The question of the ages: Is an El Camino a car or a truck? Although nasty slurs - such as, "It's just another chopped-up Chevelle"- are commonplace in reference to this vehicle, Eddie Stokes would disagree. His super-sleek '86 Chevy El Camino is no mere wannabe truck - it's the real deal. The Covina, California-based owner of Detroit Auto Body was offered this fine ride in 1997 by his aunt and uncle. However, the Elco, then used as a work truck, looked different back then - a lot different. Soon enough, however, propelled by Eddie's desire to push himself to the limit and promote his shop, the dust bucket was transformed into the PPG Magic Blue-painted eye candy you see today.

To begin its metamorphoses from not to hot, the Chevy's exterior was shaved clean, including the door handles, keyholes, bedrails, emblems, rear license plate, and moldings, and the front bumper was cut down 3 inches on each side to mount flush with the fenders. The bolt-on accessories include a billet shift arm and hazard knob, and a Billet Specialties wheel, horn, and hub. Some of the tricker exterior features include the Caddy taillights, the aforementioned bedrails, and the sloped bed, which houses three 12-inch subs and is covered in Line-X bedliner. The El Camino glides atop Jesse James 18-inchers enveloped in Falken FK 451 225/35R18s.

Glendora, California-based Audio Innovations installed the Air Ride suspension, which includes a Thomas 100 percent duty cycle compressor that fills the two 3-gallon tanks fueling eight 1/2-inch Parker valves. The front suspension includes EAI airbags and 2-inch Belltech spindles, while the rear factory four-link contains the same EAI 'bags mounted to the axle. As for the engine, the 5.7L 350 tuned port injection pumps out 230 hp at 5,000 rpm and includes a Volant cold-air intake and Thorley headers, with the air exiting through a Spintech 2-1/2-inch exhaust. The tranny comes courtesy of an '88 Chevy Iroc.

As painful as it is to look away from the exterior, the inside deserves some recognition, too. Audio Innovations installed the modified dash, custom console, custom door panels, and custom door pads, while Eddie's shop added Escape bucket seats. Quality Upholstery in Irwindale stitched the Elco's insides with blue tweed.

Audio Innovations again came to the aid of Eddie's Chevy by installing a Clarion head unit, with sounds pumping through Infinity full-range speakers installed in custom door pods aided by Crossfire 3-1/2-inch separates. US Acoustic USX amplifiers and more Crossfire components installed in custom kick pods complete the 1,400-watt system. The passengers are visually stimulated by a Clarion flip screen with stand-alone DVD and DTS 5.1

Working two jobs - at In-N-Out and Detroit Auto Body - is a lot for any 20-year-old to juggle, but throw in an intense El Camino buildup and you've created organized chaos. Due to the cost incurred and the work hours accrued from the buildup, Eddie has dubbed his truck - yes, we said truck - the "Money Pit." However, we'd prefer to dub it, "The coolest Elco - bar none."