Friday, October 17, 2014
October 16: Chevrolet launches the El Camino on this date in 1958
As much as some of us love the idea of this vehicle — and as popular as they remain in Australia — the original Ford Ranchero and the first-generation Chevrolet El Camino, launched on this date in 1958 as a 1959 model, didn't sit well with Americans in the early '60s. It wasn't until Chevy put the El Camino on the Chevelle frame and turned it into the embodiment of rural muscle cars that it really took off.
Steve McQueen enjoyed his; even former president Bill Clinton had one, supposedly with AstroTurf in the bed. GM considered reviving the form as an Aussie-built Pontiac several years ago, but the need for four doors and fuel economy regulations made the idea unworkable. (See the Subaru Baja for the necessary, crippling compromises.) Like Tom T. Hall said, there's just no substitute: