Chevrolet launched its first generation, El Camino, in 1959, which has combined properties of a truck and car. Manufacturers took inspiration from already existing hybrid vehicles in the automobile market.
Is El Camino a Truck or a Car? El Camino is a car-truck with the hybridization of a car chassis and utility of a truck, a stylish front, a platform of the car, and the hauling properties of a truck. It is a hybrid due to the car’s drivability, presence of a tailgate, and high-performance engine make it a truck.
In 1987, the automakers stopped making and selling El Camino because Chevrolet S10 replaced it. El Camino is a Spanish term that means the way and preserved the traditional identity.
What is El Camino?
Chevrolet introduced the El Camino, a hybrid of cars and trucks with spacious rear cargo, a high-performance engine, and an attractive layout. Generally, it is a coupe utility which means it has a passenger cabin with double doors on both sides.
However, it has an integrated bed with storage volume and payload capacity. In addition, the cargo comprises double the length of the front side.
Due to this layout, it is more like a truck on a car’s platform. The manufacturing company launched them to fulfill the requirements of young drivers. These vehicles worked as standard cars with defined layouts.
Moreover, they offered the properties of a utility truck with a cargo compartment. They had the highest speeds of around 128 to 129 mph. Similarly, they can cover 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6 to 7 seconds.
How is El Camino a hybrid of a car and a truck?
It is a hybrid vehicle because it comprises the properties of a truck and a car. Below are the characteristics which make it a hybrid vehicle.
Stylish appearance and platform of a car
El Camino has a stylish front side like a high-performance car. The manufacturers have adapted the manufacturing specs of standard vehicles and provided a car shape to the front end.
They built it on a platform of a car with a two-door entry. With an integrated cab, it has accommodation space for two adults inside the cabin.
It has a style of a pickup truck with classic and stylish properties of a car on the front and a half-ton truck on the rear. In addition, it has significant dual-tone paint on the walls and doors.
With a V8, it comprises power assistance, several amenities in the passenger compartment, and an automatic gearbox. It has an Impala-inspired layout with a B-pillar introduction.
It has a versatile roof with distinct leaning pillars on the rear side. Through the cabin, the road visibility is clear, and ground clearance is identical to the standard cars.
On the rear side of the cabin, you can find a curved window and a wall with transverse properties.
Hauling property as trucks
Unlike the layout, its rear bed makes it a pickup-style truck. It has a spacious storage unit with a flat floor and lifted walls. With a closed tailgate, its cargo has a length of around 6 feet.
Under the wheel wells, it provides a space of around 45.5 to 46.4 inches, which matches many pickup trucks. El Camino’s cargo has a payload capacity of about 655 to 1148 pounds.
The gross vehicle weight rating varies from 4500 to 4800 pounds. It varies according to the suspension and determines the payload capacities. However, they are heavyweight haulers and stabilize during long-term driving conditions.
The drivability of a standard car
It has the driving features of a standard car due to its chassis and design inspiration. Inside the passenger cabin, you can find comfortable seats for the driver and passenger.
Moreover, its cabin is comfortable for exploring different locations. Unlike the other features, Chevrolet has introduced a Super Sport package on these hybrid vehicles.
It is a signature feature with options of high-quality tires. With the package, they have efficient suspension, high engine power, and an upgraded layout.
As a standard vehicle, it can cross a speed of nearly 100 to 120 miles per hour. It is an efficient vehicle that stabilizes on different roads.
Its Tailgate is similar to a pickup truck
On its rear end, you can find an elaborate tailgate. It can open and close according to the use of the cargo compartment.
Moreover, El Camino has an open bed which you can hide with a bed cover or piece of plywood. Unlike the wooden cargo, the manufacturers have added a steel bed on the rear side.
It attaches to the front cabin of the hybrid vehicle. With the specific screws, the company connects it to the passenger cabin.
Its iron floor is stable, can accommodate heavyweight, remain stable on bumpy grounds, and secure the transportation material. In addition, the tailgate is foldable due to its flexible design.
Due to its movement, it helps in loading and unloading massive loads and storage material. Also, it has a rear bed like the other pickup trucks.
Due to extensive design, it can adjust the freight of around 7 feet when the tailgate is open.
On the cargo, the weight limit can reach 4399 to 4850 pounds according to the type of drive train and specifications of the chassis.
A high-performance engine for load handling
It has five different generations with non-identical engines and variable horsepower. The engine power determines the load-carrying capacity of the El Camino cargo compartment.
Its first generation is from 1959 to 1963, with a V8 turbo engine with a standard horsepower of around 134 hp. With the turbo-thrust motor, it produces a power of nearly 354 hp.
The gearbox is 3-speed and 4-speed with automatic shift. However, the cargo volume is about 25 cubic feet.
Its 1960 model has a V8 engine with six cylinders and horsepower of nearly 169 hp. The company launched its second generation from 1964 to 1967.
The 1964 model has a powerful V8 with internal upgrades and a power of 299 hp. A V8 with a big block can produce 374 hp and has more weight handling capacity.
From 1968 to 1972, it has the third generation with turbojet engines and 359 hp. With the SS package, power can reach 449 hp with maximum payload limits.
It has fourth gen from 1973 to 1977 with V8 engines and power for around 104 hp to 214 hp. Unlike the other variants, they have a manual gearbox.
The fifth generation of El Camino from 1978 to 1987, with V6 and diesel properties. A few variants have a V8 with a horsepower of around 131 hp. With a V6, its curb weight is about 3221 to 3222 pounds.
However, the payload capacity is higher with a V8 due to its high performance and internal motor upgrade.