Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Pump the brakes naysayers, this is not your average hauler, nor is it just some drubbed-up clone. No, this 1972 Chevrolet El Camino SS 454 Tribute is only a 'tribute' in the sense that it's had a heart transplant and now its badges reflect it. By 1972 the 'SS' was just an appearance package for the El Camino and you could get one with either a 350, a 402 (which is what this was born with), or a 454 V8. The feds forced GM to cut down on performance and horsepower this year, and the memory of those edicts mean these models can sometimes be forsaken in the collector car world today. So, what's the solution? Do exactly what the builders of this beauty did pack the engine bay with 454 cubic inches of raw, lopey big block power, and leave the killer, factory good-looks alone. Correcting GM's past mistakes (the ones that directly led to the end of the muscle car era) is the name of the game with this Elky SS, as it now features the best of both-worlds old school SS-big block power wrapped in a fan-favorite body style.
Very recently restored, this car/truck is just stunning in person. The top driver-quality paint is absolutely jaw-dropping in person, the Cortez Silver paint (a huge upgrade over the factory code 56 Cream Yellow) was expertly laid on the sheetmetal creating a finish that's absolutely dialed-in all over. For many, these later cars with their single headlight front ends are the most appealing, and this one carries all the right pieces to make it look great, including a cowl induction hood with hood pins, a blacked-out SS grille, and a blacked-out tail panel as a perfect end cap. Paint and bodywork are really impressive, with great gaps, super straight surfaces that are smooth to the touch and a deep gloss that goes beyond anything GM was doing on the assembly line in 1972. Not quite show quality, as an imperfection or two will likely surface under the microscope, but a high-end driver nonetheless that's need no excuses. The black stripes are painted on and buried under the clearcoat, while out back the bed has been covered with a black spray-in bedliner that not only looks great, but will protect the metal from just about anything you can throw at it. Excellent chrome on the bumpers and the stainless trim around the wheel arches and glass add just enough of flash to the Cortez Silver finish, and with the freshly added '454' and big 'SS' badges, everyone will know exactly what they're about to tussle with at the red light.
The beautiful black vinyl interior is as nice as the body, with a set of comfortable, factory-style bucket seats nestled snugly between a center console that houses a sought-after horseshoe 'staple' shifter. The cabin is surprisingly roomy, with factory black door panels (SS door panels were discontinued by 1972) at the flanks, plush black carpets lining the floors, and a taut headliner above that were all recently installed at the same time and give the interior a sporty vibe; from behind the wheel, most would think they were driving a Chevelle SS. The options list is just what the doctor ordered, including power front disc brakes and power steering, modern A/C, a tilt steering wheel, seatbelts, and a retro-style AM/FM/AUX stereo neatly installed in the center of the dash all features that any driver with a sense for the road is greatly appreciative of. The dash is impressive, with functional gauges and a beautiful dash pad, and in the spirit of performance, a tachometer and factory auxiliary gauges inside the original bezel keep a close eye on the engine's vitals. The SS steering wheel is a stock unit that feels great in the hands of the driver and with the big window out back, the cabin feels very roomy. Simple yet refined, this Elky SS's cab is a very comfortable place to be.
The engine is a stout 454 cubic inch V8, a Chevrolet customer exchange block that was neatly installed in between the shiny black inner fenders, and it's got plenty of big block up and down the throttle. With chrome valve covers, a chrome open-element air cleaner, and original style exhaust manifolds, it's close to an OEM installation with just a dash of modern flash. Under the air cleaner lives an Edelbrock Performer RPM intake manifold, a big Holley 4-barrel carburetor, an HEI ignition system, and healthy cam inside the motor that provides a great lope. Heck, even with the A/C on the idle sounds throaty and slightly threatening. An H-pipe dual exhaust system with Flowmaster mufflers gives it a fantastic big block bark, and the slick-shifting TH400 3-speed automatic transmission doesn't mind the occasional hard pedal slam in the heat of combat. A heavy-duty 12-bolt rear end handles all that added horsepower without blinking and the brakes were very smartly upgraded to power front discs. It rolls on a set of SS-style mag wheels wearing 225/70/15 Cooper Cobra radials all around.
Look at the photos again. This is a clean, so
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