Coy Jones' 1969 Chevy El Camino
(from Volume 24, Issue 290)

story by owner Coy Jones, photos by Michael B. Kelly


"Still plays with cars after all this time”. That pretty much sums up what makes me a car enthusiast. Even as a young kid going to school, I had a love affair with classic cars and trucks. I had so many old cars when I was younger, and in fact my first was a 1937 Ford Pickup at the age of 13. I couldn’t even drive at that time, but I was hooked. I always enjoyed working on cars too, so that I could drive them around town and on road trips. I have also always enjoyed the friendships that surround the hobby. Since there was no internet, back in the day you would have to know someone that had some old parts, or find what you were looking for at swap meets and thru car club connections.

Over the years I would buy a car, and then try to make it faster. That was the old drag racer in me, with a background of 10 years of racing in the Super Comp class. Even as a young man, my friends and I would drive our street cars to the track, to see just how fast they would go. Well, if I am being honest, it was not always at the track....since back in the early 1970’s we would meet at the local Steak ‘n Shake and race red light to red light down some of the major streets of Orlando.

I always had a thing for the tri-five year Chevys, so over the years I had four of them. One of my favorites was a 1957 210 Handyman Wagon, that I kept for over 10 years. It came to me from Arizona and was a true barn find, where it had been stored for ten years. I didn’t have the money to buy it at the time, so my wheels were spinning. The next day I went to the bank and got a loan against my ‘84 crew cab dually pickup to buy the car. As they say: Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

I previously had a 1970 El Camino, and regretting selling it since that was one of the best cars that I have owned. I was looking to find another El Camino, and the thrill of looking for it made me car crazy. I found this awesome 1969 El Camino in 2016, and I just couldn’t take me eyes off the car. The owner and builder, Don Piispanen of St. Cloud, Florida, told me he had just finished the frame-off restoration, and wasn’t looking to sell it. Even though I was forced to move on, I never really gave up on the idea of buying that beautiful red ‘69 El Camino. So after having bought and sold a 1963 Chevy Impala Supper Sport, and then a 1955 Chevy 2- Door Sedan, I was on the hunt again for my dream El Camino in 2017. I knew that owner Don Piispanen hung out at Old Town in Kissimmee, so with the help of my friend Tommy, we tried to find him there. We eventually did, but he was driving another one of his cars that night. We talked about the ‘69 El Camino, which he said he still had, but that it was still not for sale. My heart was broken, since I really wanted that car, and had been thinking of it for two years. To my surprise, the next day my friend Tommy called to tell me that Don had called him, saying that he would sell me the car. I thought my friend Tommy was messing with me, so I called Don and asked if could come see the car. When he said yes I jumped in my truck and headed over, with a deposit in hand. There was a lot of work done to the El Camino, with everything new from the front of the car to the back, and it was all done right. I am now so proud to own this ride, knowing what it took to make this car what it is today: Hard work, and a labor of love.

The exterior of the car is painted bright red, highlighted with a set of Coys 5-spoke chrome wheels (17x7” in the front, and 18x8” in the back). It has a Super Sport hood, which adds a nice touch to the front of the car, while out back you will find that the bed is highlighted with distinctive wood slats. The interior features a bench seat and saddle tan colored upholstery, and is fitted with Vintage Air to keep the cruising cool. Power is provided by a new 350 cubic inch Chevy crate motor, fitted with headers and some tasteful dress-up items, and mated to a Turbo 350 automatic transmission. It is not badged as a Supper Sport, and I like it that way....just a super clean ride.

I am really enjoying this El Camino everywhere I go, and have had so many compliments on it. I have to say “Thank you” to my wife for putting up with me and all my cars, since it has been a roller coaster ride....always looking for the next hot rod. She has been a real trooper though many, many rides over the last 25 years, since I was always going to car shows just to see what was the next car I could find and buy....and always looking for a new project. Most of my friends ask me what will be my next car or truck, to which I reply, “This one is a keeper”. CN