Details are everything. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the distinctive outline of an El Camino in the distance and thought: pay dirt. As I got closer, the plot thickened. It seemed overwhelmingly positive: classic ‘80s Chevy, fine but not perfect condition, easy to photograph, something many CC readers could identify (if not identify with)… But I had not yet noticed one crucial feature.
It took me a little while, because I was elated by the find. How could one not be chuffed to bits by finding a classic piece of Americana sitting alone on a bright and sunny winter morning and seemingly demanding to be photographed? So I snap away merrily, capturing the Chevy’s front end, the interior, the profile (always loved the profile on these) and… *record scratch*
Now, I loves me an El Camino as much as anyone, and I don’t necessarily mind an accessory or two. Maybe not these two, though. Seeing this pair of green truck nuts on the back of this Chevy gave me a strange feeling of uneasiness. I had heard about these, but I hadn’t seen them in the polymer. I could not imagine why the owner felt the need to attach them.
But I’m presuming that there was a “need” (or even a desire) to be-testicle this very nice, and hitherto proudly gender-neutral, Chevrolet El Camino. Perhaps we should look to coercion or punishment as the root cause of this scrotal scandal. Who knows. Japan is opposite world for a certain number of things, after all. I’m not sure what truck nuts are supposed to mean in the Japanese context.
Not that I’m too confident about what they’re supposed to mean in general. These things seem to fall in the category of “stuff you do to set people off,” at least as view from the side of folks who don’t get why anybody would do this to their vehicle. Or to the people who follow said vehicle. It’s childish, vulgar and indiscriminate. The fact that this fad seems to have mirrored the rise of Internet trolls is probably not a coincidence.
There is cause for some merriment as regards these plastic implements. One is that there are at least two nutbags (both white guys, who’d have guessed?) claim to have been the first to mass-produce these. Success has many fathers – well, two at least, in the present case. Another is the definition of “Truck Nuts” in the UrbanDictionary, which I invite you to look up (for this one, I’ll leave you hanging… dangling, even.)
It’s funny how a couple dozen grams of green plastic can divert one’s attention from the subject at hand. By which I mean the car, of course. It’s still a very fine representative of its species, the 1982-87 El Camino. I won’t go into much detail about these, as we’ve seen them plenty of times on CC and most of you know a lot more about them just off the top of your head than I could write up with hours of ball-breaking research.
Nevertheless, this has to be one of the great GM designs of the era. It also pays homages to some of the greatest hits of the ‘70s, with that Ferrari-like inverted rear window and those Jaguar XJS-esque flying buttresses. This bed sure looks like it’s not been in much use, but then El Caminos are not necessarily about hauling cargo, and more about having a ball (or two).
Not to mention a lovely (if slightly less roomy than one might expect) interior. I remember having corduroy trousers that seem pretty analogous to the seat fabric seen here. That was a long, long time ago – it could have been 1985, as a matter of fact. That was well before anything had dropped, as far as I was concerned.
Chevrolet only sold 21,816 El Caminos in 1985. Seems that’s what that sub-generation (i.e. the 1982-87 quad-eyes) usually sold per annum – pretty modest, for a Big Cojone like Chevy. Yes, I realize that should be “Kahuna,” but these were built in Mexico, so…
Still, reality is stubborn. It’s impossible to ignore that our feature truck duos habet et bene pendentes, as they allegedly said in the Vatican. This El Camino is no saint, though. It’s no angel either – those aren’t meant to have family jewels, even plastic ones. I would like to apologize for the tone of this post (and some of the humour, if you can call it that), but this Chevrolet made me feel quite testy. Can’t blame a guy for grasping the low-hanging fruit.
Curbside Classic: 1982 Chevrolet El Camino – Every day is Satyr-day, by JPC
Curbside Classic: 1987 GMC Caballero – The Gentleman Of The Truck World, by Eric703
Curbside Capsule: 1982 Chevrolet El Camino – The Road Ahead, by Joseph Dennis
CC Capsule: 1983-87 Chevy El Camino SS – El Caminos De La Costa Este, by Robert Kim
Curbside Outtake: 1982-87 Chevrolet El Camino – The CC That Time Forgot, by Ed Stembridge
COAL: 1986 Chevrolet El Camino – A Sad Ending, by James Pastor
COAL: 1985 El Camino Project Update – Miss Lily Elk, by Pioneer_Fox
COAL: 1985 Chevrolet El Camino – Life Finds A Way, by Pioneer_Fox
I believe the correct term for this in Japan would be “Pachinko Balls”, no?
If you had asked me the unlikeliest vehicle to find in Tokyo, the El Camino would rank quite high on the list. Higher than the vast majority of other finds, that’s for sure. The wheels, lowered (I think) stance and tires do help this one out immeasurably except for being the wrong color for it. I love the wood bed though in this one.
This Elky claims to have balls but article doesn’t mention engine spec.s…
And appears to be automatic on the tree…
Deep dish rear wheels?
Vintage piece(s), that’s for sure. Haven’t seen truck nutz in at least a decade.
Paul, unfortunately I still see them a few times a year. Even in Oregon … only east of 97 though. Otherwise a nice example of my favorite El Camino generation; in particular I like the wheels.
there are trucknutz on the Nissan Versa with roof cargo boxes (plural) parked in front of my Subaru right now at this minute curbside on the street behind my Queens apartment building. It also has HOTWIFE decals.
Worst. CC Effect. Ever.
Here in Ohio, I’ve seen only a few bro-dozers with truck nutz 5 or 6 years ago.
I thought it must have begun in some cattle producing state with some bored cowboys
trying to figure out what to do after a hard day of making steers.
As for the wash tub bed El-Caminos, they look better to me now. Never cared for them when they were new.
The two-tone brown reminds me of the 1960’s Fawn Beige. A more drab color would be tough to find.
I like the gilt color.
Seriously, the rear window is unique. Never seen anything like it. The body under it is curved to match. Was there a camper or cap designed to nestle into that curve?
Camper tops for these El Camino’s were not uncommon; but just caps that confirmed to the roof/window and B pillar shapes. Not full slide-in campers that also confirmed to the bed walls, as far as I know.
Had an 84 “Conquista” pulled the decal name off the tailgate as i found it silly. It was euipped with the 350 and auto trans, all the comfort accessories Velor interior, in a silver blue with tutone gunmetal and silver blue exterior. The requisite hood ornament slathers of chrome trim and wihitewalls tire with Chevrolet spec GM wire wheel covers. I called it GQ (Gentleman’s quarter ton.) Always liked the general look, Went as far as ordering a new 78 when that basic body was brought out, but the factory built it with some major differences from the order I placed. Got the color right, but otherwize, no. I declined delivery. Fast forward to my spotting an advert for a local Scottsdale Chevy dealership who had this ElCamino available at price over 3K below factory price. Immediately got there, yep, it was still availablle. Road test was good, came back to do the deal… when the sales manager came out and admitted they had made a mistake in the advert. I had the foresight to have said ad with me and held my ground. Got the deal.. Had it a long time still in good shape when I traded it for an 89 Thunderbird (The guys in the shop at the dealership where I traded were all agog over it. I again made note and held to my claimed value. Should have kept it.
“Should have kept it.”
Yep, nice examples are holding their value. Currently $19k with 24 hours to go:
Those truck nutz surprise me for Japan although I still see them sometimes in the Bay Area where I am which is Contra Costa Co. The other thing that surprises me is the El Camino in Japan. These vehicles seem to be everywhere as the late 70s into 80s El Camino tend to be one of the more common older vehicles on my local Craigslist.
Amazing how badly it overhangs both ends of it’s allotted parking space .
I didn’t know these had wood bed floors .
The cab in these is tiny ~ all Malibus of this platform are really snug in the front seat .
Nice looking all in all .
They didn’t have a wood bed floor from the factory that was added later. They are not cheap, at least at the first place I found. https://bedwood.com/collections/all-products/products/1978-1987-chevrolet-el-camino-retrolinerx%E2%84%A2
Thank you Sir .
The Castaic Garage had the GMC version (? Caballero?) in the late 1970’s (IIRC) one of my buddies was the night dispatcher and occasionally got to drive it, black and very nice IMO, it still wasn’t my cuppa tea .
I prolly missed the boat there as since then I’ve encountered a few ’64 / ’65 El Camino’s with 250CID i6 and TH350 slushbox, I think I could have rocked one as a shop truck .
I really like the wooden bed but don’t like show wood beds ~ I work my trucks if gently .
The goof ball who rebuilt my 1969 Chevy C/10 ignored my specific instructions and ruined an $800 wooden bed kit ~ he coated it with some glossy black urethane crap after I’d given specific instructions not to ~ work truck beds are correctly Southern hard Pine and coated (soaked really) in black stuff that soaks in and preserves the wood for 30 years…
Instead you cannot see the grain of the wood at all and I’m sure if I unloaded it, there’s be gouges and scratches from all the parts carried in it .
I -did- go with the stainless steel rub strips, it wasn’t a restoration, it was supposed to be rebuilding the last shop truck I’ll ever have =8-( .
This little truck looks nice to my eyes .
I’d be embarrassed to have truck nuts, a friend of mine down East thought he’d invented them used weighted tennis balls in a crude leather sack with bits of wire sticking out to loo like pubic hairs ~ I was horrified he thought he’d make a million dollars and was disheartened to find others had beat him to it .
_None_ looked as realistic/rude/rude as his did however =8-) .
I was working at GM Fremont where these were made. That rear widow commonly failed the water test and had to have the edges filled up with sealers. Perhaps by the end of the run, the factory got it to seal up better. One of my neighbors has two very nice examples of these Caminos. My Dad had two Mailbu wagons of this vintage. I suppose they have their charms.
Still a known leak point, but I didn’t realize the problem dated back to the production line…
I must say it’s cool that the owner got a 19-85 license plate for this one. An otherwise good looking car, less the dose of testosterone. Very good post!
“One is that there are at least two nutbags (both white guys, who’d have guessed?) claim to have been the first to mass-produce these.”
Insert any other color/race in place of “white” and you would be labelled a racist. You might want to consider that nutbags come (pun intended) in many colors.
We folks in Middle Tennessee still run with our nuts hanging, It’s a country thing.
As a white guy myself, surely I should be able to point out the foibles of other white guys without causing offense to your whiteguydom. Same as when Samuel L Jackson says the N word or Larry David makes a Jewish joke. That’s kind of how it works.
And why not call me out for being sexist, while you’re at it? You focused on “white” but not “guy”… Interesting.
Wow, great find….I’ve never seen one of these here…
I’m surprised someone hasn’t said Jesse Pinkman grew tired of Alaska and came to Japan…:-)
“We used to drive from Lafayette to Baton Rouge,
In a yellow El Camino, listenin’ to Howlin’ Wolf”
I wonder if the nutz hit the parking curb. Shouldn’t they be blue, anyway?
Urrrgh .if I never see dose nutz again it’ll be too soon.
A comment upthread said it’d been 5-6 years since “peak nutz,” and I concur. Very rare now.
Now picture this … you’re driving your 80-y.o. mother around and you get stopped at a red light behind this. What conversation will happen between mother and son?
Now I know my opinion is going to be no fun at parties, but public obscenity is one thing that gets me riled up, if it’s around children or old women.
Yeah, it’s obscene, just like “that” Tenacious D song at outdoor karaoke.
If you think it’s not, then try this thought experiment : attach a silicone vajayjay “adult toy” to your hitch and see how long you drive before some kind of unpredictable, intense encounter occurs.
Funny thing … here in the deep south …. I talked to a cop buddy of mine and he thought it was just funny.
I told him that if I were a cop, and saw da nutz, I’d carefully scrutinize every boundary of the driving envelope, and find a reason to pull over and do a full r$ctal exam on anyone subjecting my 80-y.o. mother or my 6-y.o. daughter to this.
Your mileage may vary! 🙂
Dan F. – nice song reference! That album, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” (1998) is – in my opinion – one of the best albums of all time. The song, “Metal Firecracker,” in particular. You can stick that album on repeat for a month, and it does not dim ….
Only America could put Jaguar XJ-S and Ferrari details on a pick-up truck that arguably carries little rational working logic………that’s why I want one!
I was thinking about an El Camino as a kind of a “toy” about 1986 or so. A friend’s brother had an ’84, and I borrowed it for a day. All I needed to do was fill it up. A few minutes in it and it was clear, no El Camino of that generation for me, just a little too small to be comfortable in it, and I kept wishing I could shove the seat back about an inch or so. As I drove it that day, I regretted not buying the really clean ’71 SS in red that I could have had in 1977 for like $1000.