1965 CHEVY EL CAMINO STYLING CHANGES
After a 3-model-year hiatus, when the 2nd-gen El Camino re-emerged, now based on the popular midsized Chevelle, in 1964, its first model year netted Chevrolet 32,548 sales. So, not wanting to mess with success, Chevy left thing pretty much alone with the 1965 model. Of course, the usual minor styling and trim changes were made, including a more pronounced V-shape to the front grille.
1965 CHEVY EL CAMINO ENGINE CHOICES
When Chevy released the new El Camino on this smaller platform, it was intended to do battle with Ford’s new Falcon-based Ranchero, so at first they stressed the economy and utility aspects of their design. Hence their choice of low-performance engines, out of step with the increasingly powerful array of engines available in the Chevelle line. Initially, base engines for the ’64 El Camino were the 194 and 230 cubic inch six-cylinders, with lower-rated 283s optional, a 2-barrel with 195hp and a 4-barrel with 220hp. Late in the ’64 model year, two 327 V8s were added one with 250hp and the other with 300hp. All these engines carried over to 1965. However, another engine was added for 1965, the L-79 327 V8 with 350hp.
1965 CHEVY EL CAMINO BACKGROUND
The concept of “a car that is also a pickup” was born in Australia in the 1930s, when Ford introduced a Sedan Utility. As American pickup trucks gained in popularity in the 1950s, Chevy threw a curve ball by introducing the Cameo pickup, a highly stylized, more luxurious pickup. It set the ball in motion. In 1957, Ford introduced the Ranchero based on their full sized cars. It took until 1959 for Chevy to respond, with its first-generation El Camino, built on its Bel Air passenger car platform. It wasn’t the sales hit that Chevy was looking for, and after 2 model years, it was dropped in 1960. However, the 1960s brought new classes of cars, the midsize and the economy car. Ford moved its Ranchero down to the economy Falcon chassis and reignited sales. Chevy again followed in 1964 with a new, second-gen El Camino, this time based on Chevy’s new midsize Chevelle, and it looked like they got the formula right because sales were brisk and the El Camino stayed in production through 3 more generations (5 generations in total), through the 1987 model year.