El Camino prototype ?


Jun 27, 2021
Alright. My tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. There are similarities. It was a car that was modified into a light truck. It's a Chevy. Humor me.

Specs: 1921 Chevrolet 490 roadster pickup.
4 cylinder OHV. 22 HP.
3 spd transmission
leather cone clutch
cruises about 28-30 MPH
was a 4 door touring car

A little history. I was looking for my first real antique car back in the late sixties when a friend gave me a lead on an old Chevy stored in a shed on a tobacco farm. I chased it down and after dickering with the grandson of the original owner for 4 years, brought it home (see picture 3). During the course of the seven year restoration, we discovered that it had been damaged in a fire. All the wood in the body framing was charred. It was after the fire that the back half of the body was removed and the box added. I could have gone either way with the restoration, as I had a rear section, rear doors, and full top, but it had been neatly converted, complete with roadster top, so I opted to leave it as a truck. No, I know it's not an El Camino prototype ! Just having a bit of fun.
It does represent the ingenuity of local blacksmiths and fabricators to fill a void not yet realized by the big players in the car industry.
Some years after the restoration was complete ,I got a phone call from the fellow I bought it from. In the attic of the old farmhouse where the car was, was an old wallet. In the wallet was the original ownership (title) dated 1928 ! The car had been put away in 1931 and didn't see the light of day again until I bought it in 1972.
Note to moderator: Sorry this is a little off topic but I thought some might enjoy the story. Jim


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Sep 14, 2014
Elderton, Pa
Early innovation to make ones car work for what they needed. In Australia they did simular things that lead to the Utes down there.

oldsmobile joe

Royal Smart Person
Nov 12, 2015
ford had one back then that had a box that slid into the trunk after the trunk lid was removed.


"That wagon guy"
Supporting Member
Jan 4, 2009
Wellston, OK
Lots of early cars got converted to trucks during the second World War. Gas rations were better for trucks than cars.


G-Body Guru
Supporting Member
Feb 20, 2018
Depression era ingenuity. You had a car but needed a truck, you turned the car into a truck. Take the lid off the trunk and slide in a pair of sides and a bottom; make them yourself out of whatever wood you could scrounge. Or, even better, just take a hack saw and cut the rear half of the body off at the rear window, add some sheet metal to close up the hole and add the home made box directly to the frame. Model T's were easier still. Head for the nearest scrap yard, score a cab and box from a clunker, pull the body off your T, bolt on the new body parts and instant truck. Still happens today; saw an instance years back when a guy I knew had a square body with a dead cab. Hit the salvage yard, bought a cab,, He and a buddy pulled the front clip off as a unit including the rad support, dived under the old cab to detach the wiring bits and other items, used a A-frame engine puller, (I think) to snatch the dead cab and drop the replacement. Took most of a Saturday afternoon to do it but he drove it home that evening.



Thread starter
Jun 27, 2021
ford had one back then that had a box that slid into the trunk after the trunk lid was removed.
The entire rear "Turtle deck" had to be removed. First time I saw one was back in the early sixties. An elderly gent near us had a 1919 T with a box on the back. The deck was still hanging on the back wall of the garage.
Later, in the thirties, there were a number of companies, including Chevy and Studebaker, that offered slide in box options right from the factory.
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