The words have always resonated with me in part because when I was a kid, way before I went to school I had a ‘Dinky’ 1/32nd scale two tone bright green and white Chevrolet El Camino pick up truck which I used to delight in filling with marbles and lego and drove at least 100,000 miles on my knees.
I don’t remember that it was big enough to carry a Barbie Doll bed but I am sure I carried plenty of smaller dolls house accessories, for the girl next door.
Last time I recall seeing that Chevy it looked something like this, which might be considered a shame because one in good as new tip top condition is worth about £120 on e-bay but then y’all never met the girl next door !
The concept of using a coupé as the basis for a utility pick up truck came at the suggestion of a farmers wife in Victoria, Australia who wrote to Ford Australia asking for “a vehicle to go to church in on a Sunday and which can carry our pigs to market on Mondays”.
Lew Brandt at Ford Australia is credited with designing the first such vehicle in 1934 and General Motors Australian division Holden produced a similar vehicle in 1935.
Surprisingly the coupé utility vehicle idea did not transfer across the Pacific Ocean until 1957 when Ford launched the Ranchero, based on the two door Ford Custom/Ranch Wagon/Courier platform and in 1959 Chevrolet followed suit with the El Camino based on the Brookwood platform complete with tail fins.
When Hot Rod magazine conducted a test between the Ranchero and El Comino in 1959 they found the El Camino fitted with the top of the range 5.7 litre / 348 cui motor was capable of accelerating from rest to 60 mph in around 7 seconds and estimated the top speed at an astonishing 130 mph.
The first generation El Camino, like this ’59 model seen at Shakespeare County Raceway, outsold the Ranchero in the first year of production but when sales plummeted in 1960 the model was promptly discontinued, after around 36,409 examples had been built until 1964.
Thanks for joining me on this marbles and lego edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !