El Camino Fourth Generation 1973-1977
The 1973 El Camino was the largest model to date, but it still used the two-door Chevelle wagon platform, although it looked a bit unusual with the newer and heavier energy absorbing bumpers front and rear. The entry-level model and the SS version had a similar interior to the Malibu, but the more uptown El Camino Classic had the same offers and options as the Malibu Classic with the SS now designated as a trim option. The 1973 El Camino has a one-inch wider wheel track with more positive camber on the left wheel than on the right one, which improved the handling on high-crowned roads and excellent for cruising on the highway.
The coil springs were now computer-designed to match each vehicle’s weight and offered passengers a smoother ride on all surfaces as well as additional safety with the front discs now a basic feature. More basic features on all El Camino versions included an improved sound barrier with the double panel roof, flush-mount outside door handles, molded foam seat construction, power flow through ventilation, inside hood release, an upgraded Delcotron generator, with a side terminal battery, side door guard beams, and higher visibility with the more slender windshield posts. The gas tank was now larger and held 22 gallons (83 liters) of fuel, and the rocker panels were less likely to rust so quickly with the “flush and dry” style. Newly available options were swivel bucket seats with a center console, and turbine wheels that were urethane backed by steel.
© Mybaitshop | Dreamstime.com 1973 Chevy El Camino engine
The standard engine offering was the 307 V8 mounted with a two-barrel that put out 115 hp (86 kW). For a bit more power, the 350-cubic-inch was available with the two-barrel version giving 145 hp (108 kW) or with a four-barrel that developed 175 hp (130 kW). Although if you wanted to be sure you were the first one away from the light, there was also a 454-cubic-inch with a four-barrel that produced 245 hp (183 kW). All of the engines had hardened valve seats with hydraulic cams and could run hundreds of thousands of miles without major repairs.
Other added features were the cross flow radiators and coolant reservoirs. Also, the engines ran equally well burning regular or unleaded fuel. The optional transmissions were the three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic or the four-speed stick if you liked, but the basic offering was still the column-mounted three-speed.
El Camino in 1974 had a longer grille, and the luxurious Classic came with a wood grain dash as well as other fine appointments suitable for a luxury automobile. The 350 was the basic offer in ’74 with a new 400 engine added or, if you liked, the 454 was still around.
The 1975 models again have an upgraded grille, but unseen is the revised standard suspension offering a smoother, quieter ride, radials tires, and two-door mounted sport mirror; new options were the intermittent wipers and cruise control. Standard equipment performance items include the “high energy ignition” and a larger distributor cap to minimize misfiring issues. The 250-cubic-inch inline six that developed 105 hp (78 kW) was now the basic equipment, and the 454 had the horsepower rating dropped again, this time to 215 hp (160 kW), but this engine wasn’t available in California for ’73, and the four-speed was discontinued, as well. Thanks go to the EPA for the optional offers that were around, and these included the Econominder instrument package, which has a vacuum gauge advising the operator when he attained optimum fuel economy.