Though strictly a private enterprise, the Chevrolet El Morocco inevitably drew the attention of Chevrolet Motor Division. And therein lies a tale.
In early September 1956, Motor Trend's Detroit editor attended Chevy's 1957-model press preview in the Motor City. There, a handful of magazine types were all ears as a local newspaper reporter related an incident concerning the El Morocco.
Also listening in, unbeknownst to the writers, was the much-liked Edward N. Cole, then Chevy general manager and a future GM president.
The local reporter related an anecdote he'd heard from a neighbor: a policeman the neighbor know had "nailed" a speeder on Detroit's John Lodge Freeway a few days before.
In issuing the ticket (for "about twice the legal speed"), the officer had written "Chevrolet, customized" in the appropriate blank. Imagine his surprise to see "El Morocco" on the vehicle registration "when anyone," said the reporter, "should know a Chevrolet, even if it is a customized '56."
"What's this you're saying?"
The reporter turned slightly and there was Cole, the preview's host. "D'you mean that a Chevrolet was registered under another name?" he asked in a low voice.
"That's what my neighbor told me the cop said," replied the reporter. "I think I need some refreshment."
"So do I," said Cole.
Shortly after this event, when the Motor Trend editor visited Allender's shop, in January 1957, his operation seemed to be winding down. Perhaps Chevrolet had applied some pressure since that press show.
In any case, only a few more El Moroccos, probably no more than 16 or so, were completed before production ended in mid-1957. Again, the modifications were beautifully executed and centered mainly on the rear, but they were now done in metal on the mid-range two- and four-door hardtops as well as the top-line Bel Air convertible. While at least one of the latter was built, most of the 1957s were four-door jobs.
The El Morocco was an interesting idea, but it was not to last. The next page details the demise of the El Morocco.