The black and silver satin paint on this 1978 Chevrolet El Camino immediately caught our eye when we found it here on Craigslist near Perth Amboy, New Jersey for the asking price of $7,500. Based on the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool, the seller has his El Camino fairly priced between the #3 “Good” and #4 “Fair” levels.
Chevrolet produced it’s first and only Coupe Utility, the El Camino, in five generations between 1959 and 1987. While Chevrolet based the first generation on its full size Brookwoods two-door wagon chassis, the next three interations from ’64 through ’77 relied on the mid-size Chevelle wagon. Chevrolet introduced a new, downsized El Camino in 1978, adopting the new, more sharp-edged and downsized Malibu styling with single square headlight grille. While the new El Camino shared front end sheet metal, doors, tailgate, and rear bumper with the Malibu station wagon, the chassis was a unique design shared with no other Chevrolet. Standard power for 1978 was a 200-cubic-inch (3.3-liter) V6 that developed only 95 hp, except in California where, to meet emissions standards, Chevy fitted the venerable 231-cubic-inch (3.8-liter) Buick engine. Two V8 upgrades could be ordered: a 305-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) mill with 145 hp, or a 350-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) small-block with 170 hp only available in El Caminos and Malibu station wagons.
The private seller presents his El Camino as a “Rat Rod” featuring black and silver satin paint. Thankfully, the silver highlights combined with the subtle red painted Rallye wheels prevent this “UTE” from the dreaded “murdered out” trend. Perhaps the satin paint hides flaws, however based on the pictures provided the body looks very straight and rust free. The bed features Herculiner paint, so you don’t have to be afraid to actually haul stuff in this El Camino.
The red and black interior presents nicely. We suspect the bench seat may be sporting a slip cover rather than true new upholstery, so be sure to check that during your in-person inspection. The interior also features a modern stereo and a new custom steering wheel as well as newer temperature, voltmeter, and oil pressure gauges. Bench seats are so rare to see these days that its nice to think you can cruise in this with your significant other riding right next to you!
The private seller provides several pictures of the newer 350 cubic inch small block installed in his El Camino and also states that his Ute features a new battery, alternator, and battery cables in addition to a recent tune-up. In addition to air conditioning, this El Camino also features power steering and power brakes. You’ll need to confirm during in-person inspection whether the A/C is in working order.
Unfortunately, the private seller does not provide any pictures of his car’s undercarriage, so be sure to thoroughly check underneath during your inspection. He does state that his El Camino, “Starts right up, drives and stops very well. No issues.” We think this is a cool El Camino that will gain you admission at any Cars & Coffee event before you head over to your local Home Depot to load the bed with supplies for your latest home improvement project. Good luck with the purchase!