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Fifth Generation El Camino Super Sports

By Dan Smith

The El Camino did not carry the Super Sport designation until the 1968 model. In the early SS years, 1968-1974, The Super Sport designation meant not only different badging and accents, but also a higher performance equipped El Camino.



1978 SS


Due to a combination of tightened federal regulations, fuel embargos, rising insurance costs and a few other concerns the Super Sport designation in the El Camino options list was little more than an appearance package in El Caminos from 1975 through the end of El Camino production in 1987.

The fifth generation El Caminos (1978-1987) offered three different versions of the Super Sport designation. 1983 was the only model year in which all three Super Sport versions were offered in the same year.







1987 SS


1986 Choo Choo Customs


79 Royal Knight

1978 Super Sport (1) SS Black Knight (5)

1979 Super Sport (2) SS Royal Knight (5)

1980 Super Sport (3) SS Royal Knight (5)

1981 Super Sport (3) SS Royal Knight (5)

1982 Super Sport (3) SS Royal Knight (5)

1983 Super Sport (3) SS Royal Knight (5) Choo Choo Customs Super Sport (6)

1984 Super Sport (4) Choo Choo Customs Super Sport (6)

1985 Super Sport (4) Choo Choo Customs Super Sport (6) (7)

1986 Super Sport (4) Choo Choo Customs Super Sport (6) (7)

1987 Super Sport (4) Choo Choo Customs Super Sport (6)


1985 Choo Choo IROC-S

(1) The Super Sport package included a large front air dam; matching painted sport mirrors; special black paint treatment behind grill openings and on quarter window trim; choice of six paint accent colors on lower body; decal stripes accent the paint color break lines; rally wheels painted to match the lower body accent color; Super Sport decals on the lower door and tailgate and SS identification on the instrument panel. The Regular Production Option (RPO) for the Super Sport is Z15.

(2) The Super Sport package included a large front air dam; matching painted sport mirrors; special black paint treatment around grill openings and on quarter window trim; choice of six paint accent colors on lower body; decal stripes accent the paint color break lines; rally wheels painted to match the lower body accent color; Super Sport decals on the lower door and tailgate and SS identification on the instrument panel. The Regular Production Option (RPO) for the Super Sport is Z15.

(3) The Super Sport package included a large front air dam; matching painted sport mirrors; special black paint treatment on quarter window trim; choice of six paint accent colors on lower body; decal stripes accent the paint color break lines; rally wheels; Super Sport decals on the lower door and tailgate and SS identification on the instrument panel. The Regular Production Option (RPO) for the Super Sport is Z15.

(4) The Super Sport package included a large front air dam; matching painted sport mirrors; special black paint treatment on quarter window trim; choice of six paint accent colors on lower body; decal stripes accent the paint color break lines; and rally wheels. The Regular Production Option (RPO) for the Super Sport is Z15.

(5) The Super Sport Black Knight/Royal Knight package consisted of a large front air dam; matching painted sport mirrors; special black paint treatment on quarter window trim; decal stripes accent the upper and lower side body panels; rally wheels; a massive bold hood decal and Black Knight (1979) or Royal Knight decals on the lower front fender panels and the tailgate and SS identification on the instrument panel. The Regular Production Option (RPO) for the Black/Royal Knight is Z16.

(6) Choo Choo Customs, Inc. Super Sport El Camino SS model was available through any Chevrolet dealership from 1983 through 1987. The "Choo-Choo SS" was an appearance package only. Unlike earlier Chevrolet Super Sport models, no performance enhancements were made to the production Choo Choo SS models. A very large percentage of the Choo Choo Customs, El Camino SS's were not factory Super Sports. That percentage of SS's do not carry the RPO code "Z15", designating Chevrolet Motor Division's "SS Sport Decor". The following information on the Choo-Choo SS is from a 1992 Choo Choo Customs Specialty Parts Division catalog: "The original El Camino SS was produced by Choo Choo Customs for GM from mid-1983 until the El Camino series was discontinued at the end of 1987. In addition to the aerodynamic nose treatment that was the primary styling feature of all El Camino SSs, all vehicles received graphics on the fascia, doors and tailgate, and a small chrome train logo above the glove compartment door. Vehicles manufactured in 1987 also have a Choo Choo Customs logo with train on the front fascia and tailgate. A limited number of El Camino SS had aerodynamic-ground effect style side exhausts with rectangular chrome exits. Early El Camino SS until mid-1985 used aluminum body side molding with a machine-turned center and two vinyl inserts running full length of the molding. Later El Camino SS used a more rounded style body side molding. Some vehicles used factory side molding and fender well trim. Many El Camino SS were equipped with aluminum wheels. Early vehicles had center caps with styling holes. Later vehicles featured solid center caps. Aluminum cargo rails were also installed on numerous vehicles." *Choo-Choo Customs El Camino SS's also featured a certification sticker mounted below the driver's side door striker. *All Choo-Choo SSs had "Designer Series" emblems on the door handles, and, if ordered, on the sides of the non-functional cowl induction hood scoops. *The front bumper ends were cut off and a portion of the front bumper remained behind the front fascia of all Choo-Choo Customs SS El Caminos. The parking light mounting and lenses are unique. *Large SS graphic was used at the bottom of the front air-dam when no front license plate was used. Smaller SS graphic was used on the driver's side front below the parking light when a front license plate was used. The production Choo-Choo graphics came in only black or silver. *Many, but not all, Choo-Choo SS's used an additional Choo Choo Customs, Inc., "train" graphic. Often found below the driver's side headlights and on the tailgate. It is believed that Choo Choo Customs, Inc., experimented with different versions of their logo (train w/smoke trailing and CCC letters) in multiple locations, front fascia and tailgate, throughout 1983-1987. *All Choo-Choo Customs El Camino SS's were "final assembled" at Choo Choo Customs, Inc's., head quarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

*Production figures for Choo-Choo Customs El Camino SS (unaudited figures): 1983 - 587, 1984 - 1309, 1985 - 1198, 1986 - 995, 1987 - 861 (total of 4950)

(7)"In 1986, Chevrolet was the official truck of the Indianapolis 500 and a specially developed El Camino SS was one of the featured vehicles that performed on-track services before and throughout the race. This one-only El Camino SS featured an aluminum 350 CID Chevy engine and functioning strobe headlights and tail lights, plus a roll bar mounted strobe light system. A special El Camino SS was the only truck to ever pace an IROC race. This IROC-S also featured the trademark aerodynamic frontend design, IROC-S urethane paint in custom candy colors, and 16" aluminum wheels. Approximately fifteen IROC-S were built between '85 and '86." At least one of the NECOA members owns one of these Choo Choo Customs, Inc., IROC-S El Caminos.

Note: if you find corrections or additions to this article, please notify the author: Dan Smith
 
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