You might call today’s Nice Price or No Dice Chevy the El Camaro. That’s owed to its role as a homage to the El Camino car-truck of years gone by. Will the price make it a name worth remembering?
Speaking of remembering, do you recall the Bob Seger song “Beautiful Loser?” I was humming that to myself while tallying up the votes on yesterday’s 1991 BMW 316i Touring. That wagon looked gorgeous in the ad pictures, but its lack of appreciable horsepower and A/C made its $17,000 price tag untenable for most. That resulted in 78 percent No Dice loss. Beautiful loser indeed.
Once a mainstay of the American automotive scene, the car/truck body style has sadly been ceded to other nations. I’m looking at you Australian Ute owners. G’day, mates.
Back here in the States, the niche is somewhat still filled by the Alabama-built Honda Ridgeline, but that’s not really the same thing. The real heroes, of course, are those enterprising individuals who take hacksaw in hand and go the homebrew route.
This 1997 Chevy Camaro is representative of that group. The red-over-charcoal custom F-body is obviously an aftermarket job, but it looks remarkably well crafted for such an odd bodkin of a car. The conversion to the El Camino-esque style involved more than just replacing the Camaro’s hatch with an inset well. Looking that the car you can see that the wheelbase has been extended significantly and a canted rear window has been installed in the trailing edge of the B-pillar hoop.
The funky truck lacks an openable tailgate, but it more than makes up for that omission by featuring the Camaro’s original mail-slot wing in the bed cap above the tail lamps. With the exception of the clunky custom grille and some apron scrapings below that, the car looks to be in very decent shape.
What could you do with such a clever Camaro? Well, the seller says you could use it to haul “your bike, your bed, a keg, or your pot belly pig.” How enjoyably versatile. The ad further cautions that, as modified, the car will only seat two, lest you think it has some kiddie seats crammed in somewhere.
Those two seats along with what’s left of the cabin are all stock Camaro and look to be in acceptable shape. Yes, it’s all cheap and plasticky, but then that’s just how Chevy built them. They didn’t build the Camaro with a utilitarian pickup bed on an extended wheelbase, however, and that’s what gives this “one of a kind” edition its claim to fame. Another plus here is the addition of T-tops which makes this Camaro something like the second-generation Subaru Brat.
Power is provided by what the ad says is a “new rebuilt LKQ engine.” That’s said to be a 350 of some sort and could have come out of anything. If you’re not familiar, LKQ owns Pick Your Part. An automatic transmission of some sort backs that up.
There are just 62,975 miles on this Camaro’s clock. Sadly, the seller chose Facebook Marketplace as their classified venue and that doesn’t require sellers to provide title status. Let’s assume it’s clear. With all that in mind, what should someone pay for this crazy Camaro? The asking price is $5,500, and that gets you a car that, honestly, doesn’t seem to be fish nor fowl. The bed isn’t really big enough or accessible enough to use for hauling things you might normally carry in the pickup. The long wheelbase and odd shape additionally make the car less attractive than the factory coupe. What you’re left with is the car’s inherent uniqueness, the bragging rights for its one-of-a-kind status, and the honor of continuing the El Camino’s legacy.
What do you think, is that all worth $5,500? Or, is this El Camaro just too expensive to pick up?
H/T to Goose for the hookup!
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