Recently I thought I’d start the next series of models I wanna complete, albeit without the same color palette across the board, and then it immediately hit me how hard that would be but also how fun it would be having drastically different El Caminos from the start to finish. The hard part? Well I don’t particularly like the pre-1967 El Caminos, then again that’s more of a me issue and less a kit issue as they go as far back as 1959 from Revell and AMT.
The hard part is that the 1970 one would require me sawing a Chevelle in half and frankensteining the front to a El Camino body, with a Monte Carlo bumper to make it more authentic. Same goes for the 1971/72, but then with a even rarer kit to find; ’72 Chevelle but at least no Monte Carlo bumper. Then there’s the issue that there’s just no 1973-1976 El Caminos available in kit form, 1977 and 1978 are both Monogram releases and the 1980s saw little to no change in terms of El Camino besides the Choo Choo Customs edition with the Monte Carlo front, which I already own.
So cue the 1978 El Camino from Monogram. I’ve always been a total sucker for the de-chromed late seventies cars, particularly the Monte Carlo and El Camino, which look downright badass in all black. Hell same can be said about nearly all late seventies cars that used a lot of chrome in their fronts and rears, even a family car like the Chevy Caprice Wagon.
Should mention a couple of things before I really get into it though; this is a supposedly “custom” El Camino or “Pro Touring” if you will, as some eagle eyed among us might notice from the giant hood scoop, Cragar 610C G/T wheels and front air dam. The kit’s actually a weird combination of cool and… well I can only describe it as late seventies weirdness. It’s a El Camino Camper, which is cool and all with the enclosed bed, but at the same time it’s a supercharged V6 with giant rear wheels and small tires. I mean, it’s cool! But it’s also so very odd to slap all that power equipment on a underpowered victim of the oil crisis that also doubles as a car you can dump your fishing gear in on a trip.
But I digress, it’s nifty in its own right. The supercharger makes the otherwise rather average 305 cubic inch V6 look a bit meager but with the whole thing set up it’s actually quite huge. Though this kit was designed and molded in 1978 according to some folks, it has a ’96 copyright notice on the side of the box so there’s this weird duality going on with is it a classically designed kit like the other early eighties Monogram releases just shoved out in 1996 or is it just a very badly designed kit released in 1996? Cause it leans to the first, it has some serious panel gaps between the front and rear bumpers, like a good centimeter clean open.
The engine bits fit about as well as shoving a round peg in a square hole, it’s super simplistic and lacks a serious amount of detail in the cab as well as under the hood. But as I said, if it’s a ’78 release then more power to it, it has little to no flash and the decals actually held up even though I didn’t use them for obvious reasons. Simplistic and under detailed isn’t a nail-in-the-coffin situation for a old kit, but if its truly designed in 1996 then… yeeeaahh, no.
But aside from the bare-ish detail and the engine fitting pretty poorly, the exterior and chassis frame actually went together really smoothly! I mean, there’s vicious panel gaps and the rear bumper was molded on a bit of a crooked angle so no matter what I tried it always sits a bit odd, but from the outside it looks superb!
So in the end, it’s not technically a SS(even though it’s packing a helluva lot more horse power than one) and it’s not even technically a regular El Camino, but I still enjoyed making it greatly and its gonna look really good when it’s smaller scale brother, the ’78 Monte Carlo SS is finished, which will have the same paint job and all the trim de-chromed.
’78 Chevrolet El Camino SS specifications:
Skill Level: 2
Molded in: Red