Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
El Caminos, love 'em or hate 'em, are a unique piece of the American landscape. With decades of tradition behind it, this 1981 Chevrolet El Camino Conquista is a cool street cruiser from the early '80s and presents in good condition. If you've been looking for one that hasn't been worked to death or modified beyond recognition, this final year rear-wheel drive A-body might be your last chance, because their values keep rising.
El Caminos really were trucks, and most of them were used like trucks and left for dead when they gave up. Fortunately, this preserved original example has most likely been a cherished toy for most of its life, and thanks to life down south where the roads are warm and dry, it doesn't suffer from the dreaded tin worm, either. The original two-tone paint scheme is tasteful and actually quite handsome, which, considering the age in which it was built, is remarkably all by itself. It shows some signs of use and age, with the driver's side front fender looking the worst, but fit and finish are above average, especially for a GM product of this era. And most importantly, it still looks great down the road. With a Conquista you got two-tone colors, and the gold and beige on this Elky really looks of the era. And if you want to haul stuff, just take a look at the bed, which looks like it hasn't carried anything more substantial than a few sacks of groceries since it was neatly covered in black spray-on bedliner.
The plush fabric interior is a fantastic reminder that this is no ordinary pickup truck. Upscale luxury was a sharp contrast to the working-class pickups and from behind the wheel, it's almost impossible to tell that there's a bed out back. It's all new inside and therefore extremely nice, with no signs of wear on the seating surfaces, which also look very correct for 1981. The matching door panels are equally sharp, with no UV damage or cracking like you so often see on cars from the '80s, and the same story goes for the dash quite a remarkable feat if you're familiar with GM cars from this era. The El Camino was a bit sporty inside, too, with a full array of rebuilt factory gauges anchoring the cab, just beyond the original steering column mounted atop a tilt column that makes it easy to get comfortable behind. Other options include power windows and locks, factory A/C that's blowing nice and cold thanks to R134a refrigerant, along with a newer Alpine AM/FM/CD/AUX head unit that handles the entertainment. This is definitely a great place to spend some time.
Full-sized cars mean full-sized engines, and this El Camino packs a smooth 305 cubic inch V8 that runs superbly and looks very well maintained. You could spruce things up a bit with some further detailing, but a little dirt does nothing to diminish just how well this car runs. It's mostly unmodified save for a few bolt-on components and basic upgrades, so that means all the factory reliability and drivability remains intact. Up top you'll find an Edelbrock carburetor, intake, and air cleaner, long-tube headers feed a new dual exhaust below, and there are signs of service parts throughout to ensure that it's in top shape and ready for the road. A TH350 3-speed automatic transmission was the only one offered (this one has an added torque convertor as well) and it turns a 10-bolt rear end with comfortable gears inside, so it's not geared like a truck and you can drive it all day without feeling weary. The underside is very solid and someone has upgraded it to a true dual exhaust system that surely frees up more than a few horsepower. American Racing Torque Thrust wheels look very sporty for 1981 and carry 235/60/15 front and 255/60/15 rear BFGoodrich T/A white-letter radials that look right and have lots of life left in them.
So, El Camino fans rejoice, this clean, final-run square-light Elky has been preserved for your enjoyment and is ready to go today. Call now!
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