The Chevrolet El Morocco is among the rarest Chevrolet’s ever built, with only ten created in 1956 and 16 in 1957. They were built in a few different body styles including two and four-door hardtops, and convertibles with some created from aluminum and others from steel.
It was the first time an outside contractor had designed and built a customized Chevrolet model which was later sold as a new car with a full factory warranty.
R. Allender and Company, founded by Canadian Reuben Allender, had built a business in the surplus textile industry. The relationship with Chevrolet began with Allender, a wealthy businessman who had a dream of building his own car. He was a long-time buyer of Cadillac’s with the ambition to build a smaller, lighter car that would be styled in the fashion of a Cadillac.
The first cars were created in 1956 on Chevrolet platforms and designed to resemble the 1955 and 1956 Cadillac Eldorado. The name ‘El Morocco’ was from a popular Manhattan nightclub and had similarities to the name ‘El Dorado’.
The 1956 El Moroco’s featured body panels made of fiberglass. A host of trim parts and designs were borrowed from Willys, Dodge, and Kaiser-Frazer to complete the package. The result was well received and given a base price of around $3250.
Cadillac introduced their Eldorado Brougham, not in spite or in competition with the El Morocco, but Allender felt the need to create a new El Morocco to emulate the new Brougham. Problems with the fiberglass body production for the 1956 cars led to the use of steel for the 1957 models. This required comprehensive metalwork changes, including removing and filling the 1957’s rocket hood spears with steel, and welding on the steel rear tail-fin extensions.
The back of the car featured a special bumper with integral exhaust ports and 1954 Mercury styled chromed ‘Dagmars’. It was given a tail and a ribbed rear license plate surround and twin rear taillights. The font featured an Eldorado-style honeycomb grille and a new front bumper with relocated turn signals. The sides were given new chromed lower rear quarter panels and side moldings complete with integrated air scoops.
The taillight lenses and fins in the rear were borrowed from the 1956 Plymouth. It was complemented with Brougham-style rear edge moldings. The package was completed with El Morocco badging and a set of custom wheel covers.