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El Camino - base
Madeira Maroon
V8, A/T
This '66 was sort of a "barn find" insofar as it had been abandoned for many years by the previous owner in the back of a shop in Reno. Someone in its past had dropped in a '70s era 350 and T350 trans with a B&M floor shifter. The seat had been replaced with, apparently, a 4-door Chevelle bench that does not tip forward to access the spare tire. Some of the trim and emblems have been replaced with repops that look pretty good, but all the bed trim needs replacement.
I got it for a good price and will put a few bucks into restoring it. I am thinking I shall return it to the original Madeira Maroon, a nice metallic burgundy color I had on a '66 Chevy II SS I restored back in 1988. The original black vinyl interior will be returned to OEM with a new PUI kit. Classic Cragar S/S rims will be "day two" correct for the era and I'll make it the '66 El Camino I would have driven straight from the dealer's lot to my local speed shop back in late 1965.
I will likely leave the later year engine/trans combo, but may add other "day two" mods like headers and glasspacks, a little cheap chrome engine dress, a Sun tach and gauge cluster, and maybe even an 8-track player I have had sitting around forever.
Let the adventure begin!
1966 Chevy El Camino - base (Madeira Maroon)


Lots of unwelcome rodents living here when I bought it. The whole interior will be replaced from headliner to underlayment. Man! Does it ever stink right now! I am still hunting down an original split-back bench seat to replace this old 4-door Chevelle seat that does not tip forward. Some pretty minimal efforts were made by a PO, including new door panels and badly installed carpet kit that is, of course, trashed now by field mouse stench.
This (it was claimed by the PO) is a native Nevada, high desert car. That means virtually zero rust in body panels or the chassis. I am starting with a clean, almost completely straight example, so the bodywork necessary to get it completely ready for paint shall be pretty minimal.
Here are some "before" shots, shortly after I towed it home to my driveway in March '16. The Cragars and Radial T/A's were my first mod.
At some point in the past half century, the original drivetrain was replaced by a '70s era 350 (I have not run numbers yet, but it has all the characteristics of a simple smog motor) and T350 trans. It is sporting a later Rochester 4-barrel and HEI distributor, but it otherwise has very period-correct appearance. The rearend looks to be an original 10-bolt open diff and I don't see any mods to the suspension or steering.
Somebody in the car's history converted the brakes to power front discs. I would have done that right away, too, since braking capacity was always the weakest link in performance in muscle cars of the era. I'll go through it all to ensure it is completely safe and ready to go.
How about some vintage traction bars to reduce wheel hop on that 10-bolt? Maybe it will make sense after it is converted to a posi, eh?
Wheel and Tire
El Cabongo came with these '80s era chrome rims and trash tires that I am surprised held air for the trailer trip home. One of my very first things done (as soon as it came home) was to bolt on some nice Cragar S/S wheels running BF Goodrich Radial T/A's. It turned out the 295/50-15 rears were about an inch too wide to tuck, so I ordered up custom backspaced S/S rims from Cragar and they are on their way. I hope I can get them to fit within the bedsides and not slap on air shocks and jack it up like a stinkbug - the way we would have done it in the '70s! Hee-hee.



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