Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1986 Chevrolet El Camino SS
Rumor has it that Mattel's Elliot Handler (the 'el' in Mattel), spotted designer Harry Bradley's El Camino in the Mattel HQ parking lot and commented, "Those are some hot wheels," coining the new name for Mattel's line of toy cars, Hot Wheels. In fact, Elliot was so impressed by Bradley's custom El Camino, he insisted that Mattel use it as a model for the first line of Hot Wheels toy cars (The Fleetside). And the rest, as they say is history.
The concept of a truck like car came from a farm woman in Australia who wanted a truck to haul hay on the weekdays, and a car she could drive to church on Sunday. Someone from GM thought that was a good idea, and hence the EL Camino was born, although technically the Ford Ranchero beat them to it (1957 as opposed to 1959) but hey it's a great story! For consignment a Choo Choo Custom version of the El Camino right out of a second owner's garage, very much like the first owner who would disconnect the battery each time after it was driven, and put it back into the A/C garage. LOW original miles 17,775 and it definitely looks and runs like it.
Donning the Choo Choo SS appearance package add on from the dealership, this black beauty sports exacting gaps of straight steel panels, and save for 1 drive belt, is an ALL ORIGINAL car/truck. In addition to the aerodynamic nose treatment that was the primary styling feature of all El Camino SS's, all vehicles received graphics on the fascia, doors and tailgate, and a small chrome train logo above the glove compartment door. A limited number of El Camino SS (this one included) had aerodynamic-ground effect style side exhausts with rectangular chrome exits, which are just for looks. The hood has a rear facing scoop, and in back the bed on this example is lined with a rubber liner and has nice chromed rail bars to easily batten down any unwieldy cargo, bungee cords not included! Badging is all near perfect, and even the door handle notes its "Designer Series". I've always loved this year El Camino with its in bumper taillights, and curved rear glass, and this one the bumper on back and that rear window are just pristine. Aluminum snowflake bowtie badged wheels are wrapped in Good Year Vector rubber on all 4 corners.
Much like showroom, extremely clean surfaces starting with the swing of the doors revealing the door panels utilizing smooth padded vinyl in deep maroon, molded plastic in excellent condition which houses the door pull, power windows, power locks and side view mirror joystick. Slipping inside we are greeted with mid 1980's square and rectangle design for the dash, all functioning controls, and nicely setup for ease of operation. Cruise control is noted, and A/C with an AM/FM/Cassette player is fitting neatly into a square panel. Nice fade free crushed velour broadcloth with some tuck and roll inserts and smooth maroon vinyl bolsters form up the seating, and a large central armrest can be lifted to create an extra passenger space. Maroon carpet floods the floors and is as clean as a whistle, as is the tight maroon fuzzy headliner above.
Remembering the SS was for the badging ONLY, this sports its numbers matching original engine in V8 in 305ci format. There is a 4-barrel carburetor atop, and on back the 3-speed automatic transmission.
Looking just like it spent most of its time in an A/C garage, this undercarriage shows light surface rust on the usual suspects (axles, shock mounts, driveshaft, rear end) but is rust free on the floorpans, unibody and toe kick areas. Light patina is overall, but very structurally sound.
With my box of Good-N-Plenties (referencing Choo Choo Charlie T.I.C.) she fired right up, and I was off to the Classic Auto Mall Test track. Here this car did very well, with plenty of power from the 305, handled like it was on "rails" and steamed along smoothly at cruising speed. All comfy for the interior and all functioning. I was truly the engineer but did not have to shovel any coal thankfully, just press the accelerator and enjoyed the track.
For 1986 only 995 of these Choo Choo packages were made, and even less than that came from the dealer installing them. This freight carrying "train" is all original, low low miles, and only 2 original owners who both had the same theory, drive it little and totally baby it...Now that's classic!
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