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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

I'm new to the forum and to El Camino's, but I've always found them quite appealing. Both aesthetically and from a practical point.

From what research I've done I've figured which generations really appeal to me. I Absolutely Love the look of the third generation El Caminos (In particular the 69 with that angled front) but I haven't been able to find much data about it's overall size(As I'd like to ideally find parking without issue and I don't have a terribly large driveway) and I like the fifth generation because they were a little shorter and I've heard good things about the auto transmissions in that line.

The El Camino is what I'd be using for both hauling(I do metalwork and need to carry anywhere between 500-1200 pounds fairly often), and for highway cruising when I need to go on a long trip and have an enjoyable ride that's at least reasonably comfortable.

Basically I'm wanting a daily driver.

So I'm wondering what to look for, any suggestions as to years or information that would help me make a better and informed decision.
I don't care about being original, I'm just hoping to get the best all round performing vehicle I can out of an El Camino and still have that nice styling and practicality.

Right now I've got my eye on a 78 El Camino that 'seems' to be in good shape. It has the 305 engine, but the paint is atrocious and I haven't gotten a chance to check it out yet. The fellow is asking $1750 for it. He says it runs and drives, but clearly needs a resto. I'm wondering if I could get an opinion on it based on the little data that's been given or what I should look for.

Thanks,
Adam
 

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Heavy Wrench
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Speaking as a 5th Gen owner (1982), doing a small resto for a daily driver is relatively easy considering the many aftermarket companies that carry Elky parts. Your budget will determine how much of a resto you will get.

At $1750, you shouldn't ask for much from the car unless the owner is completely oblivious to it's value. I would think that a "turn-key" daily driver could fetch a minimun of $4500 with about 60K original miles.

If you do not want to go through the headaches of continuous upgrading, body work, and repairs then you might want to buy one already mildly restored. Most of this type sell for a lot less than what the owner put into it. An Elky at this stage would fetch around $12,500.

Either way, if you are looking for a smooth riding car that carries like a truck, the El Camino can't be beat.

Good Luck!

 

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Welcome to the site, Adam! Always glad to welcome another Canadian neighbor. We have a Deputy Director in your area who is now starting to organize some events out there. Good luck in finding a suitable Elky for business and pleasure. Lots of good 5th generation ones still available at reasonable prices. Post some pix when you buy one.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Terminator,
That was more or less what I was thinking. And it's good to hear that they do the job that I'm looking for well. And as you said a small resto for these would be a good idea. That way I can get familiar with how to go about restorations as I'm new to vehicles, but have a good ability to grasp concepts and am familiar working with my hands.

So basically if it runs and there's not an obscene amount of rust it's a fair price at 1750? Assuming of course there's nothing huge and glaring.
I'm going to give the fellow a call then. Anything you can think of that I should ask about?

Thanks Terminator!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks John, and yes I indeed shall. I was writing you a reply but apparently I need to post more in the forum. :) Which won't be a problem. I'm probably going to give that fellow you recommended me a message.

And once again thanks for the welcome.
 

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Thanks Terminator,
That was more or less what I was thinking. And it's good to hear that they do the job that I'm looking for well. And as you said a small resto for these would be a good idea. That way I can get familiar with how to go about restorations as I'm new to vehicles, but have a good ability to grasp concepts and am familiar working with my hands.

So basically if it runs and there's not an obscene amount of rust it's a fair price at 1750? Assuming of course there's nothing huge and glaring.
I'm going to give the fellow a call then. Anything you can think of that I should ask about?

Thanks Terminator!
First and foremost, check for rust along the rockers, wheelwells, and floorboards. Then check for oil leaks under the engine and trans. (the rear end usually outlasts owners). Check the alignment of body panels, hoods, and doors. This will give you a hint of any major frame damage. Also look at the tire's tread where for hints of proper alignment.

Try to offer a fairly low offer first ~ $1200. If the owner drops that low then I would be leary that he/she is trying to dump the car on you. It's better for you if he holds at the original price.

I would do all this plus more even if the car is only 1 year old.

 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again Terminator. I'll add what you suggested there to the list of things to check. I just got ahold of the guy, and he says there's some rust starting at the rear of the car. Doesn't know the mileage on the engine. It leaks and smokes. It's a 305, so I'm not sure how much of a problem leaking and smoking will be for it. I'll know more once I actually get out there and see it. And I asked him how quickly he wants it to sell and that he's in no hurry, he said if he doesn't get close to what he's asking he'll just sit on it and wait.
 

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The rust starting at the rear is a concern, especially on the '78-'79 models. Rear frame rotting out is a very common issue on these cars. Start looking where the bumper bolts on and make your way down the frame in back of the tire, bring a flashlight and look at the body mount areas (another major area of concern), they are round and look similar to hockey pucks, they are rubber and go between the body of the car and the frame. Also the quarter panel ( body panels at the rear of the truck) look in the area in the lower body in front of the rear tires...... I'm from new england and i know how hard it is to find rust free G bodies around here, canada is probably very similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for the welcome! And 1983, thanks for the advice. I'm getting a nice list put together now on what to check! :)
I'm hoping that the issues I know about will be the only ones I discover on the car. Or are there.
Because I'd like this to be a daily driver without too much Initial investment. I'm looking forward to eventually restoring it - but not to original form. Ideally I'd want to use any new and old technology I can find to give it the best performance and comfort possible.
Is there anything that's a positive that I should look for?
And there's someone parting out a 77 parts elk nearish me. Are the years close enough to interchange parts?

Thanks!
 

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'77 is a 4th gen, completely different car
 

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Yep what 1983SS454 said, a 77 is totally different as far as parts. You will need to look for 78-87 (5th) gens. for parts.
As far as options, tilt, cruise, and A/C are nice to have on a daily driver. Having said that the asking price tells me not to get your hopes up as far as its condition.
As with anything else, look it over as suggested above and good luck.
 

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Good luck on finding a good El Camino for you. Just one note of caution, don't rush into buying the first one you see! The more you look and compare, the better you will become at finding the right one for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Alas. His claims of just starting to rust at the rear actually translated into considerable rust from the rear all the way to the inside of the doors. And some in the front wheel well.
Bah!
Guess I'll keep looking. Thanks everyone!
Also curious, does anyone know if certain years were shorter overall than other ones of either the third or fifth gen? I'd Love to get a third gen, but size Is an issue.
 

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1st gens are long, 2nd gens are smaller, 3rd gens are long, 4th gens are boats, 5th gens are small
 

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i must be the only one that cant find a car thats worth its money. ive looked at probably 12-15 caminos in the past 10 months or so and found nothing really even drivable for less then 3000. i posted something in the new members forum about a 1980 in pretty decent shape for 4500 and i jumped on due to the fact that theres almost no rust at all, the interior is spotless and its an acceptable daily driver. i havent seen anything this clean for less the 8000.

id say if your in love with the car like i am and your willing to pay for what you want go for it. but do atleast look around your area and see what the market looks like and what a daily driver is worth
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks McLaugh, I'm going to do some more looking around. I don't give up easily. :)
But I figure it'll be a bit of a hunt. And I'll probably end up paying a fair bit for one that's already had some work done to it. I'll keep looking and hopefully I'll bump into one at the right time.
How is yours now/what did you need to do with it McLaugh?
 

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Look, hunt, and search!!!! They're out there but the (steal of a deal) is hard to find and when you do you better be ready to jump on it because if it really is a great deal only 1 or 2 people will look at it before it's sold!!!!
Donny
 

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I actually haven't bought mine yet. I'M waiting for the bank to approve my loan but they've been closed for the holiday weekend. IT should be a edone deal sometime this week though. I won't really need to do much right away so I plan on just cleaning it up and seeing what all I need to do from the start. BEing on a limited budget in college ill and not knowing a whole lot about cars yet ill probably start with audio or adding automaticlocks and windows as well as an alarm system. UNfortunately the kids I use to baby sit for have grown up to think breaking into cars on they're own street is something they can continually get away with without consequence. JUSt gonna take it step by step to learn and have fun with
 
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