Shed Find: 1974 Chevrolet El Camino

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The El Camino, a “gentlemen’s” pickup, enjoyed a long run at Chevrolet, from 1959-60 and again from 1964-87. More times than not it was based on a Chevelle station wagon platform, yet most DMVs consider it to be a truck. This 1974 edition last saw block-top in 1986 and has been in a shed ever since. Besides some rust issues, other inhabitants of the shed (i.e., mice) have nibbled on some wiring. But the engine isn’t locked up, so perhaps there’s the hope of getting it running again. Located in Venango, Nebraska, this pickup is available here on eBay where the starting bid is $2,500. There have been no takers so far and the seller has set a reserve.

In response to Ford’s Fairlane-based Ranchero, Chevy rolled out the El Camino for 1959. It ran off the full-size Chevy body for two years, then took a three-year break before returning as a mid-size in 1964 when the new Chevelle was introduced. For the 1973-77 model years, the El Camino shared the “Colonnade” styling that all of GM’s intermediates would use, including the seller’s truck. El Camino sales took a bit of a hit in 1974 as did the industry in general (remember the OPEC oil embargo?), with only 56,100 produced instead of 71,750 from the year before. These figures include the GMC derivative, the Sprint.

This ’74 El Camino is one of those “ran when parked” vehicles. It was last registered for highway use in 1986 and has spent the last 35 years sharing a shed with a tractor and some rodents. The critters chewed on the spark plug wires and the owner’s manual (and likely other stuff not mentioned). The seller has not tried to start the 350 cubic-inch V8 engine. Instead, he rid the car of its furry occupants, bathed it, and checked to see if the motor turns, which it does.

Assuming the mechanics of the car can be sorted out without breaking the bank, the body and paint will require more than passing attention. The metal is fatigued in its lower extremities as well as there being some soft spots in the bed. Elsewhere, there is surface rust on the burgundy/red and white two-tone paint. The windshield is also cracked, but you probably can’t fault the mice for that. The interior is far from attractive and will need a thorough cleaning, plus new upholstery, carpeting, and a headliner, at a minimum. This truck shows that its 90,000-plus miles were well used.

I would hope that the reserve isn’t much higher than the starting bid because – according to Hagerty – these are $22,000 trucks on the high end. And it’s going to take a lot more than just a tune-up to get this old pickup back in serviceable/presentable condition. You don’t want to load something in the bed just to have it fall through.

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  1. GCSMember

    Buddy’s Dad had a brown one of these new. This isn’t bad if it can be made to run. The wheels look likevMonte Carlo rubber splined rims. I never saw them on a Camino.

    Like 0
  2. Raymond

    Painless wiring has full harnesses relatively cheap, you can source a full interior, it’s common a-body, but oooohhh that smell…smell that gets around you….good luck…

    Like 0
    • Sam61

      Oooh, oooh that smell…the smell of death surrounds you. Lynryyd Skynyrd.

      On a lighter note…urban legend has it the Bill Mattress threw a mattress down in the back of his Elcamino. Sorry I can’t spell.

      Like 2
  3. A.G.

    The interior says ‘flood car.’

    Like 2
  4. Pleease

    I drove a mid ‘70s model as a pizza delivery vehicle in college (the business owned it), and liked the concept.

    People sometimes call the Honda Ridgeline (which I have) “today’s El Camino”, or a NART (not a real truck), lol.

    Like 0
  5. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero

    I can smell that interior through the picture. Ugh

    Like 0
  6. chrlsful

    I kinda like these (altho far from a ‘chebby guy’). The big grill and smooth lines of the 3rd & 4th gen Malibu Classic (that’s this one, all chevelles) and the curved window/bulkhead of the bed head board are all kinda nice…

    Only other offerings I like are the chevy II w/SBC & ’56/60 vette (well, 63 splitie is great too). Oh – 1st yr Rivera & Tornanado.

    Like 0

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