Good Bones: 1981 Chevrolet El Camino Project – Sold!

Mar 2020 | Classifinds, Truckin Tuesday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

March 10th Update:  We noticed this 1981 Chevrolet El Camino we first featured on February 18th remains available with a fresh post and the same $2,900 price. If you’re looking to do an El Camino build and like the copper color, this could be a great starting point if everything checks out underneath.  Good luck with the purchase!

We find most El Caminos we come across tend to be a bit overpriced if you’re looking to do a build of your own on one.  However, if you like the exterior color of the recent paint job this 1981 El Camino listed on Craigslist in Freehold, New Jersey sports, then the $2,900 asking price has the makings for the start of a fresh build.  Worth noting is the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool currently lists the #4 “Fair” (Daily Driver) estimate at $8,100 while the NADA Guides Classic Car Online Valuation tool currently lists its “Low”, “Average”, and “High” retail value range at $4,935, $11,760, and $15,750, respectively.  This is a potentially a rare example of an El Camino where you could redo the interior and any other mechanical issues needing to be addressed and be in the black if you decide to resell it and move on. 

Chevrolet produced the half car, half truck El Camino in five generations between 1959 and 1987.  Chevrolet introduced a new, downsized El Camino in 1978, adopting the new, more sharp-edged Malibu styling, 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.

Equipped with a V8 and factory air conditioning, this El Camino has the right bones to start a street machine build.  Our only hesitation with this Ute is its history, or potentially the lack thereof.  The pictures provide a clue this example is being sold by a mechanic or body shop specialist, so if its the latter we’d look very hard at the paint job to ensure its a not “lipstick on a pig.”  If everything checks out during your in-person inspection, this could turn out to be a great project car.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Starts right up , runs, stops. It does need some things
so it could be looked at as a project car. Painted in the last couple of years.
It has been sitting so should be gone thru. Bed in good shape.
Trans rebuilt in last 30 days. comes with original hubcaps and rally wheels.
Has a V8 with air conditioning.

Do you have an El Camino story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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