Lets see now...How many of you remember these newsmakers..John Lennon is shot & killed..Mt. Saint Helens erupts..The U.S. hostage rescue attempt in Iran, fails..Walter Cronkite retires from the CBS evening news.."Who Shot J.R." is aired on the TV show "Dallas"...The year was 1980 ! It was also the year that I ordered my Chevrolet El camino SS.(I had to order it to get the 4 speed manual transmission)
I used this vehicle as my daily driver, & pick-up for almost 15 years. Chevrolet stopped production of the El camino in 1987.
It was about then that I started recieving calls by people wanting to buy mine. Now I used mine as a Pick-up a lot..But I always tried to keep it nice. So in 1994 I purchased a new vehicle, & I decided to keep the El camino. So there it sat in my basement/garage When one day I noticed how bad the piece of chrome was that went across the tailgate..so I replaced that, & that looked so good that I saved, & bought ALL new chrome for it, & stacked it all up in the corner for another job someday. Then I noticed the headliner hanging down, so I thought I'm going to have some fun trying to fix this thing up myself..So with some "how to" tips from the upholsterer, I got the headliner job done myself..& IT LOOKED GOOD ! Then I proceeded to take the whole interior apart to replace the carpet, replace some trim pieces, & get the seats repaired.(I'll never forget that evening when my wife got home from work & looked at the El camino with no interior in it...she just looked at me & said "I hope you know what you are doing"..We'll I wasn't real sure)...When I was done the El camino Looked brand NEW on the inside. We'll the body would be next. I looked at the floor in the cargo area..It was pretty dented up..probably from moving stoves, refrigeraters, washers, dryers, etc. We used the El camino to move our whole household.. TWICE ! Since I know enough about body work to be dangerous..I drilled, pulled & puttied, Then sprayed it with a can of primer, & I got it looking like it never hauled anything..But to give the rest of the exterior the facelift that it needed, I knew I was going to have to have a professional do that..So in the process of blasting the old paint off, the drivers door just disintegrated, so that there was almost nothing there.The rest of the vehicle was in good shape. This was a setback, as GM stopped production of new ones..but they had not given anybody else the rights to start producing new doors yet. Me, being from Pennsylvania, couldn't find any decent doors at salvage yards in the area..so I started calling California. I found a few, but the cost of shipping to Penna was extremely exspensive. Now this next part of my story is almost to good to be true, but I work for a tour bus company that had a bus on a tour in California. I called our driver, & he was going to be in Anaheim for the next two nights, which turned out was only a few miles from where the guy lived that had the El camino door. The man brought the door to the bus, & it rode back to Penna under the bus..It Looked brand new !
So when the body was all done, I pulled the transmission out, put in a new clutch, fixed a couple oil leaks, & did some more detailing, which include the undercarrage that I could get to real easy in our pit at the bus garage.
This thing is so fun to drive, shifting gears & listening to the 8 track tape player that still works. But this is not the end of the story..after winning at many local car shows, I started taking it to some National shows(the GM Nationals & the Super Chevy show)It has won first place at the Carlisle GM Nationals 4 times, & it has won first place at the Super Chevy show 6 times(with the "Best of Show El camino in 2009)
If the photo comes through, this is what I found on the mountain before putting it into Hibernation for the year(the roads were fine)..OH, & now all it hauls is "AIR". That is the story of the "SS Express"