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1987: A good year to say goodbye to the El Camino
Before crossover vehicles ruled the road, Detroit made a different kind of sport utility vehicle that dominated at the drag strip and on the farm. These were the popular "pick-up cars" that drove like high-performance, lightweight coupes but had the truck beds of a full-size pickup.
The most popular name in the world of the "pick-up car" was the El Camino, which made its final bow in 1987. This was one of the last RWD cars to buck the FWD trend that helped to extinguish much of what was left of American muscle in the '80s. Sharing much of its design with the Monte Carlo, you could buy an El Camino with a 145 hp V6 or a 150 hp V8, but not the L69 available in the Monte Carlo SS. However, because of the car's lightweight design, these El Caminos would jump forward if you barely tapped the gas pedal.
This model was spared much of the shame that a lot of Detroit's products in the late '80s garnered, as its looks were clean inside and out. The interior was simple and classy and the exterior didn't even look ridiculous when it sported a two-tone paint job.
These models, along with the Monte Carlos and Buick Regals that shared the same platform, were some of the slickest new rides available to consumers during the '80s. They may not have been as prolific as their predecessors, but these cars saved a lot of face for GM during this trying period.
Though it was sad to see the El Camino go in 1987, it'd be even sadder if GM kept the nameplate around and we saw pickup versions of the last Monte Carlos Chevy pumped out. We almost got a taste of the car-truck hybrid resurgence with the ultimately doomed Chevy SSR, but since 1987, no car worthy of the El Camino badge has graced American roadways.
Do you think it's about time Chevy resurrected this storied nameplate, or do you think it met its timely end back in 1987? Weigh in on the conversation below:
About PaulDavenportPaul Davenport is a journalist and car buff native to New England who has a lifetime of experience working on and admiring classic, and a few non-classic, American cars. Having studied journalism in college, Paul currently blogs and writes stories for a variety of companies and websites. In the past, his car stable has included a 1969 Z28 Camaro that he rebuilt with his father and a 1987 El Camino with a retooled 305 CID Engine. View all posts by PaulDavenport →
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