Caballero? Ranchero? El Camino? A real truck?



I wanted to buy an old beater truck, than found El Camino’s, Caballero’s and Ranchero’s. Are they reliable? I don’t mind a project, but we have a new child and I need something reliable. My wife wants me to buy an old truck that doesn’t need any repair. Anything old is going to need some TLC. There are several old utility trucks on Craigslist and E-bay in Northern VA/Wash DC. I’m especially interested in the Caballero/Camino on e-bay http://cgi…95689&rd=1

Does this look like a good deal? I’m hesitant to buy any car that I haven’t driven or had looked at by a mechanic. If necessary, I can wait…but


They’re just as reliable as the trucks since they use the same running gear, etc.
I can’t say whether this particular vehicle is a good deal or not. It all depends on how it checks out and the final price.

I’ve owned a '66 Ranchero that was a pretty decent vehicle and a friend of mine, now deceased, owned at various times 3 of the 70s era Rancheros. They were reliable everyday drivers that he used as shop vehicles also.

My brother in law currently has an El Camino like the one you linked to and it has been an outstanding vehicle. He’s owned it for about 18 years, drives it a lot, and he told me the only problem he has ever had was an alternator failure.
My neighbor also had one (SS version) that was pretty reliable, but someone made him an offer on it he couldn’t refuse.


Unless you live nearby, I’d pass on them. You must see the truck, drive it, and have it checked by a mechanic to see what it needs. And with a new child, you might want a truck with a back seat - if all 3 of you will ride in the truck.


I think it depends on what your expectation for this vehicle is. If you want a neat 2nd car to play around with that can double as a utility vehicle, I’d say go for a car-truck! But if you want something that will haul the most stuff for the least cost, I’d say stick with a real truck. The problem with the Ranchero and El Camino is that the old ones are based on big full-size cars that weren’t terrribly efficient. A full-size pickup with a 6-cylinder engine will get about the same mileage as either of those car-trucks and give you a lot more room. Alternatively, if you don’t need a ton of room, a mid-80’s 2wd compact truck will get better mileage, be more reliable, and won’t take up as much room, but will be a yawn to own.

Plus for some reason there is a certain ahh… social stigma to owning a car-truck that you will have to decide that you are okay with.


Plus for some reason there is a certain ahh… social stigma to owning a car-truck …

You might be a redneck if …


Plus for some reason there is a certain ahh… social stigma to owning a car-truck that you will have to decide that you are okay with.

What would that be?
I’ve said numerous times that those vehicles were ahead of their time, since all these crossover vehicles are coming onto the market. The closest thing to an ElCo is the Subaru Baja. I wonder how well an ElCo would sell if they brought it back.


The Chevy SSR is similar to an ElCamino… and it didn’t sell very well.

In Australia, Ford makes a Falcon ‘Ute’ which is a Falcon RWD sedan with a truck bed, and apparently it’s very popular down there. Since Ford may be replacing the Crown Vic with the Falcon, maybe Ford will bring up the ‘Ute’ version as well.


Here’s some info on the ‘Ute’:


I forgot about that SSR, and it seems they don’t make them anymore. It seems that they took just about every idea and threw it into one vehicle. 2 seat hard top convertible, a truck bed that’s closed up so you can’t really use it, and new-retro styling.
Put in a bench seat, take that tonneau cover off, and you might have something.


I think Bill Clinton said it best, “When I was a younger man and had a life, I owned an El Camino pickup in the '70s. It was a real sort of Southern deal. I had Astroturf in the back. You don’t want to know why, but I did.”


The El Camino is a great little truck. My first car was an ElCo, and I loved it. It was an ‘80 that I bought with a blown engine for $400. Rebuilt the engine for less than $800 and it ran like a champ. Man, I miss that car; had to sell it in order to move. I would highly recommend it. Nothing like a good ol’ Chevy V8 for reliability and ease and cost of repairs. Of course, don’t expect to be able to tow or 4-by in it.


I love my el Camino (1976 with 210,000 miles). I’ve had it about 8 years now and have not worked on it other than routine maintenance. The last of the big bodies was 1977. The 350 V8 was smogged in 1973 and doesn’t have the horsepower of the earlier versions, but is still adequate. I have air shocks and can carry 1000+ lbs in the bed no problem. I beg to differ about the coolness factor. These machines are beyond redneck now. You need to get one. I am respected where ever I drive.