My Car Quest

January 17, 2018

Chevrolet El Camino And Ford Ranchero – What’s In A Name?

by Mike –

Who needs a sports car like vehicle with a pick-up bed in the back? It turns out a lot of people who bought the Chevrolet El Camino and fewer who bought the Ford Ranchero thought that is exactly what they needed, or wanted.

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

Ford introduced the Ranchero in 1957 and continued producing it until 1979 (making more than 500,000). Chevrolet liked the idea so they followed suit and introduced the El Camino in 1959 and continued producing it off and on until 1987 (making around 1,000,000).

Ford Ranchero

Ford Ranchero

From the number of El Caminos I see on the road and at car events compared to Rancheros I would say a much higher percentage of El Caminos have survived than Rancheros.

Ford Ranchero

Ford Ranchero

Both Chevrolet and Ford chose a Spanish name for their car-truck. Ranchero means “rancher” in Spanish and Chevrolet chose the Spanish El Camino meaning “the way”.

“The way” sounds kind of zen like but it is also part of the name of a famous road in California, El Camino Real, which stretches from San Diego to San Francisco. El Camino Real means “the royal road” or “the king’s highway”.

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

The California El Camino Real was created by the Spanish missionaries as they established the California missions. All California missions are less than a one day walk from the El Camino Real. Now with a car they are only a few minutes drive from this famous road and many rancheros drive this road regularly.

Any name that attracts California car buyers is always helpful because of the size of the market.

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

Chevrolet El Camino

Both the El Camino and Ranchero have become collectable but I see many that have been customized as is the American way.

The photos here were taken at a car show in Pleasanton, California in 2014.

Let us know what you think about the El Camino and the Ranchero in the Comments.

Ford Ranchero

Ford Ranchero

More El Camino photos are in the two slide shows below.

 

 

This was originally published in May 2014.

Summary
Chevrolet El Camino And Ford Ranchero - What's In A Name?
Article Name
Chevrolet El Camino And Ford Ranchero - What's In A Name?
Description
Why drive a sports coupe with a pick-up bed in the back? Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero owners know why.
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Comments

  1. Ken Phillips says:

    Mike, These are great vehicles. I have had a ’70 SS 396 El Camino for a long time. We only show it now. But it is fast, weighs about the same as a new Porsche. This one is geared long … I always thought if I was going to run away from home it would be my choice as it would take all my favorite stuff and I could just cruise out to Carmel like you did.
    Ken

  2. jake krone says:

    Mike, I had a 69 El Camino in 1972, with Cragar SS wheels and Thrush sidepipes, that I towed my Elan autocross car. Worked great as I could throw jacks, extra wheels, toolbox, etc. in the back easily.

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