El Camino

World's classiest truck car. But is it a sound investment for a rookie? Read on.

I did it. I bought my dream car. Wasn’t sure it would ever happen, but then I saw it: a white 1980 El Camino with a black rooftop. Pure car/truck awesomeness! I found it for sale out on a country road where an old dude had it for sale but hidden behind his garage. Jackpot! Although it hadn’t been fired up in several weeks, it roared to life pretty easily. The old V-8, chugging along on a crisp winter morning, was a bit sluggish, but it started to come to life after a few miles. Hard to explain, but it felt right. It felt right despite the fact that I am not a mechanic and I would have no idea how to fix this thing if it ever broke down with serious engine issues. But surely it’s built to last more than 40 years. Ah well, that’s just little details. You gotta expect a few things to need repairs on a car that’s almost as old as me. In this situation I decided to go with my gut, not my head.

So I stopped quick at the bank and got cash for the nice man selling the car. Got him to sign over the title and set off for home. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would make the 45-minute drive from Brighton to Denver without breaking down. I brought my brother to tail me in my other car on the way back, just to be safe. I don’t know much about cars, but I know this thing’s got a good amount of issues, though hopefully none of them too serious. I used all of my senses to detect danger on the road. I saw smoke rolling out of the engine where it’s leaking oil. A different, lighter color of smoke started coming from the very front of the car where neon coolant’s burning up. I turned off the radio and heard the brakes wail like a banshee moaning. I soon found out there were no brakes really to speak of, just a grinding metal on metal. What a thrill! I poked my head out the window and I could smell the exhaust burning sweet, thick smoke. I feel like can actually taste it. But I realize what I’m tasting is actually the satisfying taste of freedom! Watch out—I’m the king of the road! (but seriously, watch out, I could kill someone with this thing).

Some people may scoff at the idea that my dream car is the same one driven by the meth dealers on Breaking Bad. They may joke that it’s the car equivalent of a mullet haircut: business up front, party in the back. The El Camino is car up front, pickup in the back. They may hop in the cab with me and ask, “why does this radio only get one station, and it’s on AM?” They may say all this and more—it doesn’t matter. I repeat: go with your gut. I’ll take care of the car and it’ll take care of me.

Updates to come of the restoration process.