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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Johnny Lightning 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle wagon and El Camino

But wait!  There’s more in terms of Chevelle and El Camino castings.  This time from Johnny Lightning that made one amazing reveal back in 2005 releasing two different castings of the Chevelle: a station wagon two-door and an El Camino and while both are different tools in real life the El Camino is based on the wagon so they too are related, plus not to mention the awesome variations that have come between these two.

1965 Chevelle Wagon

Chevrolet was looking for a way to enter the smaller mid-size car place that was growing in the 1960’s and the answer to that is the Chevelle Malibu line.  The Chevelle was a spin-off of the Malibu line as  a more premium model with the option of more power thanks to the SS trim level and shared styling alongside the larger Impala models.  The Chevelle lineup is the only one to feature many bodystyles that range from two-door and four door sedans to station wagons and even the return of the El Camino.  The Chevelle line returned in 1965 with a few small changes to the square-sided design and that includes the El Camino that shared most parts with the two-door station wagon.  The interior has a driver-oriented layout with three round gauges and a two-spoke steering wheel, with the wagon adding a rear bench seat and plenty of cargo room in the back with a split window/tailgate opening.  The engine’s range from a 283 to a 396 CID V8 and transmissions that include a two-speed automatic or four-speed manual transmissions.

The wagon first appeared before the pickup in 2005 in white with red interior and wirewheel hubcaps with rubber tires.  The front has a large grille that has detailed eggcrate pattern, four round headlights, horizontal bar with bowtie logo in the center of the grille, and a lower bumper with signal lights.  The side profile is clean and simple with split side windows at the rear and a slightly raised roof like the Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, while the rear has square taillights, CHEVROLET on the tailgate, and reverse lamps next to the license plate area that also serves as the base support mount.  The metal base shows off the chassis, drivetrain components, suspension, and rear fuel tank with precision that was superb at the time of the casting’s introduction, while the hood is nice and think and opens up to show the V8 motor in orange with black air cleaner housing, detailed battery, alternator and drive belts, and even the distributor cap in the back of the engine.  The interior looks nice in red and has detailed front and rear bench seats, detailed door panels that span across the entire perimeter of the interior, 2-spoke steering wheel with detailed gauges and controls on the dashboard, and even detailed floor mats on the floor.  A very nice casting that is popular today and even I had to add another one to my collection: from the 2008 Road Trip series is this blue on blue Chevelle Wagon that sports cool-looking mag wheels on rubber tires, a chrome strip along the sides, and very neat bumper stickers across the rear of the vehicle.  All vehicles in the road trip series have various bumper stickers and come with accessories to set up the perfect road trip adventure.

1965 El Camino

Not shortly after that the El Camino arrived with a different tooling that now uses a pickup bed over the wagon’s roofline and yet still Johnny Lightning managed to detail the floor cover that hides the wagon’s rear footwell area in the bed of the Camino.  The details are as crisp as the Chevelle Wagon with its gold Working Class Trucks line introduction even though the mag wheels use plastic tires instead.  The interior is the same minus the rear seat with all the excellent dashboard and door panel details abundant inside, while the hood still shows off the excellent detailing of the V8 motor as well as the detailed metal base.  The surprise find was the Classic Gold version of the custom El Camino sporting white and yellow flames along a red body and this version uses rubber tires on not-so-great 5-spoke wheels, and what is amazing is the fact that the chassis is painted black and the floor of the bed is painted black like it had some sort of bed rug.  Good news is that the El Camino returned for 2018 and I found one in this awesome dark green sporting sleek rallye wheels with BF Goodrich white letter rubber tires.  As you can see the new Johnny Lightning does an excellent job with detailing now adding chrome trim around the windows, sharp badge detailing that is now more readable, and they even found room to put a rear license plate on the small base tab area.  What I like about these two castings is that Johnny Lightning could’ve taken the typical route and do the 2-door coupe that everyone else was doing at the time, but instead went for a different approach with the El Camino and Wagon bodystyles and so far these two have been a collector favorite among others.