Chugging into History; The 1982 – 87 El Camino SS by Choo Choo Customs

Image Credit:, owned by Brian Ellison of Pelham. AL

The Chevrolet El Camino is one of those truly unique models spawned by the Ford versus Chevy competition. However, as the sun began to set on the El Camino, a van conversion company offered a styling package that was lifted from the NASCAR inspired Monte Carlo SS, and was made available to every Chevrolet Dealer in the country.

Image Credit: Chevy Enthusiast Magazine

The final generation of the El Camino was based on the new “downsized” Malibu that was introduced in the fall of 1977. Angular in design, it had sharp creases and upright features that was typical of GM styling in the late 1970’s. The Truck/Coupe featured a number of engines throughout the next decade including various Chevrolet and Buick V-6s, a 305 CID V-8, even the ill-fated Oldsmobile sourced Diesel. The factory SS Package offered the 165 HP version of the 305 through 1984.

Image Credit:

Read more about the Choo Choo Customs El Camino SS at Chevy Enthusiast.

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  1. tonyola Avatar

    These are good-looking if you can avoid the tape stripes and graphics. I remember reading in Collectible Automobile that the front on these El Caminos is not identical to the Monte Carlo SS front clip – the Monte version is slightly wider.

    1. BlackIce_GTS Avatar

      For the purpose of obscurity, I feel I should mention that I read somewhere else that it is identical to the Monte Carlo front clip, and they do just bolt on. I don't see why they wouldn't, but Collectible Automobile is probably a more reliable source then 'I don't remember'.

      1. jim-bob Avatar

        No, they don't just bolt on. The Monte Carlo used different body lines than the El Camino which was based on the Malibu. The Malibu fenders have a slanted recess in them for the front turn signal lenses that the Monte does not. Hence, the Monte fenders are flat and straight in this area. Now, I do believe it is possible to use a complete Monte front clip and doors on an El Camino, but you would have to use the 'Camino's windows as they are a different shape than the Monte. It still would not look right though as the Monte has some styling flourishes that are absent on the Malibu/El Camino.

        1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

          It is not only possible, but I rescued one of my ElCaminos from suffering the fate. It ends up looking like you'd imagine: like an ElCo rearended a Monte.

    2. LTDScott Avatar

      I've heard they're not the same too.

  2. Hopman Avatar

    Jim, once again, you bring us some cool stuff!
    Now there's my shirt?

  3. dmilligan Avatar

    A Chevy SS-anything should have at least a 396 for an engine. A 305 is just pitiful. The later model 'Caminos weren't my favorites, but they could still look pretty cool.

  4. superbadd75 Avatar

    I never realized that these were conversions, I thought it was a factory package. Interesting.

  5. citroen67 Avatar

    I love the old El Camino Choo Choo Edition. I would have one if the moment was right. BTW…nice work with the Hooniverse: Weekend Edition mega post-a-thon!

  6. sparky Avatar

    Chooglin', baby, chooglin'.

  7. Baron Von Danger Avatar

    I choo choo choose you!

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      hehehe…and there's a picture of a train…

  8. LTDScott Avatar

    One of my favorite toy cars ever was a Majorette El Camino SS by Choo Choo, then a Road Champions model of the same thing.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      The 1/64-ish Majorette with the trailer hitch? I had two of those at various points – still got one of 'em, if not both.

      1. Hopman Avatar

        I think I've got mine too. There was red & white one, and somewhere along the line, I got a pink & white one.
        I actually like the Majorette cars better than the Hot Wheels.

        1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

          Aye, I've seen the red-with-white before. I remember having a green-with-pink one, somewhat outrageously, but the one I have now is green with white. A rather bright green, too.
          I always preferred Majorettes for their metal bases (compared to newer Matchbox and some Hot Wheels), realistic designs (Hot Wheels always targetted the fantasy-car-loving segment of the market, while I was after station wagons and delivery vans like Matchbox and Majorette offered), and – a minor detail, but a useful one – trailer hitches that worked. There'd be a plastic clip, part of the interior moulding, that stuck out and held the tongue of the trailer onto the hitch.

          1. Hopman Avatar

            Anothing thing I loved about the Majorettes were the semi-trucks! I had about two dozen of them. I wonder if my grandparents have kept them after all these years?

          2. LTDScott Avatar

            You and I ought to play cars sometime, because you just described exactly why I liked Majorettes.
            My favorite for realism was Tomicas, but sometimes it'd be hard to play with them since they were normally right hand drive JDM models, which obviously wouldn't fit in with LHD American cars. Yeah, I was that kid.
            Hopman, I too really liked Majorette big rigs. They were the only regular toy car company that I know of which bothered to make different front and rear wheels since the rears were duallies.
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          3. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

            I remember those! I'd forgotten about them until I saw the wheels, but I had one or two. The one I remember was a sleeper-cab Mack R-Series in green.
            I had a Majorette car carrier, too, that was closer to the correct scale – maybe 1:55 or 1:60, anyway, rather than the usual 1:85 to 1:100 of the trucks, like the one above, that were the same width as a 1:64 Golf. The wheels were the same front and rear, though, as were the ones on the single axle of the trailer. The cab was blue, the trailer was grey, and the hood was hinged.
            If you want to waste ten minutes of your life looking at things you never realised they'd made 1/64 die-casts of, check this out.

  9. boxdin Avatar

    What is with the #039t ?