Pick of the Day: 1965 Chevrolet El Camino Restomod

The first-mover effect can help a product or service maintain an advantage in a market segment. However, there are also instances of the me-too response overcoming the disadvantage in the marketplace. A fine example of this is our Pick of the Day, a 1965 Chevrolet El Camino restomod listed for sale by Precious Metal Classic Car Sales in Elkhart, Indiana. (Click the link to view the listing)

With the 1957 introduction of the Ranchero, Ford had the full-sized utility pickup market all to itself. However, Chevrolet introduced the El Camino for 1959 and when the model year was over, Chevrolet produced 22,246 El Caminos, outselling Ford’s 14,169 Ranchero. Way to go, Chevrolet! But Ford was onto something the following year as the Ranchero moved to the new Falcon platform and sold 21,027 1960 Rancheros, outselling the 14,163 El Caminos. Starting in 1961, Chevrolet offered the Corvair 95 Loadside and Rampside pickups, but they never approached the popularity of the Falcon Ranchero and, besides, they competed more directly with the Econoline pickup which, ironically, was Falcon-based.

But with the advent of the Chevelle for 1964, Chevrolet revived the El Camino, having the mid-size utility pickup segment all to itself. “Chevrolet’s new personal pickup makes its debut. Nothing so useful ever looked so good!” read the brochure. Available in Standard and Custom configurations, the 1964 El Camino was also available with bucket seats in the latter trim level. Also available was any Chevelle engine including the 327/300, plus a four-speed transmission; a year later, the L79 327/350 became available. It wouldn’t be until 1967 that Ford upgraded the Ranchero to the mid-size class and once again competed toe-to-toe with the El Camino.

This 1965 Chevrolet El Camino restomod was originally a Texas car that was professionally built and completed in 2021. The body was stripped, then new quarter panels, and door and tailgate skins were installed to replace those with decades of dents and dings. The hood and bumpers, on the other hand, are fiberglass, and the windows are Lexan. PPG single stage paint cover the flanks, and wet-sanding and buffing have given it a sheen that would impress Sleeping Beauty.

Power comes from a Vortec 5300 H.O. (LS-series L33), which originally put out 310 horsepower. However, with Texas Speed and Performance CNC-ported 799 heads, Pat G camshaft, and 112 lobe separation angle TBSS intake with LS3 injectors, that number is likely obsolete. Ceramic-coated Doug’s Headers with stainless steel mandrel exhausts exit above the rocker panels ahead of the rear wheels.

Shifting duties come from a professionally built 4L60E tranny with 2200-rpm stall billet converter. Power is sent to an aluminum driveshaft and Moser-built 12-bolt axle housing 3.42s. Braking duties are overseen by Wilwood Aero brake calipers, six-piston on the front, four-piston out back. More control comes from CNC master cylinders managed by an in-car adjustable brake bias.

All that heavy-duty equipment sure better rest on something equally as substantive. In the case of this ‘Camino, the custom Ron Sutton-designed suspension can be adjusted to your driving whims thanks to such names as Ridetech and Speedtech Performance with assist from the Performance Trends Suspension Analyzer. The rear is mini-tubbed with 18-inch Forgestar rims riding on Falken Azenis 315 rubber.

Inside, a six-point painted roll bar underpins Corbeau reclining bucket seats with four-point seat belts, with a vintage second-generation Chevelle console including “hyperspace” shifter handle equipped with Kilgore shifter when you demand manual shifting. The instrument panel features Dakota Digital VHX gauges complemented by a Kenwood stereo and speakers mounted in the custom back panel of the cockpit. Hot tunes don’t make the cabin stuffy thanks to the contributions of Vintage Air.

This 1965 Chevrolet El Camino restomod comes with plenty of photos, receipts, and more in a binder that’s over two-inches thick. That’s nice and all, but none of it matters when you choose to sit behind the wheel and drive this Chevrolet that’s equal parts style, power, and presence in a classic that does everything well for a scant sum of $44,900.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.