CC Global: 1959 & 1974 El Camino — Car Show Summary, San Salvador 2023; Part 2

This post is a much-delayed follow-up to a San Salvador car show summary I started last year (part 1 HERE), and good thing I didn’t promise to be expedient, for it’s taken a while. In any case, the photos come from car events that have become a fixture in the city’s downtown these past couple of years. All part of an effort by local authorities to revitalize the old city center.

As the images will show, the shows have rather large gatherings that make photo-taking a chore. Yet, despite the not-ideal environment –it’s hot, crowded, and hard to access– the events have done a good deal in promoting local car culture.

Talking about local culture, some will point out that many of these vehicles stick closer to lowrider tradition. Others are clearly resto-mods. Neither tendency falls within CC’s general preferences, but well, there’s little I can do to contain the love locals have for glitzy and extroverted mods.

But while I prefer my cars to be stock, between a glitzy over-the-top El Camino or no El Camino at all, I’ll take the former.

Have I ever told you that I love the 1959 Chevrolet? And most of GM’s ’59 crop? The cars were certainly kind of absurd and over the top. But that was precisely the point, with GM and just about everyone else in Detroit trying to outdo each other in that fateful year. Quite a way to close an era.

Eye-grabbing? You got it. Practical and sensible? If you worry about those, you’re looking at the wrong period.

Then again, that late ’50s excess does make for great eye-candy today.

Of course, the El Camino is my favorite of this lot. Something that should be clear, as I’m highlighting it in this post.

I’ll admit I have a bipolar opinion on the whole ‘El Camino’ concept. Whenever one appears, one side of my brain goes: “Are those really useful?” Immediately followed by the opposite side of my brain saying: “Neat! I’ll take one!”

Obviously, a good number of people agreed with that part of my brain, since El Camino was a long-lasting model.

Clearly, no other El Camino was ever as extroverted and excessive as this one. Now, I don’t really know how useful that loading area was with those wide side walls, but how many people really bought these for their practicality?

Sorry to say that there are no shots of this one’s interior. Little before I grabbed some snaps, the car’s owner arrived to move the vehicle.

The car moved with ease as the crowd dispersed, with a nice burble from its V8 resonating through the air as it pulled away.

A few C/K trucks sat next to the El Camino. First was this turquoise one, the ’59’s color-coordinated partner. Then an orange Chevrolet (already shown in photo #2) and then…

A true lowrider GMC truck, right next to a rather nice-looking Toyota Land Cruiser.

The Land Cruiser marked the end of truck’s row. Further down, next to the National Theater sat a 1974 El Camino, in a spot that made it impossible to capture properly. Lots of wonky wide angles in these photos.

See? Wonky! That hood is certainly long, but not that long.

As much as I also like these, against the earlier ’59 generation, you can feel GM’s cost-cutting taking over. And that’s without going into the interior, where cheap is felt.

There it is, a truly Rubbermaid of an interior, particularly on that door panel’s bottom. And I’ve no idea what that Nissan bag is doing on the floor.

If you owned one of these and loved the interior, good. As a bystander, it’s hard to be impressed. But such were the ’70s, overall.

Regardless, I do like and have a soft spot for this generation of El Caminos. The sweeping bedside lines and rear taillight arrangement always struck me as quite-right, in a very ’70s kind of way. Then again, I owned one of these El Caminos as a toy car when I was a kid, so that may explain my likeness for them.

Logic? What does the brain know about that?

As can be seen, the ’74 El Camino was right next to a Cutlass. Somewhat less glitzy than the rest, and more to my liking. Though I believe is a work in progress.

By their side, more Mustangs and Chevrolets were lined up. I already devoted a couple of posts to the local Mustang club, so you can check those if you like. Meanwhile, I wanted a nice shot of that Impala convertible, but there was no way to obtain it.

I did eventually manage to get a rear side view, but a clear front or profile shot proved impossible to get. Still, this shot provides a nice look at the taillights, one of the car’s most distinctive features.

Want to see them closer?

There they are. And they make such lovely sights. A good way to close this Part 2 post.

I’ll eventually get to Part 3, with some European and Japanese metal. Just don’t hold your breath while I prepare that one.