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Gas Monkey Garage Car #3: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino

Community, SUVs  /   /  By Richard Rawlings

An email came across my desk the other day from a guy in Colorado saying that he had located a pretty clean barn find. I was happy when I opened the attached pictures and saw this First Generation 1959 El Camino!

1959 El Camino | Gas Monkey Garage

The 1959 El Camino was a unique vehicle that actually only saw a one year production run styled like this. It was based on the 1959 Brookwood two door station wagon, and because of it’s styling, sold almost twice as fast as the Ford Ranchero that year, with a little more than 22,000 El Caminos being built that year.

The 1959 El Camino was promoted as the first Chevrolet pickup built with a steel bed floor instead of wood. Below that steel floor was the floor pan from the Brookwood wagon.

1959 El Camino | Gas Monkey Garage

With 60,765 miles on the odometer, this classic runs and drives pretty dang well. It’s a manual transmission 3-speed on the column and has a 327 under the hood.

327 chevy motor

1959 El Camino | Gas Monkey Garage

This is one that we are going to do a little freshening up on and send it on its way. Plans are to source a carb kit, cap, rotor and points, put a carpet kit in it, repair the ignition switch and remove the white tape someone put on the side trim and paint it white.

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  1. Ed Cavender November 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm Reply

    It is not origional.. the 59 had a generator. I built several of them back in the early 60s.. am still looking for one like my first.. a 4 door hardtop
    sport…. had a 409 and a 4 speed.

    • Keith November 12, 2013 at 11:23 am Reply

      I don’t think Chevrolet had the 327 in 59 either

    • mike July 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm Reply

      409 was not available in 59 you meant 348

      • Jim February 14, 2016 at 5:51 am Reply

        348 offered with tri-power through 1958 through 1961– I know, because I installed one (61) in my 57 Chevy by making custom motor mounts to clear the steering box. The 3 carbs got 8-11 mpg with the 10 gallon gas tank. The 409 on the same block came out in 1962 Chevrolet, along with the 327 upgrade of the 283. My teenage neighbor swapped his 57 Chevy 283 for a 62 Impala 327 factory 4 speed which was an awful shifter easily improved with an aftermarket Hurst. He could take me by a front fender through a quarter mile, but my long stroke 348 would then blow his doors off!

    • ginger February 13, 2015 at 7:25 am Reply

      Ed I have a 59 for you its been a project car well worth the talk if interested feel free to call 336-843-4671

  2. jeffrey regensberg November 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm Reply

    I know where there about 3 of them exact cars here in Wyoming also 58 wagons or 58 cars

    • Nathan Hodge November 12, 2013 at 11:11 am Reply

      i would love to see some pix of the 58’s

    • Dave November 12, 2013 at 11:46 am Reply

      I’m interested. I’m in Denver

      • Victor July 6, 2016 at 9:28 am Reply

        I have a 1960 4-door all orig. w/inline 6cy. needs restored but all there and together and driveable, asking 4500.

    • john Swenson January 13, 2014 at 1:59 am Reply

      jeff, I’m looking for 59 wagon tailgate parts, el camino tailgate parts and sedan delivery parts. can you give me info on those junk yards you mentioned. thanks
      john 406-241-6885, montana

  3. eBay Motors November 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm Reply

    We’re excited to see what happens this rare classic!

  4. Vicki November 12, 2013 at 8:16 am Reply

    Cool car guys!!! My first car was a 57 Ranchero, 3 on the column. I never could learn to drive it, had to sell it. (It was converted to a Ranchero.) Funny tho, cuz I ended up being thee TOP FEMALE STREET RACER IN PHOENIX! That was back in the day, I’m still pretty damn good w/a stick tho! Even challenged RRR, never heard a word back, damn!!!

  5. Bill November 12, 2013 at 11:04 am Reply

    There’s one of these here in town,not as good condition as this one.

  6. Josh November 12, 2013 at 11:07 am Reply

    My dad and I are building a 1959 two door panel wagon. Excited to see what you do with this!

  7. brandin cargod November 12, 2013 at 11:42 am Reply

    ill take it for 3500$

  8. Kathi November 12, 2013 at 11:42 am Reply

    Paint it white ~ are you kidding me! BORING. One of the reasons I watch the show with my husband is because I want to see pretty paint jobs, especially anything painted Aqua.

    • Scott November 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm Reply

      He said paint the trim white

  9. brandin cargod November 12, 2013 at 11:44 am Reply

    this is my dream rihgt here i leaving it stock i what one sicn i was 7 i have two model i love gas monkey it my dream camino m,ay a bit of black matt ? dont konw but i love it

  10. Hebs November 12, 2013 at 11:46 am Reply

    Looked at one of these in the UK today ,in very tidy order ..

  11. David November 12, 2013 at 11:53 am Reply

    My best friend has one of these. He lives in Burleson Texas he might have some extra parts.

    • Derek November 12, 2013 at 11:59 am Reply

      One of my favorite vehicles. VERY glad to see you are freshening a clean barn find & not going crazy modifying it. I’d drive that all over.

  12. julio rodrigues November 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm Reply

    hello from valenca portugal,my names is julio rodrigues,i love this program on tv,when you going to visit me and buying one car ,here in portugal call me please..julio rodrigues 3934 lugar de paco 4930-253 fontoura valenca portugal phone 00351251838281 and 00351965439546 godbye

  13. King Deuce November 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

    Leave it that color. White is boring and would look like crap on that car. Fix the trim on it, clean it up and throw a little interior work at it and that is one awesome car.

    • Scott November 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm Reply

      He said remove the white tape ON the trim and paint IT (the trim) white not the car,……..please read

  14. craig sours November 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm Reply

    The 327 c.i. did not come out until the 1962 model year. Research will verify this. The car may have that mileage, but the motor is not original equipment, unless it is a 283 c.i.

  15. Greg Hawes November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm Reply

    He is painting inside the trim white, not the car.

  16. Tim Harford November 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm Reply

    Damn it Richard! Are you trying to get all my money?

  17. Terry Pallex November 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Had one when I was 18 back in the 70’s. It was a convertible with an aftermarket 327/4speed from a 66 Impala SS which I wrecked. Bought the body for $40, ended up selling it for $300. I am kicking myself everyday!!

  18. ramon barrientos November 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm Reply

    you all have not got me a request on my email that have sent you as of my jeep restore 86 jeep cj7 please respond

    • Richard Rawlings November 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm Reply

      Hey, man. Sorry, we don’t usually touch anything newer than 70s. Thanks for reaching out, though.

  19. Andrew November 12, 2013 at 7:59 pm Reply

    I will take it for $5000

  20. Edward Plazek November 12, 2013 at 8:50 pm Reply

    engines were 6 cyl, 283 or 348. the 283 and 348 were options. the hood indicates a 6 cyl originaly unless there is a V missing above the “Chevrolet” script. The “V” would be the 283 and a “V” with crossed flags the 348. look also at the cowl tag. a model 1180 was a 6 cyl. Model 1280 was either the 283 0r 348.

  21. Ash November 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm Reply

    $50,000 cash! Dude I watch gas monkey religiously. But how do these people pay so much for tear down cars? It’s amazing

  22. Jeremiah November 13, 2013 at 1:47 am Reply

    How about branching out n opening a gas monkey here in the motor city I’m game to run it for ya , I’m dead serious ……….. Come on gas monkey go national … I’m about to send u a pic of a 1972 real nascar complete engine …… Almost impossible to ever see one outside of nascar , interested ?

  23. Greger in sweden November 13, 2013 at 4:55 am Reply

    nice El camino crownsaphire paint look good

  24. Edward Plazek November 13, 2013 at 10:45 am Reply

    will this el be on upcoming show?

    • Richard Rawlings November 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm Reply

      Can’t guarantee it, but you never know! Keep watching.

  25. Dennis Baker November 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm Reply

    Hey,Richard,I sent a message to the website,repeated here.
    My brother had a 65 Galaxie 427 car he was told used to be a Bob Glidden car. Factory deletes of the radio,carpet and outside mirrors(he didn’t care what was behind him!), Bob signed the cardboard insert in the glove box. He removed the engine and four speed and let the car go. If put back together,any idea what it’s worth? Love your crazy assed show!

  26. Paul miller November 17, 2013 at 7:46 am Reply

    A vehicle that has a car front end is

    called a sedan delivery a vehicle that has a truck front end is a panel just so everyone knows

  27. Edward Plazek November 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm Reply

    the 1959 el camino was marketed as a sedan pickup in the truck line. a sedan delivery is basically
    a 2 door station wagon with no side windows and a cargo area in the back instead of seats.

  28. rick November 19, 2013 at 1:21 pm Reply

    the 283 or 348 was a v8 engine

  29. Edward Plazek November 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm Reply

    Hey all it’s listed on ebay right now item #221326179152

  30. Derek Mau November 30, 2013 at 1:31 am Reply

    Straight up! Edward is absolutely right.

    Link to the eBay auction listing:

    Bid before the auction closes on Dec 04, 2013 14:08:52 PST

  31. Jeremiah December 17, 2013 at 2:45 pm Reply

    Ya sorry to waste your time on that nascar engine I started doing more looking into it , it is a hi rpm race engine but it’s not a boss block it’s only a 302 maaaaaybe worth 10 on the high end not the 25k he was wanting ….. Oh well brotha sorry to waste your time…. There’s a black 66 f100 in Georgia on Craigslist the kids got it up real cheap just too far for me to buy flip n be worth it …. Be cool

  32. jeremiah December 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm Reply

    Listed as ,1966 f100 lwb firm , in atl

  33. jeremiah December 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply

    Oh n that bandit car was bad ass … if I ever get down to austin im gona check your spot out… be cool brotha

  34. eBay Motors December 18, 2013 at 8:36 am Reply

    Good to hear your comments everyone!

  35. Grantholman July 31, 2014 at 2:08 pm Reply

    i have 1967elca,ino orig 3000horse#327 202 beads steel crank victor jr alu, intake new elxobrock carb 2speed powerglide weld wheels 165_15on front 15_10 wheelz on ba kgot 50s on back of car orig bout to turn ovef 66,, make offet6206877838

  36. Ruth josey November 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm Reply

    So…what did you pay for your barn find? I’d like to find a resto project….

  37. Gary December 9, 2014 at 8:15 pm Reply

    Share the Beer Richard

  38. Crash Nash December 20, 2014 at 8:14 pm Reply

    Hey richard how much for the 59 camino.

    • Crash Nash December 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm Reply

      Oh ya beer is ok but i like bourbon myself assistant bring me another.crash?

  39. Louie December 25, 2014 at 6:50 pm Reply

    Looking for 59 or 60 el camino tail gate cover

  40. ginger February 13, 2015 at 7:39 am Reply

    I have a 59 El Camino project car it has a Nascar tubular frame from firewall to back,
    It’s a 2nd generation Camaro front suspension
    2 1/2 drop spindals
    tubular A’s
    total refabricated bed rockers, floor pan,
    built as a uni body
    it has a 454 turbo automatic in it
    19″ to 20″ wheels at a 5″ to 6″ frame height can drop to 1″

    very nice project just looking for someone who wants it…

  41. Bill April 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm Reply

    I’ve got parts to sell from two 1959 El Camino we stripped down. From chrome, fenders, quarters, lenses, bezels, bed metal, bumpers, gas tank….. 283 with automatic trans all done over $2500. Email me what your looking for.

  42. jax the car guy May 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm Reply

    He didn’t say it was all original! Like always, Everyone’s an expert

    I have one I’m restoring. I let it sit a little to long though, the

    parts for these El Camino’s are way more expensive these days.

  43. Rob W October 10, 2015 at 1:14 am Reply

    I’m no pro but that Engine looks like a 283 which did come in the truck but the one comment they did have a Generator not a Alternator so this is kinda of a mutt a Beautiful one at that .

  44. Efrain February 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm Reply

    Car#3 1959 chevrolet el camino

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