1970 El Camino: Hometown Hero

This sleek blue ’70 El Camino has seen its share of owners, but now it’s back home to stay.

By Greg Lavoie Thomaston, GA

Photography by Colin Date

70-elco-frontMy 1970 El Camino started life in Thomaston, GA. The first owner had the local swimming pool business, and he kept the car up to the mid-to-late ’80s when the family traded it off. About six different people have owned this Chevy over time.

One was a tool salesman who got the car for his business and had it painted red with white stripes on the hood. I even sold him the hood off my first El Camino and now I have it again! He also rebuilt the motor and transmission. He used her for a while, got out of the tool business and sold it to a fellow that I bought it from on the last day of 1999.

70-elco-interiorWhen I got her, there was a dent on the front of the hood that we fixed and primed, and then thought about what to do next. This was my third El Camino. What direction was I going to take this time? What kind of uses did I have planned for this vehicle? Just car shows, or something a little bit of different? I knew she needed to be reliable because I was going to drive the car to shows, maybe do some drag racing or just riding around some.

Finding good parts was a challenge at times. My friend Jim Moore and I went to junkyards, swap meets, and car shows. We also had been dealing with folks we had met in our club, The Peach State Chevelle Club, and different places where car people “hung out.” The good thing about the El Camino was that the body was in pretty good shape and did not have a lot of rust because, at one time, the car had a vinyl top. Most of the rust was around the back glass, the lower fenders and behind the rear tires.

70-elco-engineAbout the middle of 2003, we got started on the rebuild that I had pictured in my mind. I wanted something different because at shows, there were reds and blacks on a lot of vehicles. I had a color in mind that I was looking for. During one of our car shows that we attended in Tennessee, we went to the Corvette Museum in Kentucky and there was a Corvette that was the very color I wanted– Nassau Blue. In 1997, very few Corvettes were painted that color. When I got back home, the fellow working on the Camino, David Tice, had gotten the car ready for painting shortly after I found my color. He also fixed my air conditioning, put together the tilt steering column and added a new cam that I had from a long time ago. He also installed a new intake, carburetor, headers and detailed the motor and under the hood. Plus, he rebuilt the front end with new shocks, sway bars both front and back, a custom cover for the 12 bolt rear end 70-elco-rear(3.31 gears) and Posi-Traction. The interior is kind of stock with some added touches like a three-spoke steering wheel and aluminum handles for the windows and doors. It has aftermarket door panels and seat covers. To be different, we put ’69 SS stripes on the sides and on the tailgate– painted Tuxedo Black.

Since we completed this job, I’ve taken the El Camino to car shows, traveled around a few NASCAR tracks and have had no trouble with her.