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Hello, I'm very new to this site and to El Caminos in general. I just purchased my first one. It's a 1985, Chevrolet, one owner, small block, auto, very clean, 100K car. I want to convert it to an SS clone and I'm willing to spend a few thousand dollars, excluding any mechanical work, to do it. I'm an old guy and have restored many early Datsun Z cars for resale. So I know how to do the work, but I'm not sure what needs to be done. I have started this thread with hopes of having other El Camino people who know the difference between a bone stock 1985 car and the SS from the same year, chime in and provide me with a list of what I need to change in order to have a nice SS clone. Please list anything that you can think of from large to small for the interior, exterior, badging, just anything thing that I need to address. Thank you for your time. I really need your help and advice. I will post pictures as the works proceeds from stock to my new SS.
 

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Welcome Tom! Congrats on your 85 acquisition. You have come to the right place for all that you're after.

To begin with, for your 85 "SS" transformation you have a choice of two ways to go. In 1985 there were 2 variations that could be labeled as an "SS" - there was the GM factory RPO option (Z15) of an "SS Decor Package" (aka SS Sport Decor) which was a simple aesthetic to the base model; and then there was an outsourced modification known as the Choo Choo SS applied by Choo Choo Customs, Inc for GM prior to shipment which included much more extensive body modifications (the ones that look more like a Monte Carlo or Laguna nose). Mechanically, both were pretty much the same as the base El Camino - it was basically an appearance thing at this post-muscle car period. I'll attach a couple of links here that can show you the details involved.

https://www.gmheritagecenter.com/docs/gm-heritage-archive/vehicle-information-kits/El-Camino/1985-Chevrolet-El-Camino.pdf

http://www.elcaminocentral.com/showthread.php?t=51192
 

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I have a 1986 ECSS ,not much different than a stock EC . Main difference is the front air dam under front bumper , gauge package with tach & trip odometer , blacked out chrome on some pieces , chrome trim left off altogether in some pieces . 85-87 no SS badge on dash . each year has a slightly different touch . The ChooChoo is a whole different ballgame. front facia is similar to MC SS Front end but not same . My 86 is a one color but most SS were 2 colors . All mechanical were same as non SS in 85-87 . Not much to it .also sport mirrors on SS.
 

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:Welcome!: Tom, Glad you found us. Have fun and enjoy NECOA. My under standing is the ss was all cosmetic. no change to the power train.
From Nick & Don
Grove City, Ohio. :newbie:bowtie smile
 

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I would think it would be easier to find a junked out El Camino Choo Choo and take the parts off of it and repaint the car. Those parts from Charlie's would be not worth the cost in car value.

Robert Jorrdan
Winnsboro,Texas
 

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Didn't know Lauren engineering is completely going away now. Good thing I made steel ground effects and doing my own front & rear late model body parts swaps.

If this is going to be your personal vehicle to keep, then the sky is the limit as far as what you can do to it, within your budgets of course. These are great vehicles to actually work on.

Body appearance can be anything from what you got now with a few repo stickers slapped on it to minor smoothing mods, to just front nose & bumpers change to full custom.


Outside of basic body look is the restomod trend. You have an assortment of aftermarket suspension improvements to bolt in. Brake upgrades are another good safety items. Engines weren't exactly awesome in 1985. You have so many options of improvement therefrom basic bolt ons to your 305 (?) , to 350 old school crate engines to the LS engine replacement trend. Faster better sounding engines are far less boring.
 

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I looked at an ‘85 Z15 SS a few years ago; it said ‘SUPER SPORT’ on the dash. If you want to go Chooch I just posted a lead from Macon Ga Craigslist.
Patrick
 
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