1968 Chevrolet El Camino 396 SS Muscle Car Of The Week Video Episode 316 V8TV

Some people consider the Chevrolet El Camino to be somewhat of a novelty item, especially in the SS versions. Originally built as a competitor to Ford’s original “mini truck” – the Ranchero – the El Camino served dutifully to those who needed a helping hand carrying small payloads but didn’t need , or want, a pickup regular pickup truck. But this one is the real deal when it comes to performance, style, and yes… practicality!

Chevrolet boasted about the El Camino having stamina and style.. the perfect choice for “right now” people who need a versatile vehicle for work, recreation, and around-town errands.” With a 1500 lb. payload and over 6 feet of bed length with the tailgate down, an El Camino is a hard worker. Base models came with a 230 HP 6 cylinder engine, but that’s not why we’re here. This is Muscle Car Of The Week for cryin’ out loud.

To attract more buyers, Chevrolet adapted the SS trim and performance package from the Chevelle to the El Camino, which now gave buyers a way to drive a high-powered muscle car nearly guilt free! After all, it was a work vehicle, why not add a big block, 4-speed, and performance suspension? Who says you shouldn’t make your work environment a bit more fun?

S1: Doesn’t need a trailer..

This particular ‘68 Elky SS is rocking the highest output 396 available, the RPO code L78 375 HP 396 backed by a Muncie 4-speed transmission. L78 specs read more like a race engine than a work truck plant, with and 11.5:1 compression ratio and a solid lifter cam. The cylinder heads featured oversized valves and large rectangular ports for heavy breathing, and a forged crank secured by 4-bolt main caps kept the special connecting rods swinging at high rpm. Power was rated at 375hp at 5600 rpm and 415 lb.-ft. of torque at 3600 rpm. A Muncie M22 4-speed and 12-bolt rear end equipped with 3.55:1 gears spin the wheels. You’ll have no excuse to be late to the jobsite with one of these.

The L78 package also included the F41 heavy-duty suspension, consisting of higher-rate coil springs and shocks matched to them, a larger front sway bar, and braced and boxed rear control arms to keep the 4-link rear suspension system for twisting into a ribbon under hard launches. A rear sway bar was also part of the package, as were 14” rally wheels and F70-14” tires.

The El Camino SS has a great look, like it’s lazier, no-job-having brother, the Chevelle SS. This one is finished in a sweet Seafrost Green with a black lower accent and black vinyl top. We really dig the color contrast with the black, green, silver Rally wheels, and redline tires… it’s just enough of each color to play along without clashing. The SS badges are present, along with the little 396 box on the marker light. Subtle, for sure, but they’re there. The tailgate frames a satin-black stripe, and Chevy fans know that black band means big-block lurks under the hood. It’s a warning to those looking to pick on our little pickup on it’s way home from work.

Inside, you’d never know you weren’t in a Chevelle SS unless you looked in the rear view mirror. It’s got all the goodies… strato bucket seats, wood wheel, full console, Hurst-shifted 4-speed, and the full gauge panel in the dash. We love the drum-style tachometer. Am tunes and a heater keep you company on the way to the jobsite… or drag strip!

The exact production number of L78 ‘68 El Caminos isn’t known, but a figure of 393 has been estimated. We’re happy to see one in The Brothers Collection, and trust that it’s working days are over, but it’s definitely not retired.

1968 Chevrolet El Camino 396 SS Muscle Car Of The Week Video Episode 316 V8TV

#musclecaroftheweek #ElCamino #SS396

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