March 17, 2008, - 11:48 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
America’s national mullet of a car–”business in the front, party in the back”–is making a comeback. And like a mullet, some things shouldn’t make a come back. The El Camino could be one of ‘em, depending upon whether odd looks or functionality and truck mileage are your priority.
Yup, possibly the ugliest American car ever made–but with a cult following and certain kitsch–the El Camino is baaaack. No joke. GM–in its dire economic conditions–is for some reason bringing back the half-breed vehicle, half-car/half-truck, from the ’70s.
Old El Camino . . .
New 2010 El Camino . . .
It’s strange that GM would do this because the car was phased out and became less popular in America as gas prices went up. It was guzzler. In addition, the El Camino won’t even be made here. GM is making the Chevy El Camino in Australia, not here. So, the company won’t even benefit from the “Made in America” ethos among patriotic buyers. The El Camino will be a 2010 Pontiac G8-based sport truck, equipped with a 361-horsepower V8 engine, which can haul more than 1,000 pounds. It basically looks like a Pontiac Fiero (which was ugly enough) with a longer trunk, or a very flat low-rider truck.
Again, I’m not sure why anyone–with gas approaching $4 per gallon–would want a V8 engine and a car that has very little passenger room.
I asked my friend, Ray Wert, independent auto industry journalist–he’s like the Matt Drudge (only way better) of cars and gets all the car scoops before everyone else (and his staff does road tests, etc.)–and Editor-in-Chief of the cool car site, Jalopnik, for the mileage of the new El Camino, since I couldn’t find it anywhere. Here’s what he had to say, and he addresses my questions about the gas guzzling:
[The mileage is] unannounced, but if it’s the same as the V8-engined G8 GT, it s car-sized brother, it’s 15 MPG city / 24 MPG highway. That would give it better fuel economy than any truck GM currently makes — also faster than any truck GM currently makes.
It [the mileage] is better than any truck anyone makes. For instance, the Toyota Tundra gets 14 MPG city / 19 MPG highway, the Honda Ridgeline gets 15 MPG city / 20 MPG highway and the Nissan Frontier gets 14 MPG city / 19 MPG highway. Standard trucks use more gas than cars do because they’re heavy, have larger tires and are built on platforms that are not designed for optimal fuel efficiency. The new El Camino is built on a car-based platform and therefore uses less gas than standard pickups.
Many people buy standard pickups and other haulers because they need them. There are also many people who buy them because they don’t need them. The people that don’t need them are rapidly leaving the segment in search for better fuel economy — some may decide to get “in-between” vehicles like the new El Cam. Most will move to cars.
Currently, GM’s Pontiac Web site is holding a contest to name the new El Camino (I guess they don’t want to call an El Camino, “El Camino”). The winner gets a free new “Car Formerly Known As El Camino” encrusted with his/her winning euphemism. One of my friends suggests, “The Sheik Mobile.” My suggestions: “K-Fed’s New Ride,” “Mullet Wheelz,” “Ahmadinejad’s Hearse,” “Non-WNBA Player Ride,” “El Illegal Alien Smuggalino,” and “PimpMobile ’10″. I can see this car becoming the “Hooptee” of choice for Gangsta America.
Jalopnik has more specifics, details, and video about the new El Cam (including details and pics of everything “under the skin” of the new El Camino). And like I said, it’s the go-to site for all the early scoops and details on cars. (Who sez Jews don’t know about cars? That’s right, Ray is one of my peeps.)
Flashback: Jalopnik on the 1975 El Camino.
Here’s a pic of my kind of El Camino. Too bad it’s a toy (from Patto’s Place) . . .
Tags: America, Australia, car-based platform, car-sized brother, cool car site, Debbie Schlussel, Editor-in-Chief, Federal Reserve System, gas guzzling, gas prices, go-to site, Honda, Honda Ridgeline, independent auto industry journalist, less gas, MPG highway, New Ride, Nissan, Nissan Frontier, Non-WNBA Player, Pontiac Fiero, Pontiac G8, Ray Wert, Toyota, Toyota Tundra, USD