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  1. #1
    Known Member kenrogers1's Avatar
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    Thumbs up I am an El Camino NUT.......kenrogers1

    I spent the last 27 years of my working career in traffic safety, eight years as a State Trooper with the Arkansas State Police, later as an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, and finally as the NTSB’s Regional Director for the Central United States. Interestingly enough, I was medically retired back in 2000 as a result of a Traffic crash that occurred in 1994. Over my career, I accumulated a very diverse knowledge of automobiles, their built-in safety features, their acceleration characteristics, collision dynamics, and styling features that drew me to carefully evaluate any automobile before purchase. It was part of my job expectations that I should know which were the safest vehicles, the least safe, and the highest and lowest powered. After I retired with the accumulation of 27 years of safety knowledge, I knew exactly what I wanted – I wanted a muscle car from back in the ‘60s, and I wanted an El Camino! I wanted an El Camino because that’s what my father owned when I was a senior in school. My father, a carpenter, had ordered an El Camino with the then new 350 c.i. engine for his work vehicle. What he got was a fire breathing big block; the 350 HP version of the 396 c.i. engine that looked like a work of art nestled in the underhood area of his SuperSport pickup. However, except for special occasions, I was still left to my daily driver, a bright green 1957 Chevrolet pickup with a bright red tailgate. Just try to get away with anything with that color combination in a small Arkansas town, population 725 in 1968.

    To scratch my itch, after the 40 year interruption for a career, children, and college expenses, I purchased my 1968 El Camino SS-396 five years ago from an auction on e-Bay. The ad said “…like the ones on Barrett-Jackson”, and “…she’s not a show car, but would probably win in any show you entered”. Well, hardly! The first thing changed was a complete restoration of the interior during the first winter I owned the car. Over the following two years, a complete down-to-the-metal refinish of the factory original Cordovan Maroon Metallic and a precautionary rebuild and balance of the now 422 hp powerplant were accomplished. These repairs and renovations have left the true, 138 VIN SS a two-time Best of Show award winner at the U.S. GM Nationals and as a peer-selected Best in Show and Best of Class winner from as many as 100 El Caminos at the annual Texas Invitational show in Belton, Texas. Additionally, the El Camino was selected as a feature car on PowerBlock TV’s MuscleCar program in September of 2010. That was fun! Nine and one-half hours of filming, and a tank and a half of gas, all for about six minutes of show time. Of course, about five of those hours were driven with the secondaries howling and the Magnaflows roaring - sweet music to any classic car nut! A 45 year old survivor, the El Camino remains just as she left the factory in California, as an original from bumper to bumper with just two exceptions – a Comp cam and Doug Thorley headers, both installed by the previous owner. There were only 519 of these 1968 SS-396 models made with factory air conditioning, and it still continues to work, even in the Texas heat. With so few of them left after 44 years, and the Elky remaining factory correct, bumper to bumper originality has been and always will be my goal with the Elky

    In addition to the El Camino, I now own a 1966 Mustang coupe that I have been restoring over the past year. This one was purchased from an open field where she had resided for the past eleven years, but is awaiting the final paint application as I write this. The on-frame restoration of the Mustang has taught me a lot more about the renovation of classic automobiles that I learned from the El Camino. The Mustang project began by repair and replacement of body panels damaged by the traffic crash that left it sidelined for those eleven years. And, I have been forced to learn about searching out hard-to-find parts that are getting harder and harder to find – that, and the application of Bondo in extreme temperatures when the “little squeeze of hardener” varies from Ľ inch to an inch and a half (and it still sets up before using a fourth of what I’ve mixed!).

    Owning the El Camino and trying to continuously make it a better automobile that I can leave to my family as a solid car for years to come eventually led me to the National El Camino Owners Association (NECOA). This Association makes its home at elcaminocentral.com, where the El Camino information is second to none. Whether you’re looking to interpret a Data Tag, a VIN, or other codes, there will be a member with the knowledge to point you in the needed direction. And if its mechanical answers you search for, it has been said that while the NECOA didn’t write the book on El Caminos, the members there could certainly edit the book for accuracy – yes, they’re that good! But I guess I should confess – I said that, and I have to say that my opinion could be somewhat biased. You see, I’m currently the National Director of the NECOA, one of the fastest growing automobile clubs with over 21,500 members worldwide. What I’ve said is true, however, in that we have, collectively, the best El Camino information available anywhere, and the members are pleasant and courteous on the family-friendly Forum.

    I guess what I like best about my classic car(s) is the ability to return to an earlier time, on demand, with a stab of the gas pedal. What modern automobile can offer the same sensation created by the wind noise, the full-throated scream of the 4 barrels gulping fuel, and the song of the Magnaflows. Give me a two lane rural road leading to a car show at some place remote to the big city, and I can lose myself in the pleasant thoughts that only can come from my classic ride. A 150 mile trip seemingly takes only minutes, but it can take hours to remove the fruits of my travels – the bugs! That can be an unpleasant chore, but it has to be done before the Elky can be protected under cover in her corner of the garage, as far away from foot traffic as possible to minimize the chance of contact with something that may damage her beautiful complexion. Before storage, her Amsoil level is checked carefully, although in five years the level has never been found low. If the storage is for more than a week or so, I start her up and let her run for 10 to 15 minutes every week or so, but try to get out for a drive around the block if the weather cooperates. Of course, we really don’t have the storage and weather problems here in Texas that can be common in the Great Frozen North. And there are car shows going on the year around, if a person is so motivated.

    I think that the best car ever made was the 1970 Chevelle with the LS6 engine. Very conservatively rated at 450 horsepower, the Chevelle made short work of most of its competitors, even the much-acclaimed Hemi MOPARS. I would jump at the chance to purchase one of the Chevelles workhorse twins, an El Camino, with the LS6 option - if one could be found at a reasonable cost. What I would consider to be the worst car ever built has to be the Chevrolet Vega. In the midst of the 1974 oil embargo and resultant gas shortage, I was the proud owner of a 1970 Chevrolet Impala Custom. With its 400 c.i. smallblock engine, that car averaged around 22 miles per gallon. However, with the gas shortage getting worse, and the prices growing ever higher, I made a decision to trade the Impala, in perfect shape except for the gas-guzzling V-8, in on one of the new gas-sipping Vegas. Long story short – my first trip in the Vega, to Illinois, averaged 17 miles per gallon with a top speed of 63 miles an hour. Nuff explained!

    I first heard about the Cool Rides website a couple of years ago when one of my Association members’ car was in competition for one of the monthly awards. Since that time, the NECOA has claimed 2 or 3 of the Cool Rides’ prizes, prizes that they are very proud to win and tell about to their peers. The prize gives them further validation of what they have known for many years – the El Camino is the Coolest Ride that you can find on the highway today. But regardless of what car or truck you consider the best, please help us and other classic car clubs in the renovation and restoration of the classic cars – they aren’t going to make any more of them! Restore them – Don’t crush them!

    My photo album can be found here: http://forums.coolridesonline.net/album.php?u=362
    Last edited by kenrogers1; 01-04-2014 at 11:58 PM.
    [COLOR="#B22222"] "I have never seen a hearse towing a U-Haul"[/COLOR]

  2. #2
    CRO Senior Moderator Justa6's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site.
    Always keep em smokin,,,,then let er drift!

  3. #3
    CRO Senior Moderator Gtdhw's Avatar
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    Now that is an intro!

    Welcome to the site, awesome El Camino, and I agree 100% with the LS6.
    If winning was easy, then the losers would be winners.
    I wish I was the man my dog thinks I am.

  4. #4
    Rookie caminonut's Avatar
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    That was a mouth full to read...

    Welcome to another El Camino NUT...


    John "aka" caminonut

  5. #5
    Senior Moderator cor66vette's Avatar
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    Drive fast and leave a sexy corpse


  6. #6
    Senior Member 69 SS396's Avatar
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    About time you showed up here Ken.

    I've been here for a couple days now.

  7. #7
    Known Member kenrogers1's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Loaded Photos last year................

    I opened a photo album here last year, then got busy and kind of forgot anything else. It's a great site, and has really allowed a lot of exposure for the Association's El Caminos. Skinnyfisher, HaraldK, Donny, and now Mike have all been honored here. And I probably missed someone...........................Ken[/I]
    [COLOR="#B22222"] "I have never seen a hearse towing a U-Haul"[/COLOR]

  8. #8
    Hall of Fame Member DavidC77's Avatar
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    Cool

    to Cool Rides


    BCA # 45934 / Central New England Chapter / BCA
    Central New England Chapter / BCA - Membership Coordinator / Recording Secretary
    BPG # 2313 / Northeast GS/GN Club / Buick GS Club of America # 2943

    "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway" John Wayne

  9. #9
    Known Member texaselcamino's Avatar
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    Welcome Ken!


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