Are You An Elco-Holic?



If so, OPGI has the fix you've been look­ing for

El Caminos are ac­tu­ally cool rides. Con­sid­ered by many to be the Mino­taur of the car world, they of­fer a unique and time­less de­sign that makes them an im­por­tant part of Amer­i­cana. Their half-car/halftruck de­sign is some­thing many car man­u­fac­tur­ers have at­tempted, but none have stood the test of time—or earned the re­spect and nos­tal­gia— as the El Camino.

But the mys­tique of this cre­ative plat­form also has a com­pli­cated his­tory filled with plenty of mod­els and en­gine op­tions. It wasn’t that

long ago when Chevro­let be­gan down­siz­ing its mid­size and full­size line­ups; along with it they shrunk the El Camino back in 1978. Even with the smaller foot­print, the fifth-gen El Camino was of­fered with a wide range of Chevy and even Buick V-6 en­gines, as well as a com­par­a­tively ane­mic small-block V-8—an en­gine with an in­her­ently low-rpm torque—thus mak­ing the El Camino a com­pe­tent hauler. Diesel fans will also be quick to point out that Chevy even of­fered the ill-fated 350ci diesel V-8 start­ing in 1983.

Spe­cialty mod­els of the El

Camino in­clude the Su­per Sport, Black Knight, Royal Knight, and Con­quista. The Black Knight was a '78-only of­fer­ing, and shortly there­after was re­named to Royal Knight in 1979 due to a copy­right in­fringe­ment.

Although 1987 was of­fi­cially the El Camino’s last year, 420 ex­am­ples were pro­duced and sold as '88 mod­els, and the sale of its last pro­duc­tion model brought with it the end of an Amer­i­can icon.

Now a quar­ter-cen­tury af­ter it went out of pro­duc­tion, the El Camino re­mains a po­lar­iz­ing yet pop­u­lar part of au­to­mo­tive cul­ture—and a lowrider fa­vorite, es­pe­cially with a set of 14s and laid out. So as we con­tinue with our three-part se­ries on our project '78 El Camino, we’re go­ing over some of the lat­est prod­ucts we used from Orig­i­nal Parts Group Inc. (OPGI).


Cel­e­brat­ing 35 years of ex­cel­lence and ded­i­ca­tion, OPGI has been man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­tail­ing the high­est qual­ity restora­tion parts and ac­ces­sories for clas­sic GM-brand cars. Of­fer­ing the widest se­lec­tion of in­te­rior and ex­te­rior parts, OPGI of­fers the widest se­lec­tion and best ser­vice on ev­ery­thing from in­te­rior and body parts to en­gine parts, sheet­metal, bright trim, and ev­ery­thing in be­tween.

Be­ing "car peo­ple" just like you they un­der­stand the need to get your clas­sic look­ing and per­form­ing just right, so re­cently when we started up on a project '78 El Camino that needed a com­plete in­te­rior, weath­er­strip­ping, and a few cos­met­ics re­placed on the ex­te­rior we pulled up the OPGI cat­a­log/ en­cy­clo­pe­dia and were blown away by the way they pride them­selves with of­fer­ing pre­mium qual­ity and pre­cise re­pro­duc­tion parts that ex­ceed orig­i­nal GM spec­i­fi­ca­tions. To say they have a mas­sive amount of El Camino prod­ucts is a down­right un­der­state­ment!

Here are just a few parts for our Lowrider Elco, giv­ing us hope in com­plet­ing our sym­pa­thetic restora­tion on this time­less clas­sic. Here’s the break­down of the parts:

Steer­ing Wheel ('78-'88 El Camino Clas­sic Chevro­let, PN CH28115)

As part of their “Clas­sic Se­ries” steer­ing wheel col­lec­tion, this steer­ing wheel brings back the nos­tal­gia of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Fea­tur­ing a black foam cush­ion grip, sup­ported by brushed metal spokes, the pre­cisely crafted steer­ing wheel mea­sures in at 15 inches in di­am­e­ter with a 23⁄4-inch dish. The steer­ing wheel comes com­plete with a mount­ing kit and will breathe life back into your ride while elim­i­nat­ing the once-worn and now-sticky—or crum­bling—unit that’s been beat to hell and back.

Cen­ter Grille ('78 El Camino and Mal­ibu, PN KM00988)

Look at any car and one of the first things we an­a­lyze is the front end. It’s the nose cone that breathes life—or death—into any car de­sign, which is why hav­ing a cherry front grille is manda­tory. So if the grille on your El Camino is weath­ered or in bad shape, why re­pair when you can re­place us­ing this fine unit from OPGI. Made to OEM spec­i­fi­ca­tions, this is an iden­ti­cal re­pro­duc­tion unit that’s ready for im­me­di­ate ship­ping. Priced dra­mat­i­cally lower than its orig­i­nal GM coun­ter­part, this OPGI grille for the El Camino is a dead ringer for the orig­i­nal, and a very nec­es­sary up­grade to any qual­ity restora­tion.

Door Pan­els ('78-'80 Sierra Grain Vinyl Front, PN L240922)

Sag­ging, torn, or sweat-soaked door pan­els are a com­mon sight in just about any old car, but now thanks to OPGI you can find re­place­ment pan­els for many clas­sic cars, in­clud­ing the El Camino.

Us­ing top-of-the-line Sierra grain vinyl, which has di­elec­tri­cally sealed hor­i­zon­tal pleats, their door pan­els are au­then­ti­cally re­pro­duced and wrapped around a rigid back­ing board. Com­bined with the cor­rect My­lar trim make th­ese pan­els ideal for any

restora­tion. They are avail­able in sev­eral fac­tory col­ors, while the front pan­els also come with the cor­rect top rail, lock fer­rule, and Win­dowfelt-brand weath­er­strip­ping to make in­stal­la­tion a breeze. Rear pan­els are stan­dard style and must be as­sem­bled us­ing some of the ve­hi­cle’s orig­i­nal com­po­nents. Avail­able in black, camel tan, carmine, light blue, navy blue, or white.

Now that th­ese parts were all in­stalled ef­fort­lessly and to per­fec­tion, we’ll be mov­ing onto phase two of our build, so stay tuned as we start get­ting ready for a com­plete in­te­rior makeover as well as fresh new weath­er­strip­ping and a few other cos­metic prod­ucts that we’ll be pick­ing out from the OPGI cat­a­log. Stay tuned be­cause this build is one that’ll take you down mem­ory lane!

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