Envious of the success of Ford Ranchero that was produced in 1957, Chevrolet released its El Camino model in 1959. Based on the Impala, it initially came as a half car, half truck vehicle. Due to little sales, El Camino survived only for two years and Chevrolet decided to discontinue the model in 1960.
Four years later, Chevrolet revived the El Camino, based on the new Chevrolet Chevelle platform. This new El Camino shared its styling and most of its underpinnings and powertrains with the Chevelle. In 1965, the El Camino received a true boost in performance with the addition of the two powerful engine options — the performance versions of 327 in3 (5.4 L) engine, adding up to 100 bhp and the 396 in3 (6.5 L) engine. El Camino applied Chevelle's styling for its 1967 edition. It came with a new grille, front bumper and trim as well as air shocks.
The 3rd generation El Camino introduced in 1968 was now based on the 116 inch wheelbase platform used by the Chevelle sedan and wagon. It is introduced with a longer hood, "vee" rear side windows, a recessed rear window and a rakish front end. 1970 model year was marked by the availability of a new, engorged 6.6L V8 and Chevrolet's biggest and newest engine, the 454 in3 (7.4 L). In 1973, the fourth generation of El Camino was again redesigned. The front end still incorporates the single-unit headlamps while the wrap-around parking/turn signal lights were dropped. It was the biggest generation of El Camino with lighter construction, weighing less than the previous generation. In 1976, El Camino received a front end restyling with quad stacked headlights.
Launched in 1978, the 5th generation El Camino came anew and smaller, featuring a more sharp-edged styling. Since the Chevelle was no longer manufactured, the El Camino now shared its gears with the Chevrolet Malibu and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. V6 engines were available for the first time, and from 1982 through 1984, diesel engines were offered. El Camino's production ceased after the 1987 model year.
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