims are Appliance Steel Spoke rims. They differ from Cragar rims that were aluminum spoke

    Like 0
  6. Jack M.

    I know that the listing reads V-8, but if the seller is so clueless not to show any engine bay photos, I would not be surprised to see a V-6 in it.

    Like 2
  7. Paul

    I had the even more rare 1 year only “Black Knight” from 1978. Black was the only color in 1978 and the only year with a 350 4bbl. Mine had every option including bucket seats/console and power everything. I would love to have it now and only sold it because there was no room for a car seat for my first child. BTW GM got sued over the Black Night name so the next year it came in colors called the “Royal Knight”.

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    Here’s all you will ever need to know about these:

    Hey, maybe this one has the 350 diesel option – oh boy!

    Like 1

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