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1957 Chevrolet Handyman Wagon


Reader P. Trout sent in this 1957 Chevrolet 210 Handyman, which the seller claims is original. While there are some obvious changes, such as the ride height and wheels, it’s hard to tell what else might have been changed. The seller is asking $12,500 for this wagon and it can be found here on Craigslist.


The 210 Handyman looks similar to the Nomad, but wasn’t as well appointed. There were around 18k of these built in ’57, but few survived the Nomad craze. Many have been parted out or turned into Nomad clones, so to find a survivor Handyman is rather rare.


This 283 cui V8 appears to be a base model, with a two-barrel carburetor and a power rating of 185 horsepower. The seller claims that everything works and runs as it should. Looking at the firewall and door jams, it is easy to tell that the current paint job isn’t the original, as the seller claims it is.


While this two door wagon might not be the highly coveted Nomad, the fact that it isn’t, actually makes it more interesting and unique to me. I don’t believe the seller’s claims of originality, but at this price all that really matter is that it runs and drives. Sure, we would all rather have a real deal Nomad, but could you be happy with this mid-level wagon? Special thanks to P. Trout for the tip.



    Guess it was a low rider at some point? Are those A78/13’s on there? I think it is a fair price especially if it is as rust free as the seller says. But… I think just about everything I see on here is a fair price. For a running driving rare car, compare it to a new Honda, while not as comfy or economical, still makes up for it in class and fun.

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  2. David G

    Yup, i could be happy with this since am into obscurity such as the low-line 2-dr wagons have become. First step would be to undo the bogarts applied to this and install some stock-ish painted wheels and poverty caps more befitting its er, more-functional original character. Am not typically interested in tri-5 Chevs but this one sort of does it for me. Not at that price tho, i’d need to get this thing for much closer to 6 or 7k to jump the line from FoMoCo where i spend most of my time…

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  3. Rick

    Ok. I find this way over priced. Guess it’s just me, but then there are only we 3. My dad had one just like this when I was young, same original reddish orange color too. I must confess, I don’t know what “undo the bogarts” means. This is the 50’s shooting brake!

    I’ve been doing some research on this model. From the pages I saw, the 210 did not have an exterior color combo in red (would be matador red) with the color of this interior. I wonder if there’s truly more than meets the eye here.

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    • David G

      Sorry for my stretched vernacular there, always been my (bad?) habit of calling cheezy-ish mods believed to be necessary by others ‘bogarts’, a stretch of what Humphrey Bogart used to do to a cigarette, i think was the origin…

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      • Richard V

        “Don’t Bogart that joint, my friend…”

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      • Rick

        Now,”Don’t bogart that joint my friend”….that I understand. :)

        To all of you from me and on behalf of all military, passed on, retired and active, as a Retired MSgt USAF, I wish a happy and healthy memorial day to all of you, regardless of whether you served or not.

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      • David G

        You got it, i forgot about that one!! Can’t remember who sang that (70s?) but it ended with “…..pass it over to me.”

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      • R Van Hoose

        OK, I realize we’re getting off topic here but, well, I just can’t help “dating” myself! Most of you can likely relate.


        That’s it, all done.

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  4. ME

    1) Handymans weren’t made into Nomads – different body and glass. The only interchangable body panels are the front clip (common to all ’57 chevys) and part of the rear quarter panels.

    2) This is not the base V8, has the 4bbl carb air cleaner so looks like the optional 220 hp engine

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  5. jim

    very interesting, but not near enough pictures. also the photos that are posted do not match the seller words. anyone interested would need to do a detailed PI. i hope it is worth restoring to a daily driver but do not know how many $ it would take. great find

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  6. Chris Member

    Didn’t know they made 12″ 5 lug wheels…Man, those are some small wheels….

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  7. Karl

    This would be a great candidate for a reasonably priced restoration if you can do the work yourself and resist the urge to “improve” it, but instead just bring it back up to its correct ride height, good repaint, etc. SImple, easy-to-work-on technology, nonexotic parts that are readily available, sweet.
    It would even be tempting as a practical daily driver, but I do have a cautionary tale to tell. In the late ’50s my father had a one-man body shop and would buy repairable wrecks, fix them, then drive them while fixing the next wreck. He was selling a ’58 Fairlane and had just finished a ’57 Bel Air coupe, white with a 283/auto, sharp car. A fellow came out to look at the Fairlane, saw the Bel Air, and asked, “Hey, is that one for sale?”

    “No, that’s mine,” replied my father. The guy passed on the Fairlane. That weekend, my parents drove out to see my grandmother, and the Bel Air needed a fill-up going and again coming back. This was so unusual that my father calculated the Bel Air’s mileage–it was getting six, yes six, miles to the gallon.

    My father still had the guy’s phone number. “Hey, still interested in that Bel Air?”

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  8. geomechs geomechs Member

    I agree that it would be a good restoration project. I also agree that the ‘improvements’ need to be undone in the process. To me, a car like that has got to have original steel wheels and hubcaps; it’s missing something without. As far as the price goes, I agree that it’s on the high side. But, if the engine and the rest of the powertrain are fresh, then that has to account for something. You’d be spending it anyways. It’s something that you’d have to look at before buying.

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  9. Charlie

    This doesn’t look to be to bad of a deal. The body is interesting. I could see myself making a few mods as a way of getting back at all the GM lovers that like to booger up a FoMoCo or MOPAR with a POS Chevy engine and drive train. Pull the 283 and drop in a crated MOPAR 360 w/727 auto followed by a 8 3/4 with 3.55 gears.

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  10. rancho bella

    Heavy barge like handling……….as a kid, this is what people drove. When I get behind the wheel of one of these now it’s like driving an island………………

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  11. Sunbeamdon

    Charlie, you rascal – this WONDERFUL (??) car deserves a 502 + EFI w/ appropraite six speed. Make it a stop-light sleeper. Don’t waste time on the body – just shoot it brick red and clean-up the interior.

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  12. ted

    Was these a very popular automobile in thier time? I cant recall ever seeing one but have seen the panel model before.

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  13. Andacar

    Well, as David G says, this is the closest thing to tempting I have seen in a 55-57 Chevy. Those cheesy ass lowrider wheels would have to come right off of course, and the suspension would need to be rebuilt. There are a million cars out here in Albuquerque with this sort of thing, and from what I hear the mods destroy front suspensions. Still, it would be fun to fix up and drive. I can see using it to pull a little trailer to car shows.

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  14. ConservativesDefeated

    Folks lets get a grip. Those of us old enough to have driven these when they were 250.00 a pop know this as a stripper. This was the bottom of the line. No one ,once upon a time ,wanted to be caught in grandpas station wagon. This is to a Nomad as a plain woman is to a Maxim model..

    Not to mention that the firewall looks to have been painted…though from the pix the exterior color looks original. That looks to be primer poking through the fender tops. Kind of strange. Add to that the off red rust colored rear deck and back of the rear seat………….maybe its really really dusty.

    Cant tell whats under the air cleaner but thats wrong……why would there be a 4 barrel in a 210?

    In any event, with gas at 4.00 a gallon is it any wonder that even a stripper wagon like this completely in need of restoration is posted at $12,500.00?

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  15. Jim Mosley

    It seems to me the original paint was the copper metallic GM had in the tri-five years and was repainted a white, or imperial ivory. The Handyman is on the same chassis and body style as the Sedan Delivery which I had many years ago. Of course the interior was about the only difference. Gas mileage for the 283 back in the day, was only 18 to 20 MPG for a vehicle this size. That wasn’t too bad because the price of gas was only around .25 cents a gallon here in Ohio.

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  16. OLDSTUFF1941

    The 55-57 Handyman Wagons were usually used as utility wagons for deliveries by supermarkets, hardware stores who wanted more visibility than the Panel Deliveries… Some were bought by families who just wanted a two door car…I owned one of these for 22 years, and had replaced the 283 with a 327, added Corvette ralley wheels and some nice beefy tires… the stock suspension wasn’t so bad with a few easy improvements like sway bars and poly bushings and some good heavy duty shocks… Mine was the same color as the original colors on this car… They were India Ivory on the top, and Aztec Gold on the bottom… the interior was also the Aztec Gold…

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  17. OLDSTUFF1941

    Jim Mosley is right, this car WAS painted, at least on the bottom… it WAS Aztec Gold on the bottom at one time, looking at the craigslist photos, you can see the tailgate sides and the door jambs are still Gold…plus, much of the original color is showing through in the worn areas, I don’t think that is primer…Chevrolet did not paint their door jambs a different color than the exterior of the car from the factory. As far as the breather, it’s original, as probably is the 4 barrel… GM did install those on 210 cars…my original 283 engine had one…with the 2 spd Powerglide.

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  18. Rick

    Where you guys are saying you see Aztec Gold…I have to say, I just do not see that color at all. I see an orangish red, same color as my dad’s car of the same model and year.

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  19. Rick

    I’m scratching my head on this one. He says it’s never been painted, but it’s pretty darn clear that white is not the original color. You can see another color on the door jams, on the tailgate where the white is worn off up near the window, inside the engine compartment, the frame around the tailgate, and the top of the right front fender has a huge area where the white has come off to reveal the original color. The question is, what color is it? I see an orangey red. My research indicates Aztec Gold was not a 1957 color, but Sierra Gold was.

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  20. Rick

    I wish I could get all my comments together in one post. Sierra Gold would explain the orangey red I see. In looking, I found a number of photos of 57 chevy in this color, and it has a reddish overtone which would explain what I’m seeing. Color degradation over time would too..

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  21. Rick

    Ok…getting closer. I just spoke to the guy. He says the roof is the original color..an off white. However, he says under the white on the body is a coppery reddish metallic. That my friends is Sierra Gold, a gorgeous color on these cars. That explains why I keep seeing that “orange” in the color. Chevy didn’t use dark colored primers with a white top coat. Just didn’t happen. The fellow is going to get the information off the cowl data plate for me. He says this is a 4 (four) barrel carb, not a two barrel. He also says that the right (passenger) door has been replaced. He says the car was not supposed to have been listed, but his daughter did by mistake, but he’s committed to selling it. He said he was going to resto-mod the car with a crate 6.2l Chevy engine, six speed, and big discs on all corners. If and when I get more information from him I will post it.

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    • OLDSTUFF1941

      Thanks for the ‘links’ Rick….

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  22. OLDSTUFF1941

    RICK !!! You are right…. over the years I’ve had a few of these cars and have definitely had trouble remembering the correct names for all those colors… Sierra Gold … IS the correct name for the Lower color of that car…and If I’m not mistaken, (again)…LOL … Adobe Beige is the correct color name for the “off White” top as the guy described it….My 210 – 2dr wagon was the same colors,…I added the Stainless ‘ Bel air’ trim on the sides, which in my opinion really helped the look of the kinda plain looking wagon’s original painted white, with just the ‘Chevrolet’ script in the trim, sides … Thanks for keeping me on my toes…

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  23. OLDSTUFF1941

    Sometimes GM did use other years colors….I had a 55 that was painted ‘India Ivory’ over ‘Dusk rose’ ( sort of a dark metallic maroonish color) those were supposedly new for 56 only colors… found out that GM painted a few 55’s those colors as a market test… and that the ones painted those colors were the 55’s built in the very last month of production before tooling down for the 56 model…So mine was one of the last few 55’s built… wish I still had it… lol …

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  24. Richard L Gugenberger

    In 57 my uncle Al had one of these , green , 6cyl 3 speed he called it the gutless wonder , traded it for a 58 wagon with 348 auto blue n white , never heard him call that one gutless !!!

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  25. MadHungarian

    When I was born my parents had one of these, in the iconic white over light turquoise blue. Although a 210 it had dual mirrors and other trim upgrades that made it look sharp. This body style was not offered as a Bel Air, so the Bel Air rear fender trim is an add-on.

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  26. 57 Handyman

    I have one of these sitting in my garage. It will be my next restoration project. I found my car in Sacramento, CA back in 1972 and paid $200. It was basically stock and had a 283 with a PG trans. Back then, I replaced the motor with a 327 and 4-speed; it now sits with a stock ’70 350 and TH400. It has not run in over 30 years. My future plans call for a resto-mod with a balanced 355 with original Rochester fuel injection or dual-quads and a TH400 or 700R4 trans.

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