Arlington

Check out this cool car that's been cruising UT-Arlington campus since 1983

The University of Texas at Arlington still has a 1983 Chevrolet El Camino in its fleet.
The University of Texas at Arlington still has a 1983 Chevrolet El Camino in its fleet. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

There's a piece of automotive history cruising around the UT-Arlington campus.

And has been for 35 years.

Sunning in the Maverick Stadium parking lot, surrounded by pickups, Honda Civics and Nissan Pathfinders, the white 1983 El Camino draws double-takes from just about everyone who drives by.

The coupe utility vehicle that is half-car, half-truck was debuted by Chevrolet in 1958 to compete with Ford's Ranchero and was widely popular until production ended in 1987.

But, with its powerful V8 engine and slick look, the El Camino still has legions of fans.

There have been on-line petitions pushing Chevrolet to bring the El Camino back and there were even fake images of a supposed reboot of the vehicle circulating last year.

It's been compared to automotive equivalent of the mullet from being all business in front and all party in the back.

Since 2016, Ragenna A. Prince, UTA's director of facilities services, has been the lucky one to drive the school's El Camino.

Her review?

"It drives great, like the old Cutlass Supremes did," Prince said.

The El Camino was purchased in August 1983 for $9,531 from Graff Chevrolet in Grand Prairie and has always been an administrative vehicle. While the GM Arlington Assembly Plant rolled El Caminos off the assembly line from 1973-77 and 1979-84, Prince said this one was built in Michigan.

"It was against state law for facilities to purchase cars, only pickups or vans," Prince said. "Since the El Caminos and Ford Rancheros were classed as a half-ton pickup and drove like a car, administrators were able to purchase them."

But Prince drives it around UTA or to the school's Fort Worth campus, she gets a common question: Will the school sell it or when it will go to auction?

On sites like Autotrader and eBay, asking prices for El Caminos ranged from as low as $1,997 to as high as $39,995.

But with only 53,000 miles on the vehicle, this El Camino it isn't going anywhere.

"Our current plan is to keep it and since it is used as an administrative vehicle, it should last for years to come," Prince said.

Chris Ogden, formerly an assistant coach at Texas Tech, will take over as head coach of the UTA Mavericks. He replaces Scott Cross, who was coach for 12 years.

Bill Hanna: 817-390-7698, @fwhanna

  Comments