The image you see here is a drawing of a stunning Chevrolet El Camino by George Camp, who produced this drawing in April of 1967 in hopes of convincing GM to build a California-inspired El Camino concept.
Camp was assigned to the Chevrolet El Camino project back in 1964, beginning his long-running design career at General Motors. As a stylist for the El Camino, he was particularly proud of the 1968-1972 models, which were easily distinguished by a unique character line that featured broad flowing sail panels that tapered into a thin line towards the stern.
The concept El Camino features a nose that is very much reminiscent of the 1959-era Corvette Stingray Prototype, complete with a rather long nose. The rather small cockpit is sandwiched between a set of unique, forward-leaning sail panels that double as B-pillars, along with a removable roof panel, to boot.
Behind the cockpit sits a long bed, made possible by a long rear end. And would you just look at that rear overhang! One notable design trait is a louvre integrated into the bottom end of the sail panel, creating a unique character line that tapers at the rear.
This piece wasn’t all about the car, as Camp used items and people to communicate an interesting message pertaining to the easy-going lifestyle associated with the automobile and with California. The drawing shows a blonde male driver wearing a tank top and sunglasses, while the female – also blonde – is seen in a bikini and bare feet. The dress of the duo alone seems to suggest that the pair has just spent the day at the beach, while the reflective blue of the vehicle also emits a feeling of sunshine and the ocean.
Then there’s the surfboard placed in the back of the conceptual El Camino. The board’s color almost matches the playful tone of the car, while the surfboard’s positioning helps emphasize the elongated appearance of the El Camino’s graceful body.
According to those familiar with this piece, Camp’s goal was to build interest in the sketch at various auto shows in order for GM to consider it for production. Alas, the beauty never made it into a concept stage, let alone into an actual vehicle.
Dated 1967, this drawing was removed from a General Motors office and acquired by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in 2017 via a “museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from the General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.”
The medium of the piece is colored pencil and marker on paper. It is now part of the museum’s Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.