Russ Almand built this class-winning ’67 El Camino his way, by himself
By Russ Almand Spring Hill, TN
Photography by Colin Date
My El Camino was purchased in March, 2008 as a project truck for $2700. The guy that I bought it from had shipped it from California but had lost his job and had to sell it. It had been built in the Fremont, CA plant.
The truck was pretty solid but had a lot of quarter panel Bondo, and, it had no brakes! I removed the old 305 along with the entire front clip. Front suspension bushings were replaced and the front half of the frame was cleaned and painted with semi gloss black. A power front disc brake setup was added. One of my buddies gave me a 4 bolt main 350 engine from his 1978 Chevy truck. I rebuilt the engine using the original pistons, rods and crankshaft as it did not need boring. I added Edelbrock Performer RPM Aluminum heads <img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-1972" src="http://blog.elcaminostore.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/67-elco-detail-300x200.jpg" alt="67-elco-detail" width="300" height="200" srcset="http://blog.elcaminostore.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/67-elco-detail-300x200.jpg 300w, http://blog.elcaminostore.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/67-elco-detail.jpg 400w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />and an EPS intake. The camshaft is a Herbert Racing 280 hydraulic roller cam with roller lifters and roller rocker arms. Carb is a Holley 750. Distributor is the factory unit with a Pertronix module kit. I used the old style Edelbrock valve covers for that retro look. Hooker headers and a Flowmaster system route out the exhaust. Transmission is the Turbo 350 that came with the truck. The rear axle is the factory 10 bolt Posi with 3.36 gears.
My original intentions were to just make this a rat rod-type truck, but after seeing other El Caminos at some shows, I had to give mine a nice paint job. The entire truck was stripped to bare metal a panel at a time and all of the old body damage was repaired. All of the straight body side moldings were removed for a cleaner look. A 1967 SS hood was added for that muscular feel. The floors were in good shape so I painted them with POR-15.
After many long hours of block sanding and getting each panel arrow straight, it was time for paint. I chose 2003 Corvette Electron Blue as the color using PPG base coat/clear coat products. After about a month drying time, many more hours were spent color sanding with 1500 to 2500 paper. Final buffing was done with 3M Perfect-it compound and polish. Most of the outside trim was in good shape and was polished and reinstalled. I used Bed Armor liner paint to protect the bed. New bumpers and wheel opening moldings were installed.
The interior was next with 40 year old 1966 GTO bucket seats bought at an auction. I used 1967 GTO door panels also as I like the carpet on the bottom the panels to prevent scuffing. A dash pad from a 1966 Chevelle was used as I think it just looks better than the 1967 dash. New carpet and headliner were installed. A 3 spoke Rally GM steering wheel was used. The wheels are old style American mags with the painted centers and Zexius tires that I bought at a swap meet.
I am proud to say that all of the work on my El Camino was completed by myself on a tight budget, with the exception of having the engine block honed and crankshaft polished. I wanted to create a nice driver shop truck that has that retro late ’60s/early ’70s look.
I attended the Peach State Chevelles 15th annual show last May and received a top 3 award in the El Camino modified class. I drive my truck weekly and it runs and drives great!