Chevrolet El Camino third generation 1968 to 1972
Chevrolet El Camino for 1968 is still on the Chevelle platform but the two door wagon this year so it is longer, now on a 116” (2,946 mm) wheel base, and the trim features it sports-both inside and out- are from the Malibu. Optional choices include cloth plus vinyl or all cloth bench seat, carpeting; vinyl Strato buckets with a center console, also offered optionally are posi-traction, and front power disk brakes. The high performance SS396 is introduced in ’68 and this power option comes with the 396 cu in engine producing 325 bhp (242 kW) or you can kick it up a notch to a version putting out 350 bhp (260 kW). Back on the options list is an engine not seen since ’66 – the L78 supplying 375 bhp (280 kW) its equipped with solid lifters, big port heads, with the Holly 800 cfm carburetor bolted to a low rise aluminum intake. All models come with the basic three on a tree standard but the automatic and the four speed standard transmissions are available also as an option for the Super Sport in ‘68.
For the 1969 model year all the changes are minor ones with a slightly rounded front clip and the four headlight set up is connected by a chrome bar in the grill with the slotted front holding the clearance lights. The interior has four round pods for the instruments and optional equipment includes power windows and power door locks. The tried and true 350 V8 is available for the El Camino for the first time in ’68. The SS versions display the SS emblem with a blacked out grill and offer the basic 396 cu in engine putting out 265 horse power under the double dome hood or for a bigger boost a 325 hp version is up for sale; but for more get up and go you could chose from either a 350 hp or a 375 hp (280 kW) version of the 396.
The El Camino for 1970 has a more squared up look outside and the interior as well receives a makeover. That’s not all the El Camino in select models, can now be ordered with the largest power plant in the GM arsenal, the LS6 454 cu in engine putting out 450 hp (336 kW) and producing 500 ft-lb of torque enable a El Camino to do the quarter mile in the 13 second range and reach a top speed of 108 mph (174kmh). The SS396 still displays “396” emblems and the basic engine is still the same but it has been bored to 402 cu in (6.6 L) now.
Again in 1971 the El Camino gets a revised front clip with the grill now holding two double lens headlights and the bumper carries the park, signal, and marker lights. The EPA order for the ’71 model year is “reduce emissions” so lower compression and regular gas have dropped the output of all the GM engines. The power is further reduced with the addition of the GM “A.I.R.” system to the exhaust system which does help with emission reductions and the expense of exhaust back-flow. The LS6 454 is gone, never to return as an option and the newest model addition to the lineup is the rebadged “G.M.C. Sprint” with similar lines and also the same power train as the El Camino.
Other than the El Camino having side marker lights added to the fenders in 1972 there are no other obvious changes The numbers for horse power ratings took another drop with the more accurate net figures being used; although the actual output is no different than the ’71 models. The SS versions have a “W” added to their VIN number and can be equipped with any engine and transmission combination available from Chevrolet Division.
Chevrolet El Camino third generation 1968 to 1972,