Did you know that a Cadillac El Camino exists? It’s true, at least from a certain point of view. Although the vehicle was not manufactured as such by General Motors, custom coachbuilders took the initiative to find out what would happen if they converted a Cadillac El Dorado into a pickup style hybrid vehicle that maintained the comfort of a car with the functionality of a truck. Here are the history and story of the Cadillac El Camino.
Customized El Cadillette
Hemmings confirmed that a Cadillac El Camino does exist. The vehicle was created in Timaru, New Zealand by HBomb Customs and Classics. It began as a four-door hardtop version of the 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, Series 62. This was perhaps one of the most bizarre customs ever created from a Cadillac. Before arriving at the shop, another coachbuilder cut the sedan and converted it into a coupe utility, added a Continental kit, then Corvet Coves. The owner wasn’t yet satisfied and brought it to HBomb for completion. The special orders took customization into a new dimension. A tag axle was added along with custom chrome, more fabrications, and completion of the interior. The result was a custom vehicle that was 6-wheeled and titled “The El Cadillette.” It was close to an El Camino, but also bore features of a corvette and a Continental for a Frankensteinesque personality. Other customized Cadillacs came even closer to being a more even cross between an El Camino and a Cadillac.
Cadillac El Camino Concept Cars
The Washington Post reported on a Cadillac El Camino Concept that was billed as a show car. General Motors approved the experimentation on a Cadillac Eldorado. It was intended to be a futuristic vehicle for an exhibit at car shows for publicity purposes. The vehicle was designed as a two-passenger coupe with a body made of fiberglass, the top made of brushed aluminum, and a bubble aircraft canopy with tinted glass. The vehicle received a Cadillac 5.4-liter V8 engine that cranked out 230 horsepower. The wheelbase was 115 inches and the total length, 200 inches. The result of the experimentation yielded the very first Cadillac, El Camino, with four headlights. Only one was ever made with this design.
The first Cadillac El Camino was fully functional
Classic Cars Fandom reports that the 1954 Cadillac El Camino show car was a fully functional vehicle. It was built in 1954 and shown at the 1954 GM Motorama. the seats were airplane styled with high back bucket seats to give it a futuristic look. What some didn’t realize is that the car featured elements that were a preview to what Cadillac planned to present in future models it was working on at the time. A few of these cues included the quad headlights, gull-wing front bumper, fluted side-panels, and the shape of the rear fins. The second version of this concept car was made in a convertible. This variation was called La Espada.
The Cadillac Mirage
Another Cadillac El Camino was made through a conversion process. The Mirage looked even more like an El Camino than the first concept car made by GM. According to Jalopnik, the Mirage was based on a Deville Coupe that was fabricated into a pickup/car cross. Some of the Mirage models produced included a golf bag door. A total of 216 Mirages were commissioned by Cadillac. Although these were custom vehicles, not produced at the factory, they were sold by select Cadillac dealerships. These rigs were the design genius of Gene Winfield, the legendary creator of vehicles seen in films such as the SUX Pontiac in “Robocop” and the vehicles seen in “Blade Runner.” The Mirage received an 8.2-liter V8 engine but the horsepower output was only 200 with 400 lb-ft of torque. It wasn’t fast but it had great acceleration. What can you expect from a 4,500-pound behemoth?
The value of a Cadillac El Camino
If you’re fortunate enough to find a Cadillac from the 1970s that has been converted into a pickup truck, you might have something very special on your hands. These cars represent a piece of history. Although there have been several private coachbuilders who have tried their hand at creating one-of-a-kind Caddy El Caminos, they’re still rare and hard to find.
We found an example on the auction block at Barrett-Jackson. This Cadillac Mirage found on the Jackson-Barrett auction was listed as one of only 200 hand-built conversions, so we naturally ascribed it to one of the GM commissioned orders that were converted by Traditional Coachworks of Chatham, California. The company was only in business for three years. The coachbuilders were slammed with orders because in a short span that they produced a little over 200 of these unique Cadillac El Camino type vehicles. It’s worth noting that each Cadillac Mirage built was customized, so there were differences in the aesthetics. The rarest feature the golf bag doors because only a few Mirages feature this component.
If you were wondering if there is a Cadillac El Camino, we found proof that it did happen. We’ve consulted multiple reliable sources to confirm the existence of the Caddy El Camino. It’s gone by a few different names, but the concept was the same. Several assorted coachbuilders converted a few select Cadillac models into pickup trucks through the years. It all began in 1954 with GM’s rendition of a futuristic car to exhibit at car shows. The unique concept caught on. It wasn’t long until the very wealthy were requesting customized Cadillacs with the dual purpose of a luxury car and functional pickup truck. The final result amounts to an upscale version of the El Camino design, hence the name, Cadillac El Camino.