Some projects stand out in automotive restoration and customization for their unique challenges and the passion they ignite in builders and owners. One such project is the stunning restoration and modification of a 1960 El Camino, a car that has transformed remarkably from its original state to a head-turning, high-performance machine. In this article, we’ll delve into the backstory, the meticulous process of restoration, and the impressive features that make this 1960 El Camino a true automotive gem.
The Story Behind the Build
The journey of this exceptional 1960 El Camino begins with a visionary customer, Berry Bloomquist, who, interestingly, was one of the first customers of the restoration shop nearly two decades ago. Initially purchased by the shop owners eight years before the recent restoration, the car had changed hands a few times before finding its way back to Berry. The fact that it passed through several discerning owners speaks volumes about the car’s potential and the admiration it garnered.
Berry, known for his hands-on approach and outstanding project commitment, took the initiative to work on the car himself. He meticulously dismantled the vehicle, documented every detail, and sourced components for the restoration. This hands-on approach showcased Berry’s dedication and set the stage for a seamless collaboration with the restoration shop.
Chassis and Suspension Upgrades
The heart of this El Camino’s transformation lies in its chassis. Built on a Roadster Shop FastTrack chassis, the car received upgrades to enhance its performance and handling. The builders used the restoration process to refresh and improve various aspects of the chassis, incorporating a 5-inch stroke RS SV shock for phenomenal ride quality.
The FastTrack chassis imparts sports car-like handling and ensures a smooth and comfortable ride, making it an ideal platform for this unique build. The wheel and tire package choice, with 275s at the rear and 265s up front on RS6 wheels, contributes to both traction and aesthetics, maintaining a balance between performance and the car’s original design.
Powertrain and Transmission
Under the hood, the El Camino boasts a reliable GM LS3 engine, delivering 480 horsepower. Paired with a Bowler T56 Magnum transmission, sourced for its reliability and performance, the powertrain ensures a thrilling driving experience. The combination of a McLeod RST clutch and a thoughtful choice of transmission components adds to the car’s overall drivability.
Exterior and Design
The exterior of the El Camino underwent a careful restoration, balancing a show-worthy finish with practicality for enjoyable cruising. Barry’s involvement in the project extended to outsourcing the paintwork to a skilled friend, resulting in a visually appealing and durable finish. The car’s lowered stance, achieved without tubbing the rear, showcases the builders’ attention to detail and respect for the car’s original design.
Inside the cabin, the El Camino received a blend of classic and modern touches. Including a restored aftermarket AC unit seamlessly integrated with Gen 4 ductwork ensures comfort and a period-appropriate aesthetic. The center console, featuring Impala buckets from a previous project, adds to the interior’s functionality and style.
The driving experience is further enhanced by a tilt column equipped with Dakota Digital RTX gauges, providing a modern touch without compromising the vintage appeal. Custom leather upholstery, a McLeod pedal assembly, and thoughtful placement of controls contribute to a comfortable and driver-centric interior.
Barry’s Roadster Shop Built 1960 El Camino
The restoration and modification of this 1960 El Camino exemplify the perfect balance between preserving the car’s heritage and injecting modern performance and style. Berry Bloomquist’s hands-on involvement, coupled with the expertise of the Roadster Shop, has resulted in a truly exceptional vehicle that pays homage to the past while delivering an exhilarating driving experience. This El Camino is a testament to the transformative power of skilled craftsmanship and the enduring appeal of classic automobiles in the modern era.