1972 Chevrolet El Camino
My first glimpse of her, of all places, was on a used car lot. Nonetheless, it was love at first sight. But I worried. Had she been abused? Her interior ripped? Have a lot of miles? Rust, dirty oil, and other signs of neglect? First off, I realize calling a truck “she” might not seem logical. I mean, trucks are supposed to be brawny, tough, rugged and all those other masculine things.
El Caminos, however, are all of those, plus they’re sort of like a young, lithe Olympian swimmer in her skin tight suit – muscle and curves most prominent along with that feminine mystic.
It was fall, 1972, and with both my wife and I working, we were finally in a position to buy a new car. What I had always wanted was an El Camino, but the ’73 models were lame. They had huge doors, no cozy wings, protruding bumpers and, well, they just weren’t cool. The ’72s, on the other hand, were better made and much healthier looking. It was a quandary because, now that I could afford a new car, they didn’t make what I wanted.
Fate sometimes smiles. On my way home from picking up a few groceries late on a warm afternoon, I happened to notice a copper with black vinyl roof and silver rockers 1972 model conspicuously displayed on a used car lot. I wheeled in and tried to contain my excitement when I saw the odometer at only 4000 miles. The plaid-shirted-striped-tie-white-soxed salesman sensed my want . . . my need for this truck. He told me she was a re-pop and he was going to wholesale it the next day. The price was as much as a new one, but it did have all the right extras: A/C, A/T, rally wheels, air shocks, a bench seat and 350-V8. There were no negotiations as he was firm on the price – somehow knowing I had to have this almost new, last-of-its breed El Caminos. I gave him all the cash I had on me, $55, as a down payment. We signed some papers and he said it would take two days to get the title and financing.
As soon as I got home, I checked the weather reports for hurricanes, fires or tornado warnings for the next two days. So, I’m a little paranoid. But, just because one is paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you or bad stuff won’t happen – it’s a cop mentality thing.
Two days later – to the minute – I arrived at the used car dealer to overhear the sales manager telling someone on the phone that he had a black-over-copper 1972 El Camino that he was offering to sell for $200 more than I had a contract for! I barged into his office and said, “What are you doing?” He put his hand over the mouthpiece saying, “I can get $200 more – do you want to pony up or should I let this guy I’ve got on the phone have it?