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We currently do not own an El Camino but my son has fallen in love with them and would like to get one for his first car. We have found a 1982 Conquesta andthe body is in great shape. The owner is asking $3000 for it. How do you know what the value truly is? Also, are their things we should be aware of in owning an El Camino of this age? What are they things we should check out to make sure we are buying a solid vehicle? We are not ones that can work on cars so we are a little timid going into this. It does not seem that it would need any work soon but we are not sure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Well we would all agree they are great to have. My 85 was my first car and its the reason i became a mechanic. living in the same region as you here is what id say to look for and some problems you may have.
I would check under the whole car and see the extent of the rust underneath, with in the first two years of having mine the frame needed to be cut off in the rear and a new one welded on which would be spendy. check the fuel and brake lines that run along the body i got a gas leak after a few months and a break line burst after a year or so. Also i would inspect the exhaust for rust, mine fell of the first winter.
now mine was by no means in mint condition but the body looked great other than the two spots of rust behind the rear tires (which is really common on these years).
the last thing to think about is that you are buying a rear wheel drive muscle car as your sons first car. Even if he doesnt go out and do burn outs, doughnuts, racing, and other stupid things. come winter he will be driving a rear wheel drive vehicle with almost no weight over the back wheels, he will be all over the road.
If you buy this car for your son Just dont let him ruin it, we are running out of classics.
 

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I gave 3000 for mine in 08, Check the rust and drive it, check for front end looseness, seals and such, odd engine noises, trans slipping/not shifting right or surging. Does all the acc stuff work? Some of the little stuff can be repaired easily but other stuff may be expensive to repair. A vehicle as old as these are can be expensive to maintain if they haven't been taken care of. Oh and check the brakes to see how it stops.
 

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Good advise above. Consider that this is a 29 year old vehicle, so things are due to start breaking. Nothing major, but vacuum lines, Power steering pumps, AC compressors, Radiators, etc all start to fail at some time. If you son is into mechanics, this would be a great learning project for him. If you have to pay to keep the vehicle running, then it can get expensive in a hurry ( and frustrating if it is in the shop a lot). Add to that the potential for rust damage in your part of the country, and it could get real expensive.

Not trying to discourage you, but just don't want you to be blind sided.
 

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Crawl under it, if you can pull off part of the floor (rot) walk away. Wish I had done that before I bought mine, but then I wouldn't have an El Camino....
 

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check everything as stated above,if it runs well then make sure brakes and all lights are working and if all is right then go for it. once the car is yours it is not really hard to tinker with and fix as some things will go wrong as you go thru time as usual. on the simpler things, get tech manuals when you can and when you need to ,read once,look at and check out what you need to,read a second time to understand and work on as you can. if still not comfortable working on yourself,find a good shop to take it to and befriend the mechanic that works on it and your son can learn alot by having him explain what he is working on. most older mechanics will love working on these older cars as it will be mechanical work rather than computers like newer cars and i have found that older mechanics like to pass on their knowledge to a younger person that have a classic. also on this forum you can find any and all info you need.
i am sure there are members on here that live somewhere close enough to you to become friends with and maybe help or at least give opinions on about a good shop.
aslo as far as what value is placed on these is hard to define,more as what is the value to you yourself and what you are willing to spend on and for it. i paid $1200 for mine,have spent more in it than i planned on($1350.00 just in stereo system alone) but am more than happy to spend it cause this is mine alone and is a reflection of myself. would not sell for less than $10000.00 now. so........

ron
 
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You guys forgot to mention to check the rear window for leaks and rust. About 80% of G body El Caminos had leaky rear windows because of the curveture at the bottom of it.
 

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I also own an '82 and I do believe I got somewhat lucky being in Arizona... However keep in mind this is the FIRST year that GM used the quad headlight setup along with a few interior and exterior bits... It is nice having an 82 though in that you can easily salvage parts from an 82-87 no problem, and most other parts between 78-81... SteelBeast is right though, check all your seals... Either way $3000 isn't bad, I picked up mine for $2900 and those prices will only keep going up! Any car under 1986 now is considered a classic/vintage... Plam on running into some mechanical issues and try to take it all in stride (better said have your son take it in stride). My first car was an 83 Elco and I wish I could go back and not have sold it... but now I'm on to bigger and better things with this one... This car will provide a LOT of mechanical experience and a solid foundation for driving... So good luck!
 

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I gotta agree with everyone. I also live in our area and my rear frame was about rusted off. If it wasnt for my grandpa, my car woulda been sold a long time ago just because of upkeep. But you can look at it this way: it is 100 times easier to work on these small block chevys than these newer cars with zero engine bay room.

I had an 80 Camino as my first car. In the winter time, you learn quick what to do and not do. Yes, a RWD muscle car probably isnt the best first car but, hey, when will he ever learn to drive on snow and ice any other way? Buy yourself some sandbags to throw in the back above the rear axel. It helps a ton

Jutst look the car over good. Frame, brake lines, fuel lines, seals and also listen to the engine. Have the car run for awhile to make sure it doesnt choke after running awhile. These cars are excellent cars with huge potential, and I think everyone on here would agree :beer:
 

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Definitely check the floors and the rear window for rust. If the rear floor is rusting, it's most likely because the rear window is leaking and water is entering the cab. Those are the only issues these cars have that I cant think of.

As far as being his first car I say buy it if he falls in love with it. My 70 was my first car and I've driven it in the rain and it's not that bad, if it snows in your area just throw some sand bags in the bed for traction and you should be good. As far as being a muscle car, most likely it has a 305 which is far from a tire burning monster hahaha
 

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Well, I bought my 1976 el camino ss 400 back in august as my first car! Paid a little over $3000 for it. Owner thought he was selling a 350. I am just smart enough to read the U in the vin and #'s on engine block!
Thing sat for 14 years. 30,000 orig miles to top it off! dont believe me come drive the thing. Bodys nice, frame looks like it was preserved in salt! Right away i had to replace leaky fuel lines and a leaky gas tank/rotted gas tank straps. a little over $200 later i got a brand new fuel system, so that aint to shabby. In the process i was able to knock off most of my cars "souvenirs" (rust). But all of our areas cars are going to rust there, but id rather have rust in the rear frame then all over the body!
No one mentioned to take a peek at the rear floorpans under the access panel. A lot of water could possibly leak into there, and cause the pans to rot out. But I think for a 5th gen rear pans cost like $60 and a saturday afternoon.
But check to see if records are kept on the car. I keep all my receipts, write down oil changes, etc...
These cars are easy to work on, and their body styles were used on many popular cars, so many parts are backwards compatible with a lot of other GM cars, which makes them a lot cheaper.
I get brake calipers for $14.
And if you end up going for a 4th gen (73-77) check the door seals. I dont know how they are on 5th gens (78-87) but on 4ths, the top of the window leaks a bit if the seals are bad due to no frame around the window
good luck!:beer:
 

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My El Camino was my first car when I was 15 and I learned how to drive in the snow with a few sandbags. You have to mind yourself when learning but you get the hang of it. When My dad and I bought my '84 we were not mechanically inclined at all. (Particularly my dad) I have become more so because of it the little things that come with age like others have stated above. Would say over all its a great automobile to have. My bed was already scratched up so we used it for hauling everything, which if you didn't have a pickup before makes for a convenience factor.

Also one thing to take note of is the mileage since it only reads to 5 places you are only left to the persons honesty and how the car runs to know how many times that it could have been turned over past zero again. Assuming it has a 305 you may not notice if its really at 200,000 plus it will not be as peppy as you would think and most likely burn oil and you will be able smell it. But you may not know either just something to think about. That one got me it was probably 200,000 but was told 100,000.

Hope some of this helps.
 
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