This 1968 El Camino SS396 is like a surprise party. Nice paint, OK, I expected that. Fully restored bucket seat interior? Nothing odd there. Big block power? Nice, but hardly remarkable. Price? Holy cow! I can pretty much guarantee that if you’re reading this and sitting on the fence, someone has already pulled the trigger on this impressive car.
OK, so this isn’t a matching-numbers SS396, not at this price, but someone restored it as if it was. The paint is Matador Red, which is certainly high profile enough to justify the excellent bodywork that lives under it. Straight sheetmetal looks like it belongs on a much more expensive car, and it doesn’t look like this car was ever a basket case brought back from the dead. The finish is shiny and bright, panel alignment is good, and, well, there’s no indication corners were cut to keep costs down. It does, however, keep everything pretty much OEM, including the hood, and all the factory details are intact. Correct 396 badges on the front fenders offer some warning to the unwary on the street, just in case they missed the blacked-out grille. Even the bed was completely refinished and doesn’t look like it’s ever been pressed into service on the weekend.
Finding an El Camino with buckets and a console is a rare thing, and it looks fantastic in bright red to match the bodywork. Correct reproduction seat covers, red door panels with ‘SS396’ badges, and fresh carpets give it a super clean look, again all out of proportion to its price. You’ll note that this was originally a factory A/C car, and most of the equipment is still in place if you’d like to get it working again, and the center console carries the horseshoe shifter that’s about the coolest setup ever devised. A later AM/FM radio lives in the dash and the steering wheel is an OEM piece that was perhaps lifted from a Malibu, but it looks right in the El Camino thanks to Chevy family DNA.
Those badges are legit, because there’s a 396 cubic inch V8 under the stock hood, making this truck/car more than a handful for most cars on the street. Like the rest of the car, it’s pretty correct under the hood, with Chevy Orange paint on the black, chrome valve covers, and the open-element air cleaner wears reproduction decals. Original cast iron exhaust manifolds are the right choice for sound control and durability, suggesting a commitment to keeping it stock, and the new exhaust system is a reproduction setup that sounds great without being too loud. A TH350 3-speed automatic transmission is connected to a 10-bolt rear end, and with power steering and brakes, this Elky happily dodges through traffic without strain. Given the price, the chassis is extraordinarily clean, and handsome Rally wheels with staggered 225/70/15 front and 255/60/15 rear blackwall radials complete the sporty OEM look.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re interested in this El Camino, I urge you to pick up the phone and make the call. Cars this nice often cost thousands more, so there’s undoubtedly another guy thinking the same thing you are. Don’t wait, call now!