Solid 1959 Chevrolet El Camino Project

The 1959 Chevrolet El Camino is a vehicle that possesses style and class, and this one is a project car where a lot of the “heavy lifting” has already been done by the current owner. It’s now just waiting for someone to come along and complete the restoration or refurbishment to their own personal taste. It is located in Grants Pass, Oregon, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Strong bidding has pushed the price along to $10,300, but the reserve hasn’t been met. This is a vehicle that has sparked some interest since being offered for sale, with 162 people currently watching the listing.

Even in its partially restored state, the Classic Cream El Camino is a handsome looking car. The panels appear to be nice and straight, while the exterior trim and chrome generally appears to be in good condition. There are a couple of pieces that are slightly damaged, but I think that these could be repaired without the need for replacement. Rust issues in the floors have been addressed, with new pans having been welded in. The bed has also been given a bit of a birthday and looks really clean and straight. There is still some rust left in both rear quarter panels, but replacements for these are included in the sale. There is also a small amount in the bottom of the tailgate and the section just below this area, but it should be an easy fix. An added bonus with the Chevy is that it is fitted with tinted glass all round, and this is also in great condition. Obviously, the wheels aren’t original, but they do suit a vehicle of this style and vintage. Whether they stay or go will depend on the next owner’s plans for the project.

Overall, the interior of the El Camino presents fairly well, and could definitely be used as it currently stands. The upholstery on the seats and doors appears to be quite good. There is a single fault in the outer edge of the seat on the driver’s side, and the door trims have been cut to fit a set of vintage speakers. The wheel is in good condition, and while the dash would appear to be complete, the painted surfaces will require restoration if the interior is to eventually really sparkle.

Originally, a 283ci V8 and 3-speed manual transmission occupied the engine bay, but these are both gone. However, all of the mounts and linkages are still present if the next owner has the desire to undertake a faithful restoration. It isn’t clear which variant of the 283 was slotted into the engine bay, but even the base version with 185hp would have given the car pretty entertaining levels of performance. From there the owner could opt for a version producing 230hp, along with the 348ci V8 in 280, 300, and 315hp guises. Even the fuel-injected 283 was an option, but it was an expensive one that was only available for this single model year. As a result, few El Caminos were fitted with this engine, and finding one is the equivalent to finding an automotive unicorn. One thing that the original owner did do when ordering this car was to tick the box beside Option 324 on the Order Sheet. This means that the El Camino does come equipped with power steering.

This ’59 El Camino is a vehicle with a load of potential, and the next owner has the opportunity to wind up owning a very stylish and distinctive car once it has been restored. With the major rust issues addressed, what remains should be relatively straightforward. If you bought it, how would you finish it off?


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  1. TimM

    Straight body but the paint peeling in the back is a little concerning!! This is one of the most solid elcamino’s I’ve ever seen from this era!! Most of the ones I’ve seen have been rust bucket!! Could be a good project if bought right!!!

    Like 6
  2. Tom Member

    My favorite car. The recession bought my 59 El Camino along with my 67 Firebird 400 Convertible loaded with options and my 72 Stingray 454 M21 car.

    Bought my 59, originally out of Redding CA, super clean super solid in #2 condition with a running 283 for 10K in 1999. Sold it in I think 2008 for $15K. Very sad.

    Lot of rot in the quarters for a CA car. It has the CA 1 piece bumpers which were only on vehicles built in the CA plant. All others across the country had 3 piece rear bumpers.

    V on the hood indicated the 283. V with crossed checkered flags would be the 348. Having the trim…… period AND in good condition is very valuable.

    Green interior panels and yellow exterior? Again, if you study the market this car is probably already getting close to being overpriced. You can buy restored or #2 condition and get a lot more car for the money, especially considering that for some reason 59 El Caminos never really commanded big money, even prerecession. Now, there are not many left so that will drive the price. I wish they had undercarriage photos.

    Like 8
  3. Bob S

    Although I never wanted to own one, (I have a Cameo), I love the styling of the 59 Elcaminos, hardtops, and the convertibles. Although I thought the 59 Chevys were a significant styling improvement over the 58 cars, I wasn’t wild about the sedans. I have to admit, that in those days, I didn’t even look at sedans.
    I wouldn’t know the value of the car, but I hope it finds a good home.
    There is a member on an automotive forum I belong to, that is restoring one that I would only thought of as a parts car. I didn’t know if it was because they are getting harder to find, but this car, in this price range, would be a lot more economical to restore than restoring a basket case.

    Like 3
  4. B-rad jeepster

    my brother has a rust free one with both bumpers and extra taillight lenses NOM 350 that I am trying to get

    Like 3
    • shanahan

      Not specifically this car but I always wonder about cars less engine and trans being flood cars. a lot of flooded vehicles are transported around the country and given new life. (with cleaned up titles)

      Like 3
      • Tom Member

        The bumpers being one piece did only come from production on the west (CA) coast. NOW, are the bumpers original to the car? Probably. One piece bumpers are very hard to come by. Kills me that my car had them !! Darn stinkin recession!!

        Like 1
  5. Will Fox

    $10,300. no engine/transmission, wrong interior, rot on lower quarters, etc. At this point it doesn’t matter what the reserve is, it’s already bid way out of reality for what’s being presented here.

    Like 11
  6. Terry J

    1st round of the sparring of automotive giants Ford & Chevy in this new class vehicle in the modern era. Ford caught the General with his pants down with the intro of the ’57 Ranchero, built efficiently from lots of 2 door station wagon parts. It took GM 2 years to answer with the ’59 El Camino, an expensive version with little commonality from the other lines, but by then Ford surprised GM again by a re-intro of the marque on the compact Falcon line. Chevy finally caught on and one upped Ford in ’64 with the El Camino on the Chevelle line. (I always wished GM had answered back with a Chevy 2 version). Eventually things settled down and eventually slipped into irrelevance, but these were fun years in the automotive industry. :-) Terry J

    Like 6
  7. Del

    I do not think this sold.

    Its very eye catching in yellow !

    I think its saveable.

    Like someone said here this body is not to bad. Best one I have seen in a while.

    Its a pretty car

    Like 2

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