Say it with me, El Camino. Doesn't it just roll off your tongue? It's hard not to say it with some Latin flavor with images of blasting down a two-lane dirt road along the coast of Mexico. After looking at Travis Reif's jaw-dropping orange '65 Elco however, it may be hard to speak at all. This 10-year project was the brainchild of a man enveloped in custom cars and trucks since birth. Travis tells us, "I've been involved in this sport for a lifetime-I really was born and bred to do this." Spending a decade on and off building one truck shows dedication, but Travis told us why he stuck it out, "I wanted something different from the norm that looked super low and super bad without a body drop." We're still having a hard time speaking after seeing his El Camino in person, but thankfully we can still type-here are the details of this unmatched '65.
After scrapping his first '65 Elco because, as he described, "It got so far out of hand that I got frustrated with it," Travis found this straight example and began the decade-long journey. As the owner of The Custom Shop in Las Vegas, Travis knows what it takes to build a show-winning custom, so he and his crew immediately got to work on the El Camino's foundation. Using 2-inch drop spindles, Hotchkis upper control arms, Ride Tech airbags, QA1 shocks, and Hotchkis tie-rod ends, the front end was dumped in the weeds. Out back, The Custom Shop team used Hotchkis boxed trailing arms, Ride Tech airbags, and QA1 shocks to bring the chromed Chris Alston Fab9 9-inch rearend into the cutout bed pocket. The sheetmetal Fab9 rearend is stuffed with 4.11 gears and 31-spline Strange axles for bulletproof performance.
Used to adding unique wheels to custom rides, Travis actually has three sets of wheels for his classic Chevy-with each one creating a different look and style for the El Camino. For our shoot, he stuck with 20-inch Boss wheels that are wrapped in Nitto Neo-Gen tires, sized 235/30R20. Wilwood big brakes on each corner bring the Bow Tie to a quick halt. With the Elco ready to handle better than a cheetah on the prowl, each part was removed and sent out for chrome plating, and then the frame was filled, sanded smooth, and painted bright orange. Knowing the El Camino's structure was rock-solid, Travis looked to give the Chevy proper motivation.
Contacting All Seasons Marine, in Boulder City, Nevada, a new 350ci V-8 was fitted with aluminum fast burn heads, a GM Performance Parts hot cam, aluminum X-plane intake manifold with a Holley carb atop it, Hedman Hedders, and Flowmaster mufflers. Providing a deep and raucous rumble, Travis added a March serpentine pulley setup, custom plug wire looms, and Fesler billet hood hinges for eye candy. Sending the 450 hp to the Fab9 rearend is a new 700-R4 trans equipped with a 2,200 rpm stall converter. Smoky burnouts were now as easy as blipping the throttle, but Travis had more in mind that just a low-slung, tire roaster.
Rolling the Elco back into The Custom Shop's bay doors, the body underwent a cosmetic makeover worthy of any Hollywood reality show. Forever sacrificed to the welder are the door and tailgate handles, emblems, hood and side trim, mirrors, rain gutters, and fuel door. Arrow-straight and ready for a vibrant hue, Chris Shelton, of Shelton Designs was called in for his steady and even paint strokes. After some time to cure in the Vegas sunshine, the paint dried to reveal the eye-popping House of Kolor Tangelo Pearl topcoat. Sunglasses required.
Twenty-inch Boss wheels are wrapped in Nitto 235/30R20 Neo-Gen tires.
Each part of the suspension and chassis has been chrome-plated or painted to match.
Hood hinges are from Fesler Built.
It's dressed to the nines and equipped with go-fast goodies from GM Performance Parts, Hol
"I wanted something different from the norm."
Just another day in paradise.