All this week General Motors has been highlighting some of the most important vehicles from its past as part of its “Cruisin’ the USA in Your Chevrolet” online-only enthusiast event, which it launched with the intention of entertaining car fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the vehicles that the automaker drew attention to this week for the online celebration of all things Chevy is the Chevrolet El Camino – particularly the 1959 Chevrolet El Camino Custom. Many GM fans will already know that 1959 was the very first model year for the somewhat weird car/pickup hybrid that was the El Camino. At the time, GM marketed the El Camino as “more than a car – more than a truck” as it blended the general styling of the 1959 Chevrolet passenger cars with a practical 34 cubic-inch pickup truck bed section and a respectable 1,150 pound cargo capacity. The ’59 El Camino’s bed section also had a double-wall design for added durability with built-in steel skid strips.
For 1959, the El Camino was offered in thirteen solid and ten two-tone color combinations. The cheapest V8 283 cubic inch TurboFire V8, which was available with either two- or four-barrel carburetion. GM also offered a 348 cubic inch V8 with either two-barrel or four-barrel carbs and a 282 cubic inch fuel injected Ramjet V8. Base models had a 235 cubic inch inline-six. Three- and four-speed manual transmissions were also on offer in 1959. Prices started at $2,352 when new – equivalent to around $20,941 USD today, by our calculations. GM managed to sell just over 306,000 examples of the El Camino in its first full year of sales.
The subject vehicle for Chevrolet’s recent video on the 1959 El Camino is the two-tone Aspen Green/white example that currently sits in the GM Heritage Center in Michigan. This car, which left the factory with the 282 cubic inch V8 and available automatic transmission, also has a matching two-tone green interior to go with the unique exterior hue.
Hear what else GM has to say about the first-generation Chevrolet El Camino in the video embedded below.