This is a 1971 Chevrolet El Camino SS. To properly understand this car, we must first collectively travel to the strange and faraway land of spiders and stringent government regulation: Australia. It all began in the 1930s when a farmer’s wife wrote a letter to Ford complaining that they didn’t make a car that could take her to church on a Sunday and the pigs to market on a Monday. The letter resulted in something called a “ute.” I know it doesn’t sound like a real thing, but bear with me for a moment.
A ute is effectively a normal car with the back seats and trunk removed and replaced with a pickup truck bed. Which is actually a really novel idea: all the refinement and dignity of a car, coupled with the usefulness of a truck. The Australians love them, and continue to buy them in droves, but unfortunately the ute never really caught on anywhere else.
Until, that is, the El Camino rolled onto the American market in 1959. Based on a Chevelle platform, the duel personality Chevy could be optioned with six different engines: two inline-six cylinders and four V8s. It’s difficult to tell exactly what is under the hood of this particular ute, but my bet is on the 402 cubic inch big block V8 that produced around 360 horsepower, all of which go directly to the rear wheels.
Now this is where things get interesting. 360 horsepower is a fair amount even today (about 3 Kia Rios, or 360 actual horses), and the back of the El Camino is relatively light. This combination made this car quite talented at burnouts, which are a delightfully childish practice. The car also had rather modern features, such as cruise control, power steering and air conditioning that, shockingly, works.
This is a great car. It has just enough practicality about it to appeal to your left brain, and enough fun stuff like stripes and bench seats to satisfy your right brain. The El Camino unites two things that really shouldn’t go together in a single package that somehow works. It’s just brilliant.
-This great color is called “Cranberry Red”
-“El Camino” is Spanish for “the path” according to Google, or “the way” according to my grade school Spanish teacher.
-I love the font that El Camino is written in on the side. Just wanted to throw that out there.
-It is a scientific fact that black stripes make a car faster. Harvard did a study.