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Discussion Starter #1
Hey y'all,
Name's Matt and I'm in the Kansas City metro area. While I don't yet have an El Camino, I am looking for one.

Looking for
3rd generation (mayyyyybe 4th)
#3 or upper end #4 condition car
Anything from the 350 to 402 engine. (454 would be cool though)

Primarily going to use it for trips to the hardware store, but occasionally just cruising around in something cool.

Lurking around here to learn as much as I can before diving into the classic car world. I have zero experience with anything automotive except stereo equipment. I do have a buddy nearby that has plenty of tools and know-how to help if I need it.
 

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Hi Matt, welcome from Idaho. Glad you've joined us. Best of luck to you in finding that special El Camino. Lots of people here to get help from and share ideas with.
 

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Hey y'all,
Name's Matt and I'm in the Kansas City metro area. While I don't yet have an El Camino, I am looking for one.

Looking for
3rd generation (mayyyyybe 4th)
#3 or upper end #4 condition car
Anything from the 350 to 402 engine. (454 would be cool though)

Primarily going to use it for trips to the hardware store, but occasionally just cruising around in something cool.

Lurking around here to learn as much as I can before diving into the classic car world. I have zero experience with anything automotive except stereo equipment. I do have a buddy nearby that has plenty of tools and know-how to help if I need it.
Welcome! Third gen is my favorite and have owned several over the last 40 years. I also owned a 77 Malibu which is pretty much the same as the fourth gen from the doors forward. Through the years I have noticed the aftermarket and original parts are still hard to find for the 4th gens. You gotta really love a 4th if you are looking to find a fixer! Better to find a primo example. Don't get me wrong, I love the 4th gen too, just be ready for scarce parts, but a labor of love will be rewarding in having a very unique ride! The down-side of my favorite body style (70) is the scarcity of cars! That and the price is goin up rapidly! My 70 model was purchased for 2k about 25 years ago and was a grandma grocery getter with original paint and in daily driving condition, 350/2bbl/t350 and nothing special like SS. That car right now would bring $7500+ but, restoration parts are everywhere! What ever way you go I can guarantee you this place will always be the go-to for any and all questions! No choice will be wrong! Happy hunting!

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Welcome! Third gen is my favorite and have owned several over the last 40 years. I also owned a 77 Malibu which is pretty much the same as the fourth gen from the doors forward. Through the years I have noticed the aftermarket and original parts are still hard to find for the 4th gens. You gotta really love a 4th if you are looking to find a fixer! Better to find a primo example. Don't get me wrong, I love the 4th gen too, just be ready for scarce parts, but a labor of love will be rewarding in having a very unique ride! The down-side of my favorite body style (70) is the scarcity of cars! That and the price is goin up rapidly! My 70 model was purchased for 2k about 25 years ago and was a grandma grocery getter with original paint and in daily driving condition, 350/2bbl/t350 and nothing special like SS. That car right now would bring $7500+ but, restoration parts are everywhere! What ever way you go I can guarantee you this place will always be the go-to for any and all questions! No choice will be wrong! Happy hunting!

Joe
Thanks up for the heads up on parts availability for 4th gens. I've been seeing a decent amount of 72's for sale, just not the right one yet.
 

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Welcome Matt, from Seattle, Wa.
I have a '78 GMC Caballero 5th gen style, and a '79 Chevy El Camino. Even though I have the 5th gen style, my favorites are 59-60, and 68-69. Growing up we had a '64 in the driveway, I kinda like them too.
 

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Thanks up for the heads up on parts availability for 4th gens. I've been seeing a decent amount of 72's for sale, just not the right one yet.
Again, there is no wrong decision, just choose the way you want to go and be happy! We here will back you up!

Joe
 

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@mbhoof Welcome to yhe the forum. My fav year is a 67....rare & $$$$.
I own a 82 which had been restored by the previous owner. Fully sorted.
It's best to purchase one somebody else spent money on. Typically, they can not recoup the costs of improvements. Especially in today's down market. Folks are selling their toys. Your timing to purchase is spot on, it's a buyer's market.

Parts availability is a big concern as already mentioned.
That pertains to body, interior, glazing, lens, electrical guizmos, etc., but not to the engine, diff or tranny. Elkys were equipt with various engines throughout the years.
Chevy made a gazillion engines and parts are available at any parts store.

To my knowledge, Elkys were not available with the 454. 396 was available though. Both are big blocks. An Elky sporting it's original 396 would be an SS and extremely desirable and expensive.

Remember too that engines, tranny, diff, brakes, AC systems can be replaced with newer more efficient and powerful engines. Brake system replaced for reliability. You won't have to do the above if you get the right one.

Oh, most importantly is rust. Check body panels, check the frame paying attention to where components are welded or riveted to the main frame members.
Drive train repair, interior work, installing sounds...gotta have sounds...are fairly cheap and easy to do for the average car buff to do.

Rust is terminal and very expensive to repair. Avoid at all cost unless you're envisioning a "rat rod" look with lots of patina.

Good luck and keep asking questions...learn before you buy.
 

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Welcome and good luck! Since you’re a self described novice, buy the nicest one you can afford, and take a car guy with you to look at it. (That may mean a $10k 4th or 5th gen is smarter than a $5k 3rd). Also, use the knowledge you do have on inspection; I’m sure you can recognize a proper stereo install vs. a hack job, right? Look at engine harnesses, vacuum lines and hoses, brackets and fasteners with the same eye.
Patrick
 

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@mbhoof Welcome to yhe the forum. My fav year is a 67....rare & $$$$.
I own a 82 which had been restored by the previous owner. Fully sorted.
It's best to purchase one somebody else spent money on. Typically, they can not recoup the costs of improvements. Especially in today's down market. Folks are selling their toys. Your timing to purchase is spot on, it's a buyer's market.

Parts availability is a big concern as already mentioned.
That pertains to body, interior, glazing, lens, electrical guizmos, etc., but not to the engine, diff or tranny. Elkys were equipt with various engines throughout the years.
Chevy made a gazillion engines and parts are available at any parts store.

To my knowledge, Elkys were not available with the 454. 396 was available though. Both are big blocks. An Elky sporting it's original 396 would be an SS and extremely desirable and expensive.

Remember too that engines, tranny, diff, brakes, AC systems can be replaced with newer more efficient and powerful engines. Brake system replaced for reliability. You won't have to do the above if you get the right one.

Oh, most importantly is rust. Check body panels, check the frame paying attention to where components are welded or riveted to the main frame members.
Drive train repair, interior work, installing sounds...gotta have sounds...are fairly cheap and easy to do for the average car buff to do.

Rust is terminal and very expensive to repair. Avoid at all cost unless you're envisioning a "rat rod" look with lots of patina.

Good luck and keep asking questions...learn before you buy.
Third gens were available with the 454. Specifically 70-72. The 396 debuted in 1965 and production ended in 70, the 454 debuted in 70. 70 models were available with both the 396 and the 454, but the 71 and 72 model years only had the option of the 454.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, I did it. Bought my first El Camino.

1985 El Camino conquista. V6 swapped for .060 bore 350sbc. Flat top pistons. Solid lifters. Roller rockers. 305 double hump headers.

She runs strong and sounds great.

Came with a used th350 transmission (unsure of condition, but previous owner said he was going to install it), extra intake manifold with carb, and newer front bumper.

Already did a complete brake overhaul and replaced windshield (two things I knew it needed before buying).

It runs a touch rich, so if any of y'all have resources/links to how to tune a carb, that'd be great.
 

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Well, I did it. Bought my first El Camino.

1985 El Camino conquista. V6 swapped for .060 bore 350sbc. Flat top pistons. Solid lifters. Roller rockers. 305 double hump headers.

She runs strong and sounds great.

Came with a used th350 transmission (unsure of condition, but previous owner said he was going to install it), extra intake manifold with carb, and newer front bumper.

Already did a complete brake overhaul and replaced windshield (two things I knew it needed before buying).

It runs a touch rich, so if any of y'all have resources/links to how to tune a carb, that'd be great.
What carb is on it? If it's running a hotter than stock cam most tuners will leave them a bit rich so they don't run too lean at higher RPM's, it's a balance thing. There a many books and I've read quite a few over the years, I'm not a genius at carb tuning but can get by. If it runs good currently but a bit on the rich side you might do good by turning the idle mixture screws in a quarter turn to a half turn but you can go too far pretty quick, so make note of every adjustment so you can back-track, it's real easy to get into trouble and have to start over! Read everything you can and hopefully one of the older guys in your area will be willing to help you out. Good luck!

Joe
 

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Well, I did it. Bought my first El Camino.

1985 El Camino conquista. V6 swapped for .060 bore 350sbc. Flat top pistons. Solid lifters. Roller rockers. 305 double hump headers.

She runs strong and sounds great.

Came with a used th350 transmission (unsure of condition, but previous owner said he was going to install it), extra intake manifold with carb, and newer front bumper.

Already did a complete brake overhaul and replaced windshield (two things I knew it needed before buying).

It runs a touch rich, so if any of y'all have resources/links to how to tune a carb, that'd be great.
Wow, super nice.
 
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