Jesse James of TV’s
“Monster Garage” fame may know how to destroy a
perfectly good El Camino and turn it into an
extraordinary mega-machine. But members of the
Chevelle and El Camino Club of Oregon took some
misfit parts and transformed it into the HOTTEST
EL CAMINO BBQ you will ever see.
The barbeque had its
beginnings in December 2003. Club member Rob
Whittaker was watching the movie “Gone in 60
Seconds,” and noticed they were having a BBQ and
the cooker was the nose of a Buick. Rob quickly
got on the phone to Sonny Connell, resident
fabricator of STUFF and PHRAMAS'S (a Sonny-ism,
folks). Rob asked Sonny, “Could be done?” And
Sonny’s reply was “Anything is possible with
enough time and money.”
started our quest for Chevelle and El Camino
parts, and came up with a hood from Sonny's '72
El Camino. That was a start but they needed more
and put notice out to the Club for any and all
available '70-'72 front clips.
George Burns responded with
two fenders, a bumper and miscellaneous pieces
from a '71 El Camino. Ken Crocker also gave some
chrome pieces and a grill to complete the nose.
The club authorized funds to purchase an axle
and various sheet metals and steel for the
frame. They now had an axle and needed a set of
wheels and tires. Lee Anderson had a nice set of
Cragar wheels on good rubber so those were used.
then began the fabricating.
Skip Moore, Lee Anderson,
Rob Whittaker and James Moreland spent whatever
spare time they could donate to help Sonny weld
the frame and mount the axle. Once the basic
frame and trailer tongue were built, they hung
the fenders and lined up the sheet metal. The
fenders were a little rough to say the least, so
Sonny spent a lot of time filling and sanding to
ensure the body was as straight as possible.
rest of the group helped out where they could in
the process. Finally, Sonny was happy with the
body lines and time was running short. They had
a fire box and grill surface custom fabricated
to fit between the frame rails. The BBQ was then
sent to Austen's Body Shop for a base coat of
black. George Burn's brother, James -- a master
at painting flames -- was visiting from
California and was willing to put his personal
touch to the high horsepower grill. The flames
were painted and the body was clear coated.
week before the unveiling, the MONSTER B-B-Q was
put through its trial run. With 40 pounds of
charcoal, she was set ablaze. Everything went
well until the familiar smell of burning rubber
showed up. It was determined that 40 pounds was
too much charcoal and it was agreed that 20
pounds would suffice. Just for good measure,
Sonny fabricated some inner wheel wells to
protect the tires.
MONSTER B-B-Q was revealed at the Club’s annual
pre-show barbeque and it was an instant hit.
Sonny was presented with a plaque thanking him
for all his hard work and dedication. Then came
the REAL test as Sonny and Skip BBQ'd a few
hundred burgers and dogs, without a glitch.
The Builders - Sonny (seated) and
one of his helpers, Skip Moore.
With the help of the new Club's new
MONSTER B-B-Q, there was plenty of food
for all the volunteers.