My Classic Car: Honoring my Brother’s El Camino

In 1982 my younger brother Robert bought a 1964 Chevrolet El Camino. It wasn’t the prettiest truck, but he loved it none the less. He spent months patching it up: new wheels, reupholstering the bench seat, new carpet, and finally new paint in that beautiful Chevy red. This truck meant everything to him.

Rob’s 1964 El Camino, images courtesy of Denise M.

In October of 1984, at age 22 Robert was killed in a car accident, in his work truck. He was my only sibling, and of course everyone was devastated. My parents parked his El Camino in the garage and it sat for 3 months before deciding to give it to me.
I was ecstatic to be able to keep and love Rob’s truck. It held so many memories, and I treated it not quite as a shrine, but pretty close. I babied it, bought a cover to keep the paint as perfect as I could, nobody was ever allowed to lean against it, or sit on the side. It was my daily driver at that point.
In 1986, and why I’ll never know, my parents forced me to sell the El Camino. I believe it was because my mother just couldn’t stand to look at it anymore, the memories were just too horrible to deal with, and as such, I sold it.
I was 25. After that I promised myself that I would buy my own El Camino, and it would be a clone of Rob’s truck.

Flash forward 36 years
In September of 2022, “she” entered my life. I was given a tip about an El Camino that was for sale, but not in my state. I sort of blew it off mostly as a too good to be true sort of deal. But I contacted the seller anyway.

It took about a month, but on September 9, 2022, Stella rolled off the truck and into my garage. Stella is a 1965 El Camino, 327 with dual exhaust and the two speed Powerglide transmission. The previous owner had replaced the 327 with a 350, and a different cam, but we have been unable to contact the seller for further details. The El Camino has a ’10 foot’ paint job, but is mostly original.

Stella, Denise’s new El Camino

I also bought a “Not my Husband’s Truck” sticker for the back window. I wanted no mistakes on whose truck it really was. I plan on putting a 700R4 transmission in it. I traded out the Ultra centerlines and put on some Cragar’s, but other than that, I’ve done nothing to the truck, and I drive it daily weather permitting.
Robert’s picture hangs in the rear view, and I’m absolutely sure he’s thrilled that I finally have my own El Camino.

-Denise M., Colorado

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