• Jess Costa

El Camino and the 1980s Collector

Henry Pskowski has a 1980 el Camino and he welcomes everyone on ArtCube Market with “Hello, yes this is my 1980 el Camino it has 350 engine, it’s loud, and it goes fast. Is it a truck or a car? Nobody knows.” The el Camino is more of a pony car — it’s not quite a muscle car. It’s a mass-produced light vehicle as a small pick up truck and then basically in the 90s it was coming up on the used market commonly. Because it’s an American vehicle, there’s a lot of customization capabilities and they were former project cars.

Henry bought his el Camino from a retired police officer on Craigslist. The officer would tool around with the car with his buddies on the weekends. They put a truck engine/crate engine in it that’s commonly used for “hot-rodding” that can easily be dropped in old American vehicles.

Henry shared Craigslist and eBay are “one of these things in life in which I love — I buy everything from eBay ” and it’s the best way to find 80s cars. Calling Henry a car collector or enthusiast doesn’t describe the deep love he has for cars. “I kind of have a proclivity for collecting — mostly for guitars is where I first started and classic guitar to car progression — they go hand and hand.” Playing the guitar really loud is like driving really loud and you say, “yeah turn it up.” These old block Chevys — “the way they feel and the noises they make, the smells they make — it’s a car.”

He agreed his sister’s Prius could probably outrun the el Camino in a drag race, but it doesn’t have that feeling. It’s like analog vs. digital but even more visceral since it’s integrated into your day to day.

His car is surprisingly useful because, on a Tide art gig, they bought shelves from Lowes that they weren’t able to return so he disassembled them, threw them in the back of his car, and brought them to a community garden on Shaffer Street in Bushwick “I try to redirect as much as possible.”

He tends to cycle through cars, he bought a 1983 Mercedes station wagon last October then he got rid of it after two weeks for another 80s car. 1971–1972 was the peak of the powerful muscle cars because after that point the US government put in environmental output regulations, which so they cut down on the power of vehicles. The 80s cars are in the era of collectivism that’s more affordable to me. “I’ve had Volvos and Mercedez… but I grew up with pick up trucks and there’s a lot of Americano — this draw to it.” He was choosing between a Monte Carlo or this el Camino and the body of his el Camino was really clean and the price was right.

He’s noticed over the years that there’s a story with older cars that you see — that things fluctuate in value since the owner is aging and they need to pass on the car, whether it’s because of a bad back or they’re “too old” for a car like that.

“As an art person, my two biggest interests are cars and effects — it may be something that an 8-year old says, but the A Team’s conversation van or the Scooby Doo mystery van — it’s so funny to think of how [these cars] are a centerpiece in someone’s life.” And the teenager angle, that’s where you’re in charge, it’s your first apartment. It’s the first place that’s truly yours — and can be for a lot of firsts. These cars are an art piece and they are a piece of history, as seen in Dazed and Confused or American Graffiti, which pay such homage to the muscle car. Plus he can drive around, have fun with them and use them onset or for pickups. But don’t take my word for it — rent the infamous el Camino on ArtCube Market.

“I cannot stress enough how much ArtCube has been uplifting in my life in more ways than one. Artcube has taken me in very serious places and how I feel like I’m in a community.” — Henry Pskowski Join the ever growing and compassionate Art Department network, ArtCube Nation.

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