1981 El Camino Specs

by Christine Wheatley
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The Chevrolet El Camino debuted in 1959, inspired by the success of the similarly styled Ford Ranchero, the first car-truck sold in the United States. The original El Camino half-truck, half-car model lasted only two years, but it reappeared in 1964 redesigned as a car based on the Chevelle's platform. SS models of the El Camino appeared in 1968, establishing the vehicle as on of the iconic muscle cars of the late 1960s and 1970s. New features for the 1981 El Camino included a new Computer Command Control and a redesigned grill.

Engine and Transmission

Standard on the 1981 El Camino was a 3.8-liter V-6 engine with 110 horsepower. Optional engines included a 4.4-liter V-8 with 115 horsepower and a 5.0-liter V-8 with 150 horsepower. El Caminos sold in California did not have the option of the 4.4-liter V-8 engine. The engines all included GM's new Computer Command Control (CCC) emission system. A three-speed manual transmission was standard, with the option of a three-speed automatic transmission. A lock-up torque converter was added to the three-speed automatic to aid highway gas mileage.


Beginning in 1978 and lasting until it was discontinued in 1987, the El Camino was made smaller and given more modern, updated styling. The El Camino of those years shared its platform and style with the Monte Carlo and Malibu. Front fender moldings, body-side moldings and tailgate moldings were available, as well as bumper guards and bumper rub strips. The El Camino's wheelbase measured 117.3 inches, the overall length was 202 inches, the overall width was 72 inches and the overall height was 55.5 inches. The 1981 Chevy El Camino weighed about 3,428 lbs. The front tires were size P215/65-R15 and the back tires were size P205/70-R14.

Interior Features

Interior features available on the 1981 El Camino included air conditioning, an electric clock, a six-way power driver's seat, a comfort-tilt steering wheel, power windows and door locks, tinted glass and cruise control. Radio options for the El Camino consisted of an AM radio or an AM/FM stereo radio with the choice of a cassette player or an eight-track tape player. Also available was the option of a CB with a power tri-band antenna.

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