1986 Chevrolet El Camino
By Vern Parker
In 1957 the powers that be at the Chevrolet division of General Motors witnessed the success that rival Ford was experiencing with their car/truck Ranchero and decided to respond with the Chevrolet El Camino.
The El Camino was a handsome passenger car styled vehicle with a pickup truck type bed with a tailgate.
The attractive El Camino was introduced in 1959 and proved to be popular with motorists wanting passenger car comfort along with the versatility of a pickup truck.
Years later the continuing appeal of an El Camino was not lost on Randy Denchfield, a roofing contractor in Maryland. Large trucks were necessary for large tasks, however, he found the El Camino ideal for tasks not needing an excessive amount of hauling capability.
Besides, he says, the El Camino looked cool and drove like a car. Consequently, he purchased a black El Camino and drove it for several years. He thoroughly enjoyed his El Camino but it seemed to be a magnet for other vehicles on the road.
After surviving a number of collisions and being totaled by his insurance company he reluctantly realized the time had come to replace his El Camino.
Unbeknownst to Denchfield his wife, Susan, had already come to the same conclusion regarding the replacement of her husband's beloved El Camino.
In 2005 she sat down at her computer and electronically began searching for a good, clean, used El Camino.
It wasn't long before she located a blue 1986 El Camino for sale by the second owner in Cincinnati, Ohio. The description of the Chevrolet satisfied what she knew her husband wanted in such a vehicle.
By this time she had to confess to her husband that she had located a replacement for his beat up old Chevrolet.
The seller insisted on a cash transaction for the El Camino so Denchfield and his wife and the cash flew to Cincinnati to see the vehicle. Initially the seller was going to meet them at the airport but at the last minute instructed the Denchfields to take a taxi to the home were the vehicle was parked.
When the apprehensive couple arrived at the address they found the El Camino and the accommodating owner.
After a cursory inspection of the El Camino Denchfield sought approval to take the El Camino on it's 108-inch wheelbase for a test drive.
He was enjoying the powerful V-8 engine propelling the vehicle so much that he lost track of time until the seller called him on his cell phone inquiring when he might be returning.
The deal was done and the Denchfields returned to their Maryland home to await the truck that was going to be bringing the El Camino. When it arrived it was the perfect replacement for Denchfield's earlier troubled El Camino.
This one was blue with an interior upholstered in a combination of blue fabric and blue vinyl. Behind the driver's seat the 14-inch spare tire is stored.
Denchfield notes that this El Camino is a base model which is perfect for how he wants to use it. The vehicle is equipped with air conditioning and a tilt steering wheel as well as power assisted steering, brakes and windows. The windshield is kept clear with intermittent wipers and the rear window is contoured to match the curves of the car. Also integrated into the lines of the El Camino are the taillights in the rear bumper.
At the other end of the vehicle are the four rectangular headlights. To Denchfield's way of thinking the El Camino remains a classy work truck with 85,000 miles currently showing on the odometer beside the 85 mile-per-hour speedometer.
Still, he admits, “It has a great profile and is a handsome car.”