El Camino is a Spanish name that stands for ‘The road’.
The Chevrolet El Camino was a hybrid car/truck launched in 1959. It had a short initial production to 1960 and was then re-launched in 1964-87.
The model was launched as a result of the success of the Ford Ranchero but in the early days was not as popular as the Ford itself.
Dinky toys 449 Issued 1961-69
The El Camino was launched with an upper turquoise body and off white side panels, with a red interior and a superb detailed silver radiator and red tail lights at the rear. It had a black gloss base plate and, throughout its production, the silver spun hubs.
Later versions changed by way of the interior colour and further versions can be found with yellow, light blue and light green, the latter being the hardest.
The base plate also changed from gloss to matt black, reflected in the last issues normally found with red or lemon interior.
• Turquoise top and cream lower, Red interior, gloss base plate
• Turquoise top and cream lower, Pale blue interior, gloss base plate
• Turquoise top and cream lower, Pale green interior, gloss base plate
• Turquoise top and cream lower, Red interior, matt base plate
• Turquoise top and cream lower, Lemon interior, matt base plate
This was the later lighter yellow picture box with no colour spot indication at the end. It showed the standard early version model with red interior, on both sides.
Unlike the model, the box style changed several times. Initially, and the most common, is the stronger lift-off picture box. This was followed by the long box with tuck-in end flaps, which are so easily damaged.
After this there was the scarce red-yellow window box and finally, the even scarcer, US export gold window box.
Though these later window boxes are the hardest to find they are the least popular to collectors due to their fragility and the difficulty in safe storage.
Dinky toys 448 El Camino with trailers. Issued 1963-68
This attractive set was issued with one El Camino and two trailers.
The El Camino, from the examples I have seen, have had red interiors but the base plates, though mainly gloss, have also received matt, dependent on their year of issue.
The two trailers are in red with a silver chassis: one is covered, the other an open back trailer. The first covered trailer had stickers either side saying ‘Trailer ACME hire’.
South African releases Issued 1962
In 1962 Arthur E. Harris, an importing distributor, arranged a shipment from Meccano, Liverpool with the casts of several models.
It is likely that no more than one shipment was arranged, but this is uncertain. These casts were assembled in South Africa.
Local colour choice was applied and some models, despite the small production, were produced in different colours. They applied their own rivets and the boxes were printed in South Africa and can be found with dual writing in both English and Afrikaans.
Many of the colours used were unique to the SA models.
The colours recorded are as listed below; though I have never seen the all cream version. Each had spun hubs, red interior and black gloss base plate.
• All turquoise body
• Cream top, Caramel lower body
• Turquoise top and cream lower (similar to English version)
• All cream
Should anyone reading this article have any known South African models for sale I would be interested in discussing a possible purchase.