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Personal Website of Warren Conner

1959 El Camino comes home!


The story is almost as interesting as the car...


In 1979 I purchased a '59 El Camino (ElC). It was complete and running. The vehicle had been retrofitted with a 350 small block in place of the original 283 engine and the body had been painted a bright green. The old lacquer paint was badly cracked and in need of restoration, but the truck was in pretty good shape. Coincidentally on the same day that I took possession of the ElC, my brother-in-law and his friend [both body and paint guys] were in my motorcycle shop looking for new motocross gear. We made a deal for a trade - dirt bike gear for body and paint work on the ElC. Seemed like a good deal!

I owned the car for less than 24 hours when I drove it up to the friend’s house several miles north of Denver and dropped it off. He told me at the time that I should forget that I owned this truck as it was going to take a while to complete all the body work and restoration that I wanted -- little did I know that he meant it!

As time went on, my brother-in-law spent many hours striping the truck of the old lacquer and repairing the body damage. He and the friend gutted the truck down to the bare metal, inside and out. The friend was then to paint and reassemble the truck.

Time marched on, and we lost track of the friend and the truck. After 15 or 20 years I gave up hope of ever finding the truck although I didn't toss the title or some of the other odd pieces which I had kept, including the radio and some gauges.

33 years later... Out of the blue one night, while visiting my in-laws, the phone rang and the woman on the other end of the line told my mother-in-law that she was calling all the people in the phone book with my brother-in-law's name, trying to locate her father's friend from days gone by. Her father (the formerly referred to friend) was being forced to move, and he wanted to return the El Camino to its rightful owner. He had not finished the truck and it had been sitting outside, uncovered except for a tarp, for these many years. I could hardly believe that there was the possibility of getting the ElC back!

My brother-in-law and I made arrangements to pick up the truck. I had visions of a severely rusted out hulk that had sat in the mud somewhere for all this time. When we got to the location to pick it up, we were mildly surprised to find that the rust was only surface and was more than restorable. Not only that, but the friend had saved all of the parts and pieces that had been removed over the years.

The real shocker… We loaded the ElC on a tow truck and were ready to leave when the friend came up to me and handed me a check for nearly all of the money that I had invested in the purchase 33 years earlier. He told me that not a day had gone by that he had not worried about failing to finish the truck, and this was his way of making amends. There are some really good people left in this world!


Follow this link to see pictures of the restoration process as we get underway in bringing the El Camino back to life... <Click here>