The 1987 Chevrolet El Camino is a two-door coupe utility vehicle powered by a 4.3-liter V-6 engine producing 145 horsepower in its base trim. An optional small-block V-8 producing 169 peak horsepower was also available. All El Caminos were rear-wheel-drive vehicles from the model's inception in 1959 until production was discontinued in 1987. The most distinctive feature of the El Camino is its pickup-like cargo bed, which led to these vehicles being titled trucks despite their passenger car chassis.
The fifth-generation Chevrolet El Camino was produced from 1978 until 1987 using the General Motors G-body platform and a relatively underpowered V6 and V8 engine compared to the earlier Chevrolet Chevelle-based generations of the El Camino, largely due to the effects of the oil crises of the 1970s. Second- and third-generation El Caminos in particular boasted powerful V-8 engines producing up to 375 horsepower and were considered legitimate muscle cars in their era.
While a high-efficiency diesel engine producing 105 horsepower was an option for some model years of the fifth-generation El Camino, it was relatively unpopular due to reliability issues. Fifth-generation El Caminos were fitted with a three-speed manual transmission as standard, but most buyers opted for the vehicle's optional three-speed automatic transmission.