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Choo Choo Conversion: 1983 Chevrolet El Camino SS

The El Camino was Chevy’s “gentlemen’s” pickup from 1959-60 and again from 1964-87. At first a full-size model, it became a mid-size for the rest of its run. For a time, you could get the El Camino as a Super Sport, just like with the Malibu. The last year an El Camino SS was built at the factory was in 1972, but it would return in 1983 as a conversion sold through Chevy dealers in limited quantities. This ’83 edition is one of them and is said to have less than 6,000 miles on the odometer. Located in Pompano Beach, Florida, it’s available through a dealer here on eBay where the bidding has reached $9,800. But the seller’s reserve has not been met so far.

The fifth (and last) generation of the El Camino was produced on the same full-frame, rear-wheel-drive G-body platform that was used for the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Regal, Oldsmobile Cutlass, and Chevy’s own Monte Carlo. You could still buy a Monte Carlo SS in the mid-1980s, but not as an El Camino as the decade before. That didn’t sit well with some dealers, so Chattanooga-based Choo Choo Customs came to the rescue. They were well known for performing conversions on a variety of four-wheel vehicles.

As we understand it, Choo Choo’s conversion process began by taking a factory El Camino and replacing the front clip with one from the Monte Carlo SS and then applying graphics and other conveniences to produce a vehicle for dealers that mimicked what Chevy may have built themselves. Between 1983-87, about 2,200 of these conversions were made and the seller indicates that the first-year numbers totaled 587. The cars were stock mechanically, so they didn’t have the same engine as the Monte Carlo, using a 5.0-liter V8 paired with an automatic transmission.

We aren’t privy to any history on the seller’s car but given the low reported mileage, you could assume the original owner bought it thinking it would be a future collectible. The car looks spotless and super clean with perhaps the bench seat in the interior being slightly dirty. The seller says the car runs and drives great and everything works as it should, including its factory air conditioning. The prior owner took it to various car shows and you can imagine that it turned more than a few heads.

Hagerty estimates that a routine ’83 El Camino in excellent condition should be worth $18,000 and the aftermarket SS addition would be a 15% premium. Given this and the overall nice shape of the vehicle, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that the seller’s reserve could be as high as $20,000. We’ll have to wait until the end of the auction to find out.


  1. Moparman Member

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I seem to recall reading that the “Monte Carlo” style front end is a custom made piece, as the Monte is a wider car…this one is vey nice…if only it had buckets and a console! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 4
    • Camaro guy

      You’re right moparman the tops of the fenders are wider on the Monte Carlo SS compared to the Malibu fender I had an 84 SS i always thought they were the same too until I was parked next to one at a show so a Monte SS nose is not a direct bolt on i would imagine Choo Choo had those custom made for the El Camino

      Like 1
  2. Rick

    Such a shame to have such a fast looking car and for it not to be one.

    Like 9
  3. CCFisher

    El Caminos were available in SS trim from 1968 through the end of production in 1987.

    Like 4
  4. Steve Clinton

    “First Year Of The Choo-Choo Customs El Camino SS”…Say WHAT?

    Like 4
  5. Steve Clinton

    I can’t get past that warped front clip.

    Like 4
  6. JoeNYWF64

    Dad’s luxury monte carlo interior & fold down armrest! seem soooooo out of place on a car-pickup.

    Like 2
  7. KDogg

    where is the guy with the 1984 Ford Escort comments? I miss him. Did he get back on his medication? Did he get picked up by the proper authorities? Has he been committed to a state facility? Does anyone know the answer?

    Like 10
    • Steve Clinton

      His mother made him sell it.

      Like 10
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        The rumor is he is currently back at the “spa” for some reprogramming.

        Like 3
  8. Ben S

    The vehicle report says it has at least 44k miles.

  9. Ben S

    According to the vehicle history report, it has at least 44k miles.

  10. RMac

    So like ccfisher said an SS was available from factory through 1987 I have a factory 1985 SS that I resto modding very few Choo Choo customs were actually factory SS most were base el Camino. The one here is NOT a factory SS mine has 330 hp 350 replacing the 305 a cowl hood and a fiberglass Choo Choo like nose the primal Choo Choo nose was urethane that often warped

    Like 1
  11. fred

    front end is warped, try to find another front end made from polyurethane ? they say ” to have less than 6,000 miles on the odometer. ” this truck odometer has been turned over !

    • RMac

      replace it with a fiberglass nose but they are over a grand .The car listed here is a choo choo SS but no a factory SS Mopar man is correct the monte carlo grand prix cutlass 2 doors from 84-88 went to a wider body so the monte SS nose will not fit the el camino from 85-87 you could get a factory SS that was not a choo choo factory SS that was a choo choo a choo choo that was not a factory SS the Choo Choo also came with a long list of options straight side exhausts with cutout and fiberglass cover fake fiberglass side exhaust, a tailgate lip spoiler, rear fiberglass roll pan instead of bumper, fake cowl hood scoop stripes, and all the interior power options. Still only the 305 with 185 HP was top engine never got the 350 the monte SS received as an option in 87 and 88

      • Camaro guy

        The 350 was never a factory option in the Monte SS 180 HP 305 from 84 to 88 i bought an 84 brand new had it for 31 yrs eventually put a modified 327 in it really miss that car lost it in a garage fire

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