1971 Chevy El Camino Blessed Persistence Eric Boily

1971 Chevrolet El Camino: Canadian Camino

A 1971 Chevrolet El Camino — named Blessed Persistence — was originally purchased by owner Eric Boily in 2006. It was a nice driver but Boily took it upon himself to do some upgrades and modifications in his garage. He cleaned it up enough so he and his girlfriend, Majorie, could cruise it, hitting the local shows and events. The car stayed in that condition for the next six years but come 2012, Boily was ready for a major overhaul. Like so many stories, his initial inclination was to get it repainted and freshened up, nothing crazy. While walking around one of the local car shows in Montreal, he spotted a stellar ’69 Camaro from a shop in Quebec named Showtime Muscle Cars. He then met Showtime’s owner Roger Ouellet.

1971 Chevy El Camino Blessed Persistence Eric BoilyAs the two got to tire kickin’, Ouellet walked over to check out Boily’s El Camino. Obviously, he and Ouellet hit it off! About nine hours later, Eric and Majorie arrived at Showtime Muscle Cars’ doorstep to drop off the El Camino. The hook was set deep! What started as a couple of upgrades and a paint job ended up as a three-year complete overhaul into a show-stopping custom!

Ouellet and his team completely reworked the exterior sheet metal then shaved and tucked the bumpers, fully welded and smoothed the underside of the hood, added custom inner fenders, smoothed the firewall and tailgate, removed and smoothed the side body moldings, and shaved the frame for a custom wood bed floor.

They also relocated the gas filler as well as the backup lights, added custom taillight bezels, gas filler neck, cowl vent grill and more. Marc-Andre O’Donnell from SS Bodyshop then painted the ride with DuPont Standox Daytona grey pearl and finished it in DuPont clear.

1971 Chevrolet El Camino Blessed Persistence Eric Boily

The original frame was completely smoothed and painted then outfitted with Ridetech front and rear Air Ride suspension, a Flaming River rack and pinion steering setup, a 12-bolt 3.55 rearend and Wilwood 14-inch 6-piston front and rear disc brakes. The Forgeline 18×7-inch and 19×9-inch wheels are wrapped in Pirelli Rosso tires.

Under the hood is impressive as well as beautiful! A 540c.i. Nelson Racing Engine using a Dart Big M block equipped with Brodex heads and Alien fuel injection makes some serious power! An Electromotive High Tech GT ignition setup sparks the fuel while 2-1/8-inch Headman headers let the monster motor breathe through 3-inch custom Showtime Muscle Car exhaust system.

Everything is either powder coated or anodized black. There’s barely a single hose or wire visible – it’s an immaculate engine compartment! A 4LBOE TCI Torque 300 transmission and TCI fly­wheel deliver the power to the rear tires.

1971 Chevrolet El Camino Blessed Persistence Eric Boily

Although the cabin isn’t very big in an 1971 Chevrolet El Camino, there’s a lot going on inside Boily’s ’71. A handmade, custom dash is fitted with one-off Autometer gauges. A Fesler-built steering wheel on an ididit col­umn and an original GM horseshoe shifter allow Eric complete control of his ride.

Custom leather Recaro seats with modified headrests keep the driver and passenger comfortable while an impressive Pioneer Car Play sound system blasts the tunes. Boot Hill Automotive in Ontario, Canada handled the upholstery job inside the Blessed ride.

Blessed is defined as “bringing great happiness or good fortune”. Persistence is defined as “the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult.” After ten years, countless hours, a few bumps in the road and many dollars spent, Eric’s true passion for his 1971 Chevrolet EL Camino is what carried the relationship. Now with a contemporary, show-slopping Pro-Touring machine in the garage, he and Majorie will continue their journey, cruising and hitting the local east­ern Canada car shows. Only now with a lot more style!

[smartslider3 slider=9]

Body: 1971 Chevy El Camino
Mods: Reworked sheet metal, shaved/tucked bumpers, custom inner fenders, smooth underside of hood, firewall, and tailgate, body moldings removed, shaved frame for custom wood bed floor. Relocated gas filler and backup lights. Custom taillight bezels, cowl vent grill, and more were added to finished project.
Color: DuPont Standox Daytona gray pearl paint laid by SS Bodyshop
Chassis: Stock chassis smoothed and painted with Ridetech Air Ride front and rear suspen­sion. Flaming River rock & pinion, Wilwood disc brakes, 12-bolt 3.55 rear end.
Power: Nelson Racing Engines Dart Big M block, Brodex heads, billet valve covers, Alien fuel injected intake, Electromotive High Tech GT ignition, Headman headers and custom exhaust.
Wheels/Tires: Forgeline 18×7-inch front and 19×9-inch rear wheels with Pirelli Rossa 235/50R18 front and 275/45R19 rear tires
Interior: Recaro custom seats, hand built custom dash, one-off Autometer gauges, Fesler steering wheel, ididit column, Pioneer audio, leather interior by Boot Hill Automotive.

Chris Graves has been involved in drag racing photography and journalism since the late 1990's and started shooting before he had a drivers license. Graves spent seven years crewing on Top Fuel Dragsters and Funny Cars for Mitch King, Tony Pedregon and Dale Creasy Jr. After graduating from the Univ. of North Texas in 2006, Graves went full-time as a freelance photographer with wife Tera and the couple travels the country covering all forms of drag racing under his label Max Cackle Photography. Graves, track photographer at North Star Dragway in Texas, also serves as president and founder of the Southwest Heritage Racing Association and takes a few weekends off each season to pilot his blown front engine dragster in the SHRA and NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Eliminator 1 category.