Future Truck: 2011 Chevrolet El Camino SS
By: Hans G. Lehmann Posted: 07-06-07 09:04 PT
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Hans Lehmann adds his take on the return of the El Camino. If you like this story, you'll also want to check out Mark Stehrenberger's earlier rendering of a 2011 All-American Ute.

Want to learn more about the history of utility-class pickups? Check out our look back at these car-based haulers.

Following on the success of its Pontiac GTO export deal to the US, GM's Aussie division Holden earlier this year struck a deal to export sporty versions of its new VE Commodore sedans to the States, badged as the Pontiac G8.

Now, with the Ute, or pickup truck, version of the VE Commodore due to be released in Australia in just over one month's time, we have produced a computer illustration of what a Chevy version might look like.

There have been confirmed reports that GM is interested in this vehicle and, given that the car is sold in Australia in a sporty V8 guise, it's possible that it might provide GM the opportunity to dust off the legendary El Camino nameplate.  Wheels magazine reported the following in its June issue: "Ever since GM's global product boss Bob Lutz became interested in rebadging Holdens for North America, there has been speculation – much of it from Lutz himself – that the Ute could work as a reborn Chevrolet El Camino. As recently as February, outgoing Holden MD Denny Mooney was talking up the Ute export program. "I can tell you we've been working on that for over a year (and) the Ute would be unique in the US. It has a fair likelihood (of happening)."

From the A-pillar forward the ute is a dead ringer for the Commodore sedan, but aside form the front doors the rest of the car's panels will be unique pressings. The underpinnings, however, are firmly Commodore-based, meaning a 2915mm wheelbase, strut front suspension, and multi-link rear suspension.

Whereas in Australia the Ute spans everything from a basic V6 workhorse at the lower end of the range, right through to a V8-powered SS sports version, any future El Camino would almost certainly be based on the latter.

That means power from a 362-hp 6.0-liter V8, mated to either a six-speed manual or a six-speed auto. Elsewhere, the package would include leather trim, 19" or 20" alloy wheels, and quad exhaust pipes. With an expected curb weight of around 3,682-lbs this will be one rapid load hauler.

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