Man do we miss the old days when these were the closest thing we had to crossovers.
Older generations love to rag on the younger crowd, telling them they’re weak and cowardly—a disgrace to the generations before them that were required to be rugged and tough just to survive. And you know what? Those geezers might just have a point. Proof of that can be seen in the current obsession with the safe, docile, and rather unemotional crossover SUV. Car buyers seem to love these mashups between cars and SUVs these days, and why shouldn’t they?
They have the safety and capability of an SUV (almost) while carrying over fewer SUV downsides like laughable handling and poor fuel economy. But back in the day, one automotive mashup of choice was between the car and pickup truck. It’s how cars like the Chevrolet El Camino rose to fame.
Unlike crossover SUVs, these vehicles were less safe and capable than either a regular truck or car, but their cool factor was easily off the charts. With rear-wheel drive, the lightweight proportions of a passenger car, and hardly any of that weight over the rear end, it almost seemed that the El Camino was built to scare the crap out of the few occupants that could fit inside. But it didn't start out that way. Wanting to copy the Ford Ranchero, Chevy initially built the El Camino as a pickup truck with the usability of a car. As the horsepower and muscle car wars finally made their way into the El Camino, the model started turning into the badass we all know and love. It's just a shame it's no longer around to wreck havoc.