Street Feature: Simple Cruising Pleasure In A Big-Block El Camino

What could be better than a big-block 396 cubic-inch engine for power, a turbo-400 automatic transmission for easy cruising, and the all-purpose body of the ’67 El Camino Malibu—take it to a cruise night Friday and haul a load of wood with it on Saturday? With big-block power, it’s ready to cruise, haul, camp, and do everything in between.

This is really just a tough looking, smooth driving car. We love the look of the El Camino with the white stripes, blue paint, and big-block hiding under the hood!

This particular El Camino belongs to Sam Barer of Olympia, Washington, and he’s only had it for a few months. “I actually inspected this car at the height of the eclipse,” Sam explained. A memorable inspection to say the least.

Do you think that would that be a good sign if you looked at a car to buy and the sky went totally dark in the middle of the day? Well it’s works out for same so far. That, and Sam buys and sells classic and exotic cars for a living through his business, Class Winners, so he’s a professional and he knows a good car when he sees one.

This is just such a classic look for a muscelcar engine: chrome air intake, Edelbrock aluminum intake manifold, and chrome Edelbrock valve covers. We love it.

“This is one of the flattest handling muscelcars that I’ve ever owned,” Sam explained. “It has front and rear sway bars and air shocks in the back. You can turn as hard as you want and you’ll go side to side, but this thing just stays flat.”

Engine Badges: because a 396 turbo-jet is far more terrifying than a 2.0-liter anything.

The car was restored ten years ago, but it sure looks good for a decade old restoration. The newer GM paint color looks great on this classic GM car, and it holds up well. Even after a decade it shines and looks almost like new!

We can't get enough of this interior either. It's so simple with the black bench seat and classic instrument layout, but GM did things right with these cars.

On top of the already impressive big-block power, the engine has been rebuilt with a .15 over bore and a high lift, longer duration camshaft for extra power and extra torque. The factory specs are 325-horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque, but that’s definitely been increased some with the engine build. The drivetrain is completed with a  12-bolt rearend with the factory 3.31:1 gear ratio.

We love Sam’s car. It’s a cool cruising big-block powerhouse. These El Caminos are a lot of fun to drive and own and they’re multipurpose machines. Show car, go car, and tow car! They’ve really got the whole package! What do you think of Sam’s car? Would you rock the pickup-bed muscelcar or would you rather have a regular Chevelle? If you’ve got a cool classic that you think would be a great fit for our Street Feature series, shoot us an email, we’d love to check it out.

All around this is just a really solid car. It's nearly stock, and nearly perfect.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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