- Written by webmin
A couple of months back, Editor-In-Chief Lentinello put a call out to Hemmings Motor News readers asking for restoration stories and photos. The response has been impressive, to say the least.
Though most people think you can crack open a catalog and buy anything for any Chevrolet (which is not completely inaccurate), the X-frame full-size cars, particularly prior to 1962, can be a bit of a nuisance to restore. Furthermore, you could build three small-blocks for what it costs to buy and rebuild a 348 or 409. El Caminos are even more of a pain, because people used them to haul stuff, so even if you find a rare, rust-free truck, there will likely be plenty of dents to contend with.
This one, a 1959 El Camino 348/automatic, comes to us from a professional shop and longtime advertiser GM Sports Inc./West Coast Sheetmetal, courtesy of one of the owners, Steve Natale.
My name is Steve Natale, and my company, GM Sports/West Coast Sheet Metal, have been advertising in your publication for over 30 years.
Here is the story on the recently completed restoration of a 1959 El Camino:
The 1959 El Camino was found sleeping in a garage in San Jose, California, not far from our shop. The car was rust-free, 95 percent complete, and had a 348 big-block, with all matching numbers. Most of the trim was in the bed, and the car ran well when we added some gas to the carburetor. At first, we were just going to clean it up a little and sell it; however, both I and my business partner, as well as our restoration staff, fell in love with it.
We pulled the body, disassembled the car, and sent the frame out to the powdercoater. All new date-coded glass, interior parts, weatherstripping, tires, suspension components, and detail items were all sourced through HMN.
All aluminum and stainless was show-polished, and all engine accessories, including generator, distributor and carburetor, were rebuilt in-house by our staff. We also rebuilt the wiper motor, radio, heater, window regulators and all the electrical. We like our cars to operate as well as they look!
We acquired two other 1959 El Caminos for parts, and they were an invaluable resource during the reassembly process. The most challenging part of the restoration was getting good trim for the bed, and the restoration of the bed floor. Although the floor was not rusty or badly damaged, every flaw is visible, and had to be fixed. The bed trim is highly visible, as well, and, in fact, is the first thing someone familiar with ’59 El Caminos looks at, so it had to be right. The project took about a year to complete. The end result of this restoration is one great-looking and driving car, and we are all thrilled with the finished product.
There are more photos on our website gmsports.com <http://www.gmsportssalvage.com/?q=node/1481> .