When Brian was in pre-school in 1969, his dad traded in his 1966 El Camino for a Garnet Red 1969 El Camino SS396 with a black vinyl top.
He vividly remembers riding in the center of that black bench seat. He had his feet resting on the transmission tunnel, looking out over the bright red hood as that big block vibrated the floor under his feet. It was the coolest truck/car he had ever seen, and it ignited a love for American muscle that lives on to this day (He’s 55 years old now).
He has so many memories of riding with his dad in that El Camino. He was a volunteer firefighter and had installed a steel light bar in the bed that held a red flashing bubble above the roofline. When the fire bell rang, he would rush to the front window to watch him tear out of the driveway with the rear wheels spinning and that light flashing brightly. He owned that 1969 El Camino for about three years. Until one day, it caught on fire and burned (ironic).
He idolized his dad and all that he stood for. So much so that he became a career firefighter. A profession he remains in today after nearly 38 years. Sadly, his dad passed away in 2017. While looking through some old photographs, he came across a few pictures of that 1969 El Camino SS396. He knew then and there that he had to find one for himself. Not only to satisfy his love for American muscle but as a living and breathing tribute to his dad.
After about three years of scouring the internet, he found a 1969 El Camino for sale in North Carolina. It’s optioned identical to his except that it was painted Hugger Orange instead of Garnet Red. He worked out a deal with the seller and drove it home last May. Once he sorts out the mechanicals, wiring, and interior (most of which are in remarkable condition), He’ll begin preparing it for paint…Garnet Red, of course!
He knew what he wanted because he wanted exactly, what his dad had. It had to be a true SS with the original numbers matching 396 big block and TH400 transmission. It took him three years, but he finally found one.
The gentleman he bought it from recently had the engine, transmission, and factory A/C rebuilt. So, it runs and drives like a champ. He had a mild cam installed as well as some head work, so while it looks stock it has plenty of get-up-and-go! The engine breathes through a dual Flowmaster exhaust that rumbles just like he remembers from 50+ years ago. Everything else visible on the truck is bone stock.
The most “special” part is the sentimental tie-in with his dad. The original black vinyl top is still in excellent condition, as is the bench seat and carpet. It has definitely been loved throughout its lifetime and apparently garage-kept.
He wants to keep it as close to stock as he can while making it safe and dependable. It’s mechanically very sound since the rebuild, so now he’s focusing on bringing the electrical system up to being safe and fully functional. He will eventually replace the fuel/warning light gauge with your tach and gauges (IDT-6960) and conversion harness (IDT-69HRN). Once all of that is sorted, He’ll start preparing for the Garnet Red repaint.