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In the Garage: 1984 Chevrolet El Camino
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1984 Chevrolet El Camino owned by Dominick Speziale
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Generally classified as a truck, the El Camino (Spanish for “the road”) can be best described as a passenger car converted to a pickup. Produced by Chevrolet during 1959-60 and 1964-87, this “coupe utility,” as it was also known, was launched as a rival to Ford’s Ranchero built from 1957 to 1979. The El Camino was considered the perfect car for the gentleman farmer, who might use it to transport equipment during the day and take it to a nice restaurant in the evening. “The El Camino is probably one of the most useful and practical vehicles ever made,” says Speziale, “with its low truck bed giving easy access to a useful half-ton load. Being half car and half truck also makes for a smooth, comfortable ride.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it from an owner in Merrick.
“This car has 78,000 original miles and is in original, unrestored condition with a few minor dings and scratches that are just part of its character and history,” says Speziale, who, as a “picker,” uses the El Camino to transport various antiques and collectibles that he finds. “It is the most useful vehicle I have ever owned and is able to carry most everything. The air shocks even up any heavy loads.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you have one, keep it,” he advises, “and if not, buy one. They are getting harder and harder to find in decent condition and the prices keep rising year after year. You almost never lose money on an El Camino.”
“Why talk value?” says Speziale. “It is just too darn useful.” Hagerty, the classic car insurer, puts a value of $18,000 on a 1984 base model in top condition.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“If you have ever seen a blue ’84 El Camino on the Southern State with maybe a Flintstone kiddie ride, or a vintage Coca-Cola machine, or a 52-inch buzz saw blade or a real Santa’s sleigh, well, that was me,” he says. “What could be more fun than the stares I get at the rare and unusual items I find? The El Camino is just a pleasure to drive.”