Vintage El Camino Press Reviews

Hot Rod, February 1959 - testing a 348/335hp 3x2bbl 4-speed 1959 El Camino:
"No top speed runs were made but estimated top speed would probably be near 130 mph for the car we tested. With a gear ratio of about 4.55 to 1 and the optional Positraction differential, this car would break 100 mph in the quarter and come close to 14 seconds flat."

Motor Trend, September 1964 - testing the new Chevelle-based 1964 El Camino:
"One of the hottest items on any used-car lot these days is the original 1959-60 Chevrolet El Camino pickup. It's very much in demand and usually goes for higher-than-book prices. After wringing out the new El Camino, we don't see any reason why this one won't be every bit as popular as the original - maybe even more."

"The El Camino seemed to handle much better than some of the Chevelle sedans we've tested".

"El Camino is a true multi-purpose vehicle. Good looks plus sedan styling let it be driven anywhere you'd take a regular passenger car. You never feel out of place - even the ladies should be at ease with it. On the other hand, this Chevelle is built ruggedly enough to withstand the rigors of pickup-truck work without giving up at the first sign of rough going."

Hot Rod, May 1966 - testing a 327/275hp 1966 El Camino:
"Slicing through the doldrums of a becalmed afternoon or bending around a pinched curve on a twisting mountain road, the Chevelle El Camino exhibited a fleetness of foot. Slim roof pillars plus petite pickup cabin put the driver right in the middle of the world."

"First trip in total stock shape netted an 80.72 speed and 17.64 e.t. Next, another pass was made to ensure that all the carbon was out, and this showed a slightly better 17.32 [@] 82.11 for a hard run. Finally, the air injector [smog] pump was reconnected, only with the hoses reversed, so that fresh air was pumped into, not out of, the air cleaner. Sort of a small super-charger, you might say. The car ... charged from there to a 16.93 - 85.22 mph performance, the best yet, and hinted that if a colder range of spark plug were installed and the carburetor rejetted, total performance might be shattering. In fact, at $47.50, the complete air injector package that fits virtually every late-model Chevy with little difficulty (Fords, too), it might turn out to be the accessory of the year if a quick 1/2-second is worth under half a hundred [$]."

Hot Rod, June 1968 - testing the new SS-396 1968 El Camino:
"As comfy and as powerful as a comparable Chevelle, it'll take half-ton loads easily and has enough style and class to be parked in front of the Beverly Hilton without embarrassment."

"Stylists sure had a ball with this car."

"During our tenure with the El Camino, we developed salesmanship qualities. As with any car appealing to us, we find others equally attracted. Many inquirers came our way asking: "What's it cost?" or "How do ya like it?" and "Does it run as good as it looks?". Often the comments were compliments. Good words came about the high-class interior and general passenger car-like design."

Car Craft, June 1968 - testing the new SS-396 1968 El Camino:
"Chevrolet tossed a change of pace pitch this month in the form of their El Camino pickup, close relative to the Chevelle. The SS 396 machine was used for everything from work to play, from towing a dragster to races to brief excursions in the country. The CC Camino batted a thousand as it fielded every liner we could toss it, including a brief drag session."

"... the suspension characteristics of the vehicle were pleasant as a whole. We'll even go to extremes and say they were commendable in light of the fact that we were dealing with a pickup."

"In closing, all we have to say is that the Car Craft staff fell in love with the CC Camino, and, in short, we didn't want to give it back !"

Car Life, July 1968 - testing the "spectacular" new SS-396 1968 El Camino:
"Chevrolet's other two-seater for enthusiasts goes fast, handles like a champ, and has good looks. really now, this is a truck ?"

"One of the dividing lines between Supercars and just plain cars is a quarter-mile elapsed time of 15 seconds or less. The El Camino was a Supercar, or even a Supertruck, if such exists. Quarter-mile times were in the high 14s, run after run. No drama, no trick starts, no between-run trips to the garden hose for emergency cooling, just instant performance.
Mind, the El Camino wasn't equipped for the drags. The tests were with exhaust emission controls, street tires and pressures and the standard 3.31:1 final drive gearing. The Turbo Hydra-Matic shifted quickly and firmly every time. Very impressive.
Highway performance is just as good. Mentioning no names, but there are high-performance engines on the market that are only suitable for racing, being lumpy and intractable at less than full throttle. They come with transmissions which are either in or out. The result is road performance in a series of lurches and clanks. The 396/Turbo combination, though, is powerful and smooth all the way from traffic trickle to pure stock eliminator."

"Whatever the use, or the reason, the El Camino has appeal. It's good looking. With the 350/396, it goes like the hammers. It is more comfortable than a truck, and has more cargo space than a station wagon. Just about everybody who sees it can think of a good reason for wanting to own one. Fancier than a truck, more utilitarian than a passenger car, able to leap past sports cars in a single bound, the El Camino will fill needs that the owner never knew he had."

Car Craft, April 1970 - testing a modified 1970 El Camino:
"The [1970 SS] El Camino is probably the sexiest truck in existence."

Hot Rod, [month unknown] 1970 - after running 13.44 @ 108.17 in an LS6 1970 El Camino:
"The past is gone. The future may never see a car [truck] like this again."

Drag Racing USA, February 1971 - testing an LS5 SS-454 1971 El Camino:
"The quarter-mile performance was frankly better than we'd expected with this new low-compression version of what had been a high-compression engine. Our e.t.'s averaged 14.7 seconds at speeds of 96 to 97 mph. Not threatening the sound barrier, but we have to add one comment: That's the fastest we've ever put a showroom stocker through the traps on regular fuel !"
"We feel a well broken-in SS 454 would do even better. At the time of our test, our Camino showed barely more than 200 miles on the odometer. It was still tight. Given a few hundred more miles and sharp tuning, we see no reason why two or three tenths, at least, wouldn't come off the e.t."

Complete Chevrolet Book, 1973 - commenting on the new 1973 El Camino:
"On the road, the El Camino is a real pleasure to drive. Smooth and quiet as a family sedan, yet capable of keeping up with the fast stuff, it handles quite well with the stock suspension, very well with the heavy-duty option. Unless one peeks rearward, the passengers would never know that the deluxe coupe that they are riding in has a truck out back."

Car and Driver, April, 1978 - testing the new "down-sized" 1978 El Camino:
"Flush the image. The new El Camino is so good as a car that once you've hammered some astounded Z-car driver in an on-ramp race, you'll never think of it as a Saturday-afternoon fertilizer hauler again. The down-sizing and re-designing that went into the rest of the GM A-body (intermediate) line this year also benefits the El Camino, maybe even to a greater degree than the cars."

"More than its 112-mph top speed, though, the El Camino impresses its driver by simply riding and handling superbly. No truck anyone in the C/D offices had ever driven responded the way the plush Super Sport we tested did;"

 

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