Chevrolet El Camino

For 1973, the El Camino was redesigned. Matching the Chevelle line and using the wagon chassis, it was the largest El Camino generation. Energy-absorbing hydraulic front bumper systems created an ungainly appearance on these vehicles and added more weight. There were two different trim levels of El Caminos during this period. The base model and SS option shared interior and exterior appointments with the Chevelle Malibu, while the El Camino Classic (introduced for 1974) shared its trim with the more upscale Chevelle Malibu Classic.

The chassis design was as new as the bodies with 1-inch (25 mm) a wider wheel track, front and rear. The left wheel was adjusted to have slightly more positive camber than the right, which resulted in a more uniform and stable steering feel on high-crown road surfaces while maintaining excellent freeway cruise stability. Clearances for spring travel were also improved for a smoother ride over all types of surfaces; the coil springs at each wheel were computer-selected to match the individual car's weight. Front disc brakes were now standard on all '73 El Caminos. Additional new features were an acoustical double-panel roof, tighter-fitting glass, flush-style outside door handles, molded full-foam seat construction, flow-through power ventilation system, inside hood release, refined Delcotron generator and sealed side-terminal battery, a larger 22-US-gallon (83 L; 18 imp gal) fuel tank, and "flush and dry" rocker panels introduced first on the redesigned 1971 full-size Chevrolets. New options included swivel bucket seats (with console) and Turbine I urethane (backed by steel) wheels, as was the instrument gauge cluster. A benefit of the new body designs was much better visibility of which the unusually thin windshield pillars contributed. A structural improvement was a stronger design for the side door guard beams.

The 307 2-barrel V8 of 115 hp (86 kW) was the base engine. Options included a 350 2-barrel V8 of 145 hp (108 kW), a 350 4-barrel V8 of 175 hp (130 kW), and a 454 4-barrel V8 rated at 245 hp (183 kW). Hardened engine valve seats and hydraulic camshafts made these engines reliable for many miles, and allowed them to accept the increasingly popular unleaded regular gasoline. The three-speed manual transmission was standard; 4-speed manual and Turbo Hydra-Matic 3-speed automatic transmissions were optional. Crossflow radiators and coolant reservoirs prevented overheating.

The SS, now a trim option, included a black grill with SS emblem, bodyside striping, bright roof drip moldings, color-keyed dual sport mirrors, special front and rear stabilizer bars, rally wheels, 70-series raised white-lettered tires, special instrumentation and SS interior emblems. The SS option was available with a 350 or 454 V8 with the 4-speed or Turbo Hydra-Matic transmissions.

Source: Wikipedia, 2013

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