1957 Chevrolet Drag Wagon

bel-air-barn-find

This 1957 Chevy wagon was recently pulled out of a garage in Massachusetts and boy does it have a past. Steve Ames may be best known today for his business, Ames Performance Engineering, but before Steve started selling Pontiac parts, he was drag racing Chevys. He built this one in 1968 and it went on to light up the tree through the early seventies. There is rust and the engine is long gone, but the car’s past makes it an interesting prospect. Find it here on eBay where bidding is just over $2,000.

1957-drag-wagon

We couldn’t dig up any period photos of this drag wagon, but we bet they are out there. Hemmings did a nice writeup on Steve about his parts business and there is a photo of a wagon and we can’t help but wonder if it is the same one. APE is still around, so you could just call Steve up and ask. There is some rust here and there, but we would want to keep the exterior as original as possible on this one. After doing a little research you could build a period correct V8 and have some fun at the local drag strip.

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Comments

  1. KE100

    It needs cragars on the back instead of those camaro/trans am wheels.

  2. P Trout

    I love it, probably more for the history, than the actual metal.

    It would be great if there were a way to save all that original paint,
    but I fear that in order to kill the tin worm, it is going to have to go back to bare metal.
    Needs to be documented well before the resto.
    Hey Jesse, have you emailed the Ames website about it?
    I bet anything Mr Ames would like to have it back.

  3. Dolphin Member

    I remember seeing a few full size wagons doing well on New England drag strips back decades ago and wondering why someone would race a family grocery-getter instead of a nice good looking coupe. Then I finally figured it out. Power wasn’t the problem, but putting it down on the strip was.

    The solution: more (legal) weight over the rear wheels. My guess is that’s what was going on with this drag wagon.

    • Rolly Doucet

      Station wagons were popular for two reasons, weight on the rear wheels for better traction, and because they weighed slightly more than their sedan counterparts, they raced in a lower class, thereby having a better advantage in class eliminations.

  4. erikj

    There used to be a early 60s Pontiac wagon that I would walk past on the way to school. It was called “The Worm” I always wondered why someone would race a wagon. Its the weight thing. That wagon was well known on the west coast. Ran a lot at the old Seattle Intl. Raceway

  5. 88R107

    There is a 57 Chevy 4 door wagon sitting under a carport not far from the house. That Iris color with Cragar SS’s on it.Looks like it might have been on the drag strip at one time in its life.
    There is a lot to like with this one, especially the history behind it,

  6. geomechs geomechs Member

    I used to see a lot of these back in the 60s. They got so plentiful that they were bordering on the mundane. Interesting how the ranks have thinned out.

  7. Hoby

    Ultimate grocery getter

  8. rancho bella

    Steve Magnante (Hot Rod Mag, drag racing expert, writer) lives in that area, I wonder if he knew about this one…….Steve……..are you reading this?

    Like 1
  9. Lemble

    This thing needs a Hemi , after you fix all the rust.

    Like 1
  10. KE100

    I agree that this needs a hemi. There’s even already a whole in the hood for a blower.

    Like 1
  11. paul

    This doesn’t do a thing for me but I know to most people THIS IS IT. I see so many 57 Chevy’s at shows, that to me it’s same, same.

  12. hhaleblian

    Beach Boys…Burn up that quarter mile! I need this, well, no I don’t, yes I do, no I don’t. Somebody saaaave me!

  13. Mark E

    For God’s sake, do NOT put a hemi in it!!
    A nice period 454 rat engine would be PERFECT!!

    The only ’57 wagon I see in the links is a white 4-dr wagon, no Nomad of any color…

    • Concerned Onlooker

      Just for the record, a “Rat” motor is specifically a 427, not just a name for anything big.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I have to disagree with you, C-O. The first time I heard the term, RAT MOTOR, was in 1965 and it was in reference to a 396 in a Chevelle. Since then I’ve heard RAT MOTOR referred to any big block Chev engine, excluding the latest crate engines.

      • joel ewing

        FWIW, I’m 60 and have been going to drag races since the mid-1960’s….when they used to start the pair of cars down the track with a human waving a flag at the starting line, instead of the Christmas Tree of today. I have always known that a Chevy “Rat” motor was simply a big-block Chevy…NOT specifically a 427. By this I mean to include the 396, 427 and 454 cubic inch sizes. I may be wrong, but if I am…then 90% of the rest of the Chevy fans in this country are too.

    • Steve

      The car featured here is not a Nomad. It is a two door wagon. Among other details, the “B” pillar post i straight on this car, where as a Nomad “B” pillar is curved. I cannot see anyone spending the coin to return a 2 dr wagon to stock. Depending on if it was a 150 or 210, 14,000 or 17,000 or so were made in 57. A Nomad, possibly would warrant restoring, with around 6,000 produced in 57.

      http://57rustbucket.com/specs.htm

  14. Barzini

    I love these finds and marvel that they are still out there. Hope this one lands in the hands of someone who will preserve it.

  15. C Bryant

    I say drop a six in it,put a fake blower on it and scare the hell out of them on the way to the grocery store.

  16. Duffy

    No question about it, this one needs a complete restoration. The question is to restore it to original or rod it. Frankly I’d go for original, but the cost of doing that will be far more than it will be worth when it’s done. Let the buyer decide.

  17. bog

    I agree with C-O. Though I’m not a strictly bow-tie guy, the first time I heard of “rat motor” was in reference to the “porcupine” head 427 developed for NASCAR (and drag racing) by Chevy. This engine’s offspring became the 396, 427 and 454 (and variants, aluminum and otherwise).

  18. Polarisky

    Looking at the photo of the wagon in the Hemming’s article makes me think this is not the same, as this one still has the body side chrome mouldings while the wagon in the article photo is a 4 door.

  19. braktrcr

    The only thing that should be under that hood would be Hilborn Injected

  20. David j Piskorski

    love barn finds and the history that goes with it.

  21. starsailing

    My oldest brother had a mint 2dr black and white wagon…327 3 spd on floor….Went for summer camp Army reserves…said toss on these big tires off a caddy on back….Now he had a junk gear ratio rear end in it…I said no…You need better gears for those big things..You will blow that rear end right away. He was married with kid…so I did what he said…..Put them on…few blocks away….I put the tach about to about 4 grand and dumped the clutch…Bang goes the rear gears…and transmission….I was right…those gears would blow right away!Gave my 58 to his wife to drive…gave him new rear gears…3:70 …and new trans………I am such a good brother…Year later…Car sold to my best friend…I borrowed my 66 442 to my other brother…and was driving his 62 Roman red Bel Air Bubble top..327 4speed…Along side of me comes my friend with the 57 chev wagon….Light turns green…I twist off rear housing bracket to whole rear gear housing…twist the driveshaft in two pieces…and Johnny tows me to Smith and Nielson with the 57 wagon to drop off the 62 for repair….New driveshaft and U joints and hanger bearing and welded bracket to frame and new bushings …I am such a good brother. Don’t like your trans and rear end?..Just let me drive it..guaranteed to be fixed…

  22. Bob

    Anybody know what this car sold for? I’m taking a class with Steve Ames’ wife and showed her a photo of this car. It was from when they were in Maine.

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