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Reader Rides: 1965 El Camino Project



Arturo Marquez

Home Town
Flagstaff, AZ


Year, Make & Model
1965 Chevelle El Camino

How long have you owned this vehicle?
17 years

Where/how did you find this vehicle
I inherited this car from my grandfather in 1995 when he couldn't drive it anymore. He bought it new to use as a parts chaser car for his body shop that he owned at the time. I worked part time for him which is where I learned body work and painting. I used this car to get my driver's license, and I used it when I first started dating, so it has a lot of sentimental value to me. The car has the original 283 V8 and Powerglide transmission, neither have ever been apart or out of the car and both are running very good with about 160k miles on the car. The car has never been hit that I know of so the doors and tailgate close with a click.

Any projects planned for this vehicle in the future?
Currently I have it stripped down to bare metal to do a paint job, my grandfather painted it twice the original Tahitian Turqouise during the time he had it. The car sat outside all the time though so the paint had cracked in several places, which is why I decided to strip it down to repaint it. My grandfather was going to customize the car at one time so he started by moving the antenna from the front fender to a sunken mount just behind the passenger door, then he decided to not do that and left it mostly stock. Because of the fact that it won't be totally stock I've decided not to paint it the original Tahitian Turqouise again, but instead it will be 2010 Dodge color called "Timberline Pearl", which is kind of a Hunter Green with a pearl in it.

Has this vehicle won any awards?
The car has always been a driver, so it was never entered in any shows to try to win anything.It has been on display at various cruise nights in Southern California but that's about it.

Have you raced it? If so, where and when?
With a stock 195 horse 283 and Powerglide, there never seemed to be any reason to race it.

Power Train

Engine size and Horsepower
195hp 283 V8

Tell us about any engine modifications
At present the engine is running fine so I'm primarily concentrating on a cosmetic re-do. Once the outside is done I plan on rebuilding the 283 by adding some double-hump heads, a 327 crank to make it a 301 and maybe going with an old school tri-power setup, and a decent cam to handle the new breathing chores. I don't think I'll go with headers but a nice sounding FlowMaster exhaust will definitely go in for a nice sound!

Transmission Type and Modifications
The Powerglide that is in the car is still shifting nice and solid so it will stay for awhile. Once it goes out I will definitey opt for a Turbo 350 or 400 though.

Rear axle ratio and modifications
Stock for now, the rear end is solid and there is no noise or play in the gears. I think it will easily handle the horsepower the engine rebuild will bring about so I have no plans to change it out unless it just blows up or something!


Stock except for a disk brake conversion I did about 5 years ago

Stock with boxed control arms and HD air shocks

front disk conversion from OPG, rear is stock drums for now.


Wheels and Tires
Currently running 15" American Torg-Thrust D's with radial tires

Tell us about the vehicle's unique options or features, either factory or aftermarket
The only option my grandfather ordered with this car was power steering, and other than a CD player radio that I will put in when putting the car back together that will be it for features and options.

Tell Us More
The interior will be mostly stock in a Turqouise color with the exception of the bench seat being upholstered in a nice matching modern cloth material for comfort. I've also upgraded to the SS dash with the built in tach.

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