Anyone who has restored a classic car or truck knows it can be a huge undertaking. The difficulty of this task is amplified even more so by factors like age, body damage, rust, and missing parts. Even if the project is dropped off at a professional custom builder with all the best tools and replacement parts, it’s a lengthy and difficult process. That’s why when builder Dale Dapson, of Fairview Heights, Illinois, bought a beat-up 1960 El Camino and decided to design, build, and paint it in his garage, his family and friends likely looked at him as if he was insane. Nevertheless, Dale’s talent and dedication overcame it all, and this junkyard hulk was resurrected into a sleek custom truck.
When tackling a project of this magnitude, one truck was not enough. The process actually began with two El Caminos, one blue and white shell with a straight body and frame, and a second white one which served as a parts donor. By melding these two together, Dale salvaged enough pieces for a single project. However, even with two donor trucks, Dale had a long road ahead. Inside his garage, he stripped the interior, ground down the flaking paint, and pulled the body off the frame. With the two parts separated, paintwork began, carefully smoothing and priming each piece. Then an Atomic Orange base coat and Crystal Red topcoat were sprayed onto all the components, including frame, new ZZ4 350ci crate motor, 400 transmission, axle, body, and even the custom-fabricated air intake.
Once the paint had dried, the rolling chassis was assembled, with a fuel cell, CCP 4-wheel disc brakes, ceramic-coated exhaust, and Stockton GQ wheels with Goodyear tires. Finally, the refreshed body could be dropped onto the frame. Inside the newly assembled truck, Dale hand-made and painted a new center console, and installed it next to a new pair of cream leather Mercury Milan seats. The remainder of the interior was wrapped in cream and tan, with accents painted to match the body. In addition, a billet wheel, Dakota Digital gauges, a full sound system with in-dash monitor, and Classic Air air conditioning add some modern touches.
When looking at the finished El Camino, it’s extremely impressive that such a sleek custom was created from two scrapyard rust-buckets. However, the fact that Dale was able to achieve this level of quality and finesse without a proper shop, lift, or expensive tools seems almost impossible. It just goes to show that dedication and skill, even the most difficult projects are doable at home. The truck’s new owner, Dale’s uncle Jimmy LaVally, of Valdosta, Georgia, couldn’t be prouder to drive this garage-resurrected Chevy.