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A. 1970 El Camino SS - "The Shop Truck"

posted Jul 20, 2015, 6:12 AM by Dane Belden   [ updated Jul 26, 2016, 8:06 PM ]
The shop truck was purchased in 2007 as an honest, numbers-matching and very tired Van Nuys-built SS El Camino.  Couldn't say how many prior owners had it - at least 2, but it was pretty-much all there.  With 162,000 miles it has had one re-paint and some rust repair (soda cans as backing metal and all...), but bad body-work aside, all the numbers match and that was important.

The engine has been rebuilt at least once (and probably only once).  The owner I purchased it from got it in 1983 and it was his "coming of age" car, so the engine rebuild he had done wasn't very well thought out.  Considering this is an automatic car (TH400) he put too much cam in it and also put a Holley Street Dominator intake on it - a poor choice even in the day!  Of course headers were also put on it, but he had the presence of mind to keep both the original intake manifold as well as exhaust manifolds.  

The engine as well as the transmission were leaking from every conceivable gasket or seal, which ironically helped save this vehicle from significant rust deterioration (more on this later).  So aside from the original SS wheels being painted black, this is a great start for the Belden Speed & Engineering shop truck.  Here are some additional pictures of where it started:
 

For those who are purists, that dash isn't the original dash that came with the El Camino.  This particular El Camino was the subject of great debate on the Team Chevelle website as there are a few who believe that some  SS El Caminos left the factory with a wood grain dash, but there is no data that supports this.  In fact, upon removal and resoration it was very clear that this dash was not original to this car as there was evidence of repair of one of the mounting tabs.  So it seems clear that this was a Monte Carlo dash (although the gauge cluster is original to the car) that a previous owner had installed probably because he/she preferred the look of the woodgrain - this was a reasonably common swap into both El Caminos as well as Chevelles back before the value of these cars skyrocketed.  Here is the restored (and correct) dash ready to be put back in:
Dane Belden