What If... Chevrolet Used Its Muscle Car Know-How to Make the El Camaro?

Chevrolet El Camaro rendering 7 photos
Photo: Joao Kleber Amaral for autoevolution
Chevrolet El Camaro rendering1967 Chevrolet El Camino SS1970 Chevrolet El Camino SSChevrolet Camaro ZL1Chevrolet Camaro ZL1Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Are you at all familiar with Marvel’s ‘What If...?’ comic book and TV anthology series? Both explore new and exciting ways in which the Marvel Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history had occurred differently.
Now, I am going to take this deliciously bonkers recipe and apply it to the car industry, with the Chevrolet Camaro as our titular character. If you guys like this idea, we might just start doing this from time to time, namely asking ourselves this question with regards to various popular passenger vehicles.

There are two ways to look at this story, using our hypothetical multiversal goggles. One would be asking the question straight up: What if GM decided to make a limited-edition Camaro pickup/ute? Simple, right? It would have been cool if they did made one.

Then there’s this second, more complex way of asking the question: What if the Camaro had always been a sporty two-door utility vehicle with a truck bed? Now that’s interesting, mostly because a lot of historical moments would have to change, starting with a decision not to fight back against the Ford Mustang in the 1960s.

Of course, the El Camino has always preceded the Camaro, in our reality. The former was unveiled in the late 50s, based on the standard two-door Chevy station wagon platform, but with an integrated cab and cargo bed.

1967 Chevrolet El Camino SS
Photo: Chevrolet
Some El Camino generations are more popular than others, but if you ask me, there’s something appealing about all of them. If I had to pick favorites, I’d go with the third-gen car in SS spec. The fifth gen El Camino is cool too, like the one driven by Jesse Pinkman at the end of Breaking Bad.

As for the Camaro, the first-generation car made its official debut back in 1966, available in Super Sport, Rally Sport and Z/28 spec. It went on to give the Mustang a solid run for its money, and apart from the fourth-generation model, I’m a fan of all other Camaro iterations.

The current model, which serves as the blueprint for this exclusive rendering by Joao Kleber Amaral, is a heck of a car, especially the flagship ZL1 version, which is basically a Camaro SS on steroids.

Power comes from a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 V8 engine (shared with the Corvette Z06), with a factory output of 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft (881 Nm) of torque. Buyers would then choose between either a 10-speed automatic gearbox or a standard six-speed manual, both offering many pros and very few cons, at least if we’re grading by muscle car standards.

Chevrolet El Camaro rendering
Photo: Joao Kleber Amaral for autoevolution
This is exactly the right specification for what I like to call an El Camaro, which as previously established, could have existed for multiple reasons, hypothetically, of course.

The rendering really evokes the spirit of those classic El Camino SS utes, while adding modern tech, a modern design and supercharging to the mix. With less weight pressing down on its rear axle, you can imagine just how incredibly fun to drive the El Camaro would be – even more so than something like the HSV Maloo GTSR, which has nearly 100 fewer horsepower than a Camaro ZL1.

Personally, I can picture the El Camaro turning heads at every single car meet, and if it was already in production, then it would probably be just as popular as some of America’s top muscle cars – American Muscle at its finest, if you will.

Back in the real world, the Camaro isn’t doing that well against the Challenger and the Mustang in terms of sales, so I’m willing to bet that if Chevy ever decided to carve a truck bed into the ZL1, or even the SS, the carmaker would then immediately attract both new and legacy buyers.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
Sergiu Tudose profile photo

Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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