Featured Road Test Article - 1964 Chevrolet El Camino

"The El Camino is a true multi-purpose vehicle. Good looks plus sedan styling let it be driven anywhere you'd take a regular passenger car. You never feel out of place — even the ladies should be at ease with it."

 

 

Motor Trend Magazine tested a 1964 283 V8 Chevrolet El Camino in their September 1964 issue. The El Camino was fitted with a 220-hp "283" V-8, 4-speed transmission, and 3.08 rear axle with Positraction. No power equipment was installed.

So what did they like?

  • They were surprised by the performance of the 283 V8 version: ""The 283 engine with four-barrel carburetor is a very willing performer throughout its full rpm range."
  • They were also impressed with the handling: "The El Camino seemed to handle much better than some of the Chevelle sedans we've tested. With the exception of the Delco Super-Lift inflatable shocks at the rear, the El Camino's suspension is identical to that used in sedans. Yet we felt the Camino's ride was much firmer and that the overall . . ."
  • The fit and finish impressed: Workmanship in our test car showed a vast improvement over the earlier production Chevelles we've seen and tested. All panels and trim were flush-fit, with no apparent misalignment. Good workmanship also showed in the interior."

What didn't they like?

  • The 3.08 axle: "We did feel that the 3.08 rear axle wasn't the best for this sort of vehicle. It was a trifle too low (numerically) to pull when the pickup was loaded with any weight at all."
  • The brakes: "Fast mountain driving showed that they'd fade quickly when used hard."
  • The non-power steering: "With manual steering, it takes 5.5 turns ... pretty slow."

Their Final Take:

"For anyone needing the haul-ability of a pickup plus the classy styling of a sedan, but can't afford two separate cars, the El Camino's the car."

 

  Even seen from the bottom, the 283 V8 fits with room to spare. Note that the El Camino used a front sway bar.

  The El Camino used the standard "sport" interior from a Malibu, spiffing it up quite a bit.