Off the Radar

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Radar Rod Shop 1966 El Camino

Going Old School

If you’ve been following our Radar Rod Shop 1966 El Camino project you have seen the car undergo quite a transformation. And the day has finally come that we can say it is finished and ready for a new home. There is nothing left for us to do to this outstanding Chevy and we couldn’t be happier with the results. From the front bumper to the back taillights, the ’66 is quite the looker.

Sure, the project took longer than we would have liked, but isn’t that usually the case on these things? There is always something coming up when you’re redoing an old car, something you didn’t expect, something you wish didn’t come up and always something that increases the cost and timing of the project. But, if you have ever done one of these, then you know the ropes and you roll with it. In our case, the El Camino didn’t give us any surprises or issues that weren’t foreseen, we just didn’t rush on anything and were careful with the details.

But, let’s backup to the beginning and take a look at what the car looked like when we acquired it.

Under a lot of dirt and dust was a solid example of a second generation El Camino. The owner, Mike, was a friend known by our own Randy George for many years who had been injured in a motorcycle accident in Colorado. He had been working on the car for a few years and had added the tire set seen in the photos, plus a few other things here and there. Since his accident he could no longer work on the car so he decided it was time to pass it on to us. As hard as it was to part with the car, we could tell he was pleased it was going to good hands that would appreciate it as he had.

Mike had recently had the car repainted in a two-stage white color that was used on Harley Davidson motorcycles that looked good but needed some love (Mike has been a huge Harley guy all his life) . He had also planned on redoing the interior, but had not had the chance to do so. Interestingly, when he bought the car he had the bed sprayed with a high-quality liner coating that was still in great shape. So, overall we started with a solid car that didn’t have any major issues.

After we decided what look we wanted, we decided to tackle the interior. The first step was to have the door sills repainted so when you open the door, you see a nice, clean step going into the car.

Next, we took the El Camino over to our friends at Xtitch Auto Interiors. You may remember them from Episode 4 where we showcased their shop. They are known in our area for high-end custom hot rod interiors as well as restoration work. They did a great job laying down new paint, putting in new carpet with heat shield and jute underneath, assembling the dash with a new bezel and radio surround, installing the new retro-look Am/FM radio and under dash speaker and more. Best of all, the interior has that new car smell.

Once the cars cabin was finished the next step was to do something with the way things looked under the hood. As you can see, this was going to be a dirty job.

After we pulled the engine, we ran the stamp codes and found out the 350 small block was from 1971, a desirable year because of the metallurgy in the block casting. Backing up the potent engine is a Turbo 700r four speed automatic transmission. This is also a good place to mention the El Camino has been retrofitted with power front disc brakes from a 1971 Monte Carlo. So she stops just fine, which is nice given how quick she is with the powertrain setup.

As you can see below, the engine bay redo turned out very nice. Every surface has been touched and when you pop the hood, you are greeted by a very attractive layout. Everything from the new valve covers that give the engine a period correct feel to the powder coated headers looks new.

In order to give the El Camino an old school, period correct look we decided to replace the aluminum mag wheels that were on it with proper 15″ painted steelies and chrome dog dish hubcaps. White wall tires finished out the look perfectly.

There are myriad other details that we’ve done to this little ’66 El Camino, but you get the idea. This car is ready for a new owner and some serious cruising time. It’s a turn-key car. All you have to do is drive it.

For one last look at how the El Camino turned out, watch our final episode of this Radar Rod Shop build. And if you are interested in buying this little beauty, please contact me at:

Thanks to: Xtitch Auto Interiors • 2103 W. Euless Blvd., Euless, TX 76040 • 817-358-8668

Thanks to Gardner Paint and Body • 6611 Colleyville Blvd, Colleyville, TX 76034 • 817-310-0608

Thanks to B&G Muffler, Inc • 750 West Northwest Hwy, Grapevine, TX 76051 • 817-481-2298

Special thanks to Bella, the Radar Dog, for keeping us on track at the shop. Good dog!