On this episode of Dude, I Love My Ride, my uncle and I walkthrough the story of my grandfather’s 1972 Chevy El Camino 400. Plus, we go through all the custom touches that he made to the El Camino to make it his own, while still keeping it close to original.
Plus, this is the first video to go up on TFLClassics in almost two years!
Found in a Field
My uncle actually found the car for my grandfather. It sat in a field for years before my uncle went up to the door and asked about it. Upon his first conversation with Betty, the previous owner, she was not ready to sell the car, but took my uncle’s business card. Two years later, she called him out of the blue and offered to sell the car.
It was in pretty rough shape, so my uncle offered $2,500, which Betty accepted. Then, my grandpa began buying parts for the car and restoring it to its former glory.
Is it a Truck?
This is a tough question. Kent ‘Mr. Truck’ Sundling would tell you that a truck has to be body on frame. Well, the El Camino is a body on frame construction. Mr. Truck would also say it needs to have a bed, which it does. However, trucks are great because they can tow and haul. The El Camino can haul a decent amount, but it cannot tow very much. 5,000 lbs is about as much as you could ever think about towing and most reports would tell you that is a horrible idea.
It has elements of a truck, but we need to remember that it is basically a Chevelle with a bed. In my book, this is a car. It drives like a car, and it performs like a car. It may look truck-y, but doesn’t get the same job done. What do you think it is? Let me know in the comments below.
What’s The ‘400’
The 400 badge is pretty uncommon these days. Chevy offered the El Camino with a 402 cu-in V8, with a four-barrel carb. 6.6L for those who think in metric units. From the factory it made 240 horsepower and 345 lb-ft of torque. My grandpa’s car has it hooked up to a 3-speed automatic transmission that powers the rear-wheels.
The reason it is so hard to find a 400, is because many people use them to make an SS clone. My grandpa decided to keep it a 400, because of its sleeper status compared to the more aggressive SS models.
What’s Been Done
The car is mostly original, with some custom touches here & there. It was repainted in its original color, Cream Yellow. A new vinyl roof was put on. A set of American Racing wheels were added, which were a little later style than 72, but fit the car nicely.
My grandfather switched the original bench seat for some black vinyl buckets, with a center console. At the same time, he added power windows for some extra convenience.
A black tonneau cover has been added to the bed. Plus, one of the biggest aesthetic changes, the cowl-induction style grille from the SS El Camino.
The 402 cu-in engine was not running, so a full rebuild was done on the engine. While he had the engine out, my grandpa had the block and headers painted orange.
Overall, it has been done up in close-to-original fashion, with some small custom touches.
Thanks to my Uncle Tim for doing this video for me. My grandfather passed last October, this video is dedicated to him. He was instrumental in developing my passion for cars.
We are keeping the El Camino in the family for a long time.
We hope to continue producing content for TFLClassics as much as we can. This channel hasn’t seen a post in a while, but stay tuned for more content coming soon!