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El Caminos Club of Bakersfield - Strength In Numbers

The El Caminos Club Of Bakersfield Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts.

Photography by Steve Campbell

John Hustead owns the the '82 El Camino Conquistador at the far left, coated in metallic-parchment paint with gold-dust pinstriping. Its 3.8L V-6 engine is mated to a TH350 transmission, and it still includes all of the original packages along with a straight body. John's second vehicle is the two-tone gray '84 GMC Sprint Caballero (second from left) with a 383ci engine and a TH350 transmission. Oscar Jimenez purchased his one-owner black '78 El Camino Conquistador (center) 15 years ago for $800. Its 350ci crate small-block works with a 700-R4 transmission. After 411/42 years of hard work from family members, Oscar was proud to see his El Camino featured in the annual Bakersfield Christmas parade. Next up, second from right, is Ruben Gonzales' metallic midnight-blue '80 GMC Caballero, powered by a 305ci engine and a TH350 transmission. The Center Line rims are wrapped in P205/R60-15 rubber. Ruben's wife, Pat, drives it to the daycare where she works and enjoys the versatility the El Camino provides. Albert Lopez owns the desert tan '79 El Camino on the right. Like Hustead's Conquistador, it is also powered by a 3.8L and a TH350 transmission. The only modification is the Sirius satellite radio and a Flowmaster after-cat exhaust system.

In 2004, Richard Lopez bought this primer-gray '73 El Camino for $500. When he ran the VIN, he discovered that it is a true 265hp, 454ci/TH400 SS Custom. Even the engine's numbers match. The engine has been cosmetically upgraded and now features ceramic-coated Hooker headers, a complete MSD Ignition system, and geardrive. The floorpan was cut out and new panels welded in as part of a full frame-off restoration. The original #74 dark metallic red paint will be restored and complemented with SS stripes. Being able to perform that kind of work in the group's garage is one of the benefits of being a Platinum member of The El Caminos Club of Bakersfield.

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