Seen It All Now: 1978 (1957) Chevrolet El Camino

If there is one thing that baby boomers love, it is a 1957 Chevrolet.  These iconic cars are almost always seen at car shows, usually complete with a drive in movie tray and a leather jacket and poodle skirt wearing couple.  Despite this popularity, I’ll bet you have never encountered a 1957 Chevrolet, or 1978 El Camino, quite like this one being sold on craigslist out of Ocala, Florida.  What you see here is a 1978 El Camino with authentic 1957 Chevrolet body panels grafted onto it in a very professional manner.  If a hybrid like this is something you fancy, then be prepared to pony up.  The asking price is $21,500 for this insanely unique turquoise truck.

In true craigslist fashion, there is little information in the ad to give us a background story on this distinctively different ride.  We are told by the seller that the front end, rear end, and dash are actual 1957 Chevrolet parts.  The fact that the whole thing almost comes off as a 1957 El Camino, as if there were such a thing, is remarkable.  The proportions appear to be correct and the car doesn’t have that fabbed together by a nut in a garage look.  It looks like it was an add on fiberglass kit.

Craftsmanship on this El Camino is, as Judge Smails would say, “top notch!”  The fins integrate well with the El Camino bed and tailgate.  Even the stainless vertical ribs on the tailgate add a professional touch.  The bumpers look like factory units, with what appears to be a top quality chroming job.  The trim on the side is consistent with the length of the bed as well.  I am not quite sure that I like the fender skirts though.

Inside we see the 1957 Chevrolet dash has been grafted on in a manner that looks factory built.  The tape deck gives us some idea that the conversion wasn’t a recent one though.  Perhaps the late eighties or early nineties.  The steering column is 1978 Chevrolet vintage for sure, and the plastic steering wheel somewhat detracts from the overall vintage look.  The door panels are El Camino pieces, as are the seats.  The turquoise and white vinyl does a good job of blending in these pieces rather seamlessly.  The cup holders are also a nice touch.

Under the hood is the usual 350 cubic inch small block Chevrolet V-8 found in most Chevrolet rear wheel drive vehicles of the time in one displacement or another.  The seller tells us that it runs great.  The only problem is that the air conditioning doesn’t work.  The good news is that parts are more than plentiful.

In total, this is a pretty well done conversion.  While it is not my cup of tea, there is surely someone out there that loves 1957 Chevrolets enough to want this hauler in their garage.  At the price, it doesn’t make sense as a shop truck.  It would make one heck of a conversation piece at your next car show.

What do you think about this El Camino?

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Comments

  1. JACKinNWPA JACKinNWPA Member

    That is cool and I must say very nicely done!

    Like 26
    • Dave

      Actually made a 57 Chevy look attractive

      Like 12
  2. NotSure

    Showy! Really looks like a job well done!

    Like 17
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Lot of nice work done there.

    Like 15
    • Tempo Ray

      It’s refreshing to see interesting customs that work. The overall lines are purposeful and appealing…Considering the amount of hours that have been spent creating this one-of-a-kind cruiser, I think the asking price is in a very reasonable range.

      Like 18
    • Mark

      Can’t argue with great execution. This puts the majority of 60’s so called customs to shame. If the front fenders were less extended and brought in say another 8-10 inches the proportions would look factory fresh IMO.
      GLWTS. Very unique.

      Like 2
  4. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Very nicely done-I’d like to meet the guy that did the work and see what else he’s created!

    Like 12
    • LARRY

      Amazing build quality..beautiful color and interior what’s not to like..drive it and show it off..prepare for a pile of questions lol

      Like 14
  5. CapNemo CapNemo

    Yes, hats off to the guy who did this! I’ve got to give him respect for the time spent and the quality of the work performed to make this conversion. Nice job, great color!

    Like 14
  6. DSteele

    Very cool
    I likey

    Like 5
  7. JP

    Of course, the question is begged as to whether it would have been easier to convert a genuine ’57 into an El Camino-stein rather than cutting and pasting this thing together. Still, very nicely done.

    Like 6
    • canadainmarkseh Member

      This quit possibly was done from repop parts that’s the way I’d have done it.

  8. Tom Member

    If you like it, and it checks out to be as good as it looks …BUY IT NOW. Based upon fab and resto work this car is underpriced by $50K or more in my opinion. I don’t think someone would pay $75-100K for it but I BET every dime of that range is invested in this. Some one is losing their butt on this one…..not sure why?

    Like 10
    • JP

      I’ll bet 90% of all nice mods or restorations are butt-losers.

      Like 11
    • moosie moosie

      I bet the guy selling it is the guy that built it and an old time body man who did this very awesome build after hours in his spare time, back when guys built their own cars instead of writing a check. It’d be interesting to know how long ago it was put together,

      Like 8
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I’d love to see this guys other projects. This is sharp.

        Like 1
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Tom and JP make great points- I’m sure it cost 50+ to build this. I admire the amazing work and fine craftsmanship here. Heck if you took the cost of the chrome work and paint job ,alone, you would be up in the 20’s easily. The side view is growing on me, but IMHO there isn’t much more beautiful than a side view of a 57 Chevy. Good luck to the new owner. would love to know about how the guy built this beauty!!
    cheers
    GPC

    Like 8
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    At first glance the front fenders look to long, and the wheel well is out of place. Other than that I like it, as if anyone cares what I or anyone else likes or don’t like. The price seems very reasonable to me, but ofcourse you’ve got to see yourself in it to decide if you’d pay that amount or not. No, I’ve made a mental picture and it’s not for me.
    God bless America

    Like 1
  11. JagManBill

    Looks like they lengthened the nose and changed the hood opening to reflect what was on the 78. If so, then that craftsmanship in itself was a feat.

    Like 4
  12. Fred W

    Not sure why they incorporated the scoops on the fenders and quarters. Otherwise, a very nice looking ride.

    Like 1
    • RNR

      Fred, the doors and a little bit of sheetmetal fore and add of the doors is from the ’78 El Camino. The scoops likely compensated for the difference in profile of the ’57 fenders and quarters.

      Like 2
      • ThisGuy

        57 Chevys have air vents around the headlights. Probably put the scoops in for an air gap.

        Like 1
  13. grant

    Wow. Seems like anytime someone grafts two cars together the results are either very bad, or very good. This one is exceptionally good.

    Like 7
  14. Jose Cantu

    Keep it.

    Like 3
    • Lance Schaefer

      Sorry, bit It’s a ruining of two good cars that should not be put together. I’m a purest. But it’s not my car. To each his own.My 57 is 100% original, and my other cars are period. I’d classify this along the lines of a really meticulous rat rod.

  15. Jimmy

    Beautiful, great color. Would love to own this .

    Like 2
  16. Brakeservo

    Taste, money and craftsmanship. Two of these three were required to produce this.

    Like 1
  17. Brakeservo

    Frankly, the 1957 Chevy theme has been overdone. Golf carts, even motorcycles. Too much is too much.

    Like 3
  18. Herb

    I’m trying to get my head around “58 El Camino.” I see it is stated that way in the ebay ad, but El Caminos started with the ’59 model year. In order to keep my head from exploding, I’m gonna have to assume the ’57 bodywork was grafted onto a ’59 El Camino.

  19. Fran

    I like it, I like it! Yes I do! BUT, too bad a better looking top would not have been used. Like from a early 60’s? But for the money, its a deal. I wonder how full of bondo it might possibly have?

    Like 1
  20. Chebby Staff

    Frank Zappa nailed it when he sang, “All what we got here’s American made, it’s a little bit cheesy but it’s nicely displayed.” This is like the worlds fanciest baloney sandwich. The clearly 1978 doors and roof profile are a big letdown. On the other hand, the workmanship looks excellent and you are getting a hell of lot of meat for your money. If your goal is a turn-key cruiser that gets you tons of attention, it’s hard to go wrong here.

    Like 6
  21. CanuckCarGuy

    I saw a ’55 today while running errands, and although it was nice, I’m of the opinion that Tri-Fives have been done…beyond done really. Then I see something like this and think, wow…I guess they’re not as done as I thought!! Very cool looking ‘car’ and double props for originality and execution.

    Like 3
  22. john Shoemaker

    It would be nice to see some normal lens pictures instead of the distorted wide-angle lens pictures.

    Like 2
  23. Peter

    Still proportionally off .. the center section doors and roof with the over elongated side trim to the fins as hard as it was worked on and executed, just not a believable beast but much much better than the usual creations

    Like 4
  24. TimM

    Like many other people here I commend the guy on the workmanship!! It looks like a car that might have been a factory idea!! It’s definitely something I don’t think the guy will get his money back out of!!! We all know that some or most of us do this for that one time we get to turn that key and hear the engine roar!! He put some class into an otherwise boring elcamino!!!

    Like 1
    • bruce baker

      I totally agree with you 100%.

  25. h5mind

    Notching the trim to accommodate the handles somewhat loses the effect of the profile view. I think if the builder had shaved those factory door handles, it could have been better executed. That’s the only nitpick I see.

    Like 1
  26. Glenn Schwass Member

    I am a 57 purist and even I like this. I’d have to have a 57 steering wheel. They make after market ones that are smaller…well done..

    Like 4
    • bruce baker

      Yup!

  27. Jeff Surratt

    Conversion of a 57 Chevy would of been even more cost and a lot harder. IMO. My dad and brother both body men have done some modifications and it is always harder than it looks, and you almost never get your money out of the finished product. I remember my dad buying 2 wrecked 67 Cadillacs for $500, back in 1971. Cutting the bodies in half overlapping them by 24 inches to make one car. A 6 month project working weekends, when not working on customers cars, net profit $1000. I think he did it just to prove it could be done, more than for the money.

    Like 2
  28. JagManBill

    Jeff, gotta remember, in 1971 dollars, $1,000 is the equivalent today to over $6,000. May have been worth it….

    Like 1
    • Jeff Surratt

      Even my Dad admitted that he could of made more money working on customers cars. Hundreds of man hours to complete working on the project Saturday and Sunday. I was sick of helping and received none of the money, but I did learn a lot, working with Dad. I have saved thousands of dollars not having to take my cars to a repair shop over the last 45 years, so there is that. Last year I hit a deer with my 2006 VW Jetta, the insurance company paid me $2,900, my brother and I fixed the car for $1,000. I love saving money working on my own cars.

      Like 1
  29. Jay E.

    Never seen a 57 that I didn’t like. Until this one.

    Like 6
  30. Ted of apparently no taste

    Thanks Jay E, thought I might be the only one who wasn’t tripping on Mescaline this morning.

    Craftsmanship or not, I’m sorry. This rates up there with that fat Ford/Mustang misconception car and the flared Vette that were featured recently.

    Only my 2 cents, but that’s 4 tons of ugly on a 2 ton frame. Ugh…now I’ve got that image burned into my retinas……

    Like 7
  31. Fran

    I went back and looked at it some more and my thoughts, I think, are correct….The roof should have been taken from a 59 and maybe up to a 62 ElCamino, NOT a 77 or whatever. The body goes wide then thins out midway, and then back again, not my style, everyone seeing that can see that, it sort of reminds me of the crazy 98 Thunderbirds that people put the 49 Merc kits on, YUCK! Whats up with the steering wheel?

    Like 2
  32. Mike W H

    Where I live, adjacent to a canyon popular with musicians and artists, there are numerous guys with long gray ponytails/braids and maybe some faded ink sleeves, and they all wear Shady Brady Cowboy hats, because they want to be a “Character”

    If I saw one driving this car, it would fit right in with the scenery.
    It’s for characters.

    Right color, execution a B for all the reasons listed above. If I were to make an El Cam out of a ’57 I think I’d start with a 210 wagon. Which would be nuts.

    But still, I kinda dig it.

  33. bruce baker

    I love it, if i had $50,000 burning a hole in my pocket i would bid it to win it!!! Gives me some ideas, like a ’64 Impalemino (using 2/3 rds. of the “64) or Grand Nationmino.

    I have seen the brand new Blazer commercials but where’s the brand new El Camino, yo Chevy?

    • bruce baker

      Oops, i thought i read it was on E-bay. Does anyone still trust Craigslist this days? Just asking!

      • JEFF S.

        As with anything, buyer beware, as it has always been the case.

        Like 1
  34. PDXByan

    It’s interesting and I’m glad others like it!

    Like 2
  35. bruce baker

    Take it to the Siema auto show.

  36. bobk

    It reminds me of the ’57 “rebody” (57 Belaro) that is available for 4th gen Camaros. Looks very much the same.

  37. Fran

    Or do you mean BUL-aro?

    • bobk

      Assuming that was tongue-in-cheek sarcasm. The “rebody” panels that I was talking about are “EasyRods Belaro”. In fact, if memory serves, sometime about a year(?) ago, a Belaro was written up on Barn Finds.

      Not saying that I like it, just saying that if it weren’t for the statement that “authentic ’57 body panels” were used (which potentially gives me a whole other level of heartburn), I would have thought that a Belaro kit had been used to create this thing.

  38. PatrickM

    I can appreciate the craftsmanship here. But, I just do not like it. As for me, you just do not mess with the lines of a ’57 Chevy! If one wants an El Camino, buy one.

  39. Eric

    Behold. The almighty Bel Camino

    Like 1
  40. Little_Cars

    Not surprisingly, located in the infamous Snow Bird, elderly, depression-weaned retiree state of Florida. A lot of mash ups appear when people with more money than taste start building cars.

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