265 Power Pack V8: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad

The 1955-57 Chevrolets, later dubbed the “Tri-Fives”, were hugely successful cars, selling more than 4.5 million units. All were big movers except for the new “sport wagon” called the Nomad. Part of the Bel Air series, the Nomad was derived from a 1954 Corvette-based concept car that had a unique back section compared to other station wagons of the day. This 1955 example looks to be as original as they come, and the word “restored” is used nowhere in the seller’s description. Equipped with the Power Pack V8 (more on that later), this Nomad is in Boxford, Massachusetts, and is available here on eBay where brisk bidding is already up to $65,000.

While the Nomad would later become popular with the surfboard set, these wagons were quite different than what was offered in two-door form in the 150/210 Chevrolets. The front clip and trim were all Bel Air (in fact, Bel Air would be part of the name), but from the windshield back everything else was new, included the roof and slanted tailgate. To cover the tooling costs, a similar wagon was peddled by Pontiac called the Custom Safari. Across all three model years, Nomad production would only equal 22,375 units while the Safari managed just 10,988 copies. They weren’t considered a financial success by GM brass, so these special wagons were gone in 1958, although both names would resurface later on more conventional wagons.

While the seller’s first-year Nomad is a stunning example, what helps separate it is the 265 cubic inch V8 which was standard in the car. In basic 2-barrel carburetor fashion, the engine produced 162 hp. But when the Power Pack option was added, like on the seller’s wagon, the output jumps to 180. That’s because a 4-barrel carburetor was used along with a few other peaks and tweaks. There was even a high compression “Super Power Pack” available at 195 hp, but neither of these packs seems to get mentioned very often now.

The seller’s Nomad originated in Oakland, California and we’re told it’s been babied and garage kept all its life. The paint and all the chrome trim are beautiful and there is no mention of any resprays or replacements. Zero dents, dings, or rust on the car’s straight body panels. If you peek at the undercarriage, you’re likely to see some of the original red oxide that was used by the factory. The interior is equally nice, and the seller estimates that 90% of it is original, too.

When this car left the factory 66 years ago, it was very well equipped. Besides the Power Pack, it also came with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic, power steering and brakes, power seats and windows, and tinted glass. At 47,000 miles, it rolls on Coker bias-ply radial wide whitewall tires with wire wheel covers that I don’t recognize, but the Chevy Bowtie is present. This looks like a wagon you could drive anywhere, with or without the surfboard.


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  1. Robert White

    71 bids and five hours to go still and it’s at $65k.


    Like 6
    • gaspumpchas

      Yea Robert and i’d say that most of those bids are suspect. Figured a beauty like this would go upwards of 100 large. Stunning Nomad! Good luck and happy motoring.

      Like 4
      • Steve R

        The highest price any Nomad 1955 has sold for on eBay over the last 90 days is $56,100. Those at a higher price, just sit, even though most have been listed several times. Same goes for 56 and 57 Nomads too, no 56’s and only on 57 sold for more than $50,000, it was a highly modified show car.

        Steve R

        Like 4
  2. Nomader55

    wheel covers look to be original 55 wire covers

    Like 5
    • chuck dickinson

      Tho’ they’re not often seen. They really don’t look that great on this car due to the yellow being too light as the cover’s backdrop. While I believe it’s correct to have body colored wheels with the wire covers, black would look better IMHO. Luckily, the 56 wire cover design was pulled off much better than the 55.

      Like 1
  3. JoeNYWF64

    I would imagine power seat, power windows, & passenger door mirror are all rare as can be in any ’57 chevy, let alone a Nomad.

    Like 1
    • chuck dickinson

      The door mirrors have been reproduced for years. It’s entirely possible that might have been a later addition.

      Like 1
  4. JoeNYWF64

    Oops i meant ’55 & ’56 as well.

    Like 1
    • Joe Sewell

      Hoping a ’55 Nomad turns up with factory a/c (first year). Talk about ‘rare’….

      Like 3
  5. Mikefromthehammer

    Sold for $65,200.00.

    Like 4
  6. Joe Sewell

    Love the color – interesting wheel covers. Great looking, well optioned car over all. Hoping the new owner will enjoy the car instead of trying to flip it….

    Like 3
    • Mikefromthehammer

      I just hope they manage to keep the wheels side down instead of “flip(ping) it”. 🤣🤣🤣

  7. Big Art

    Sure wish they had a picture of that 265 V8 A lot of people don’t really know those motors nor can they tell the difference…

    Like 3
  8. Lowell Peterson

    Awesome and great buy at that price too! Man! I would love to have that car!!

    Like 2

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