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Black Plate Wagon: 1957 Chevy 210 Handyman

The Chevy 210 “Handyman” wagon is one of the few cases of truth in advertising. While the untrained eye may see no major differences between the Nomad and the Handyman, the latter is a comparatively bare-bones vehicle, intended for use by light-duty contractors. The differences are largely cosmetic, and this 210 Handyman is said to be a solid example for restoration. Find it here on eBay with bidding approaching $5K and the reserve unmet.

The seller claims this is a car that won’t nickel and dime you, due to the fact that it remains surprisingly complete. It may not look that way in this photo, but the little details are there, with the seller noting the radio and headliner bows are still present. The need for rust removal and patching is noted in the floors, front and rear, in seemingly isolated spots.

The frame is also in excellent shape, and the 283 engine is believed to be original. It does not run and the transmission has been removed, so figure in the cost of a replacement and the typical costs of waking up a long-dormant drivetrain. The original transmission was a three-on-the-tree, so perhaps the fact that’s missing is a good reason to upgrade.

Stainless steel trim is said to be in good condition, and from this photo, it appears the lenses are in good shape, too. The California black plates are a treat, and the seller notes that the Handyman will come with several useful spares, including an extra tailgate and a replacement windshield for the cracked one currently installed. Would you choose this 210 or a Nomad?


  1. local_sheriff

    If access to $ was unlimited the Nomad would be my #1 choice. Most of us who have spent more than just a couple minutes in the car community know Nomads have been sought after (and priced accordingly) the last 30 years!

    A Handyman is a sensible choice and will be a good alternative to the Nomad unless you have the $ and only a Nomad will do. I’m actually surprised that all buildable Handymen haven’t been scooped up already

    Like 14
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      What he said.

      Like 13
  2. Fred W

    ’57 Nomad- the only car I always wanted but never owned. They were too pricy even in the 70’s (around $2000!!!). Makes you cry. Never any desire for a 2 door post wagon, or wagon in general other than Nomad.

    Like 3
  3. 8banger Dave Member

    I concur with all of the above statements.

    Like 3
  4. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    I’d rather have this one over the Nomad as it’s probable that the Handyman is the more rare model now. It seems like a good one to start with as the rust issues don’t appear to be too severe. I’d swap in a newer SBC with a 5-speed but keep the old 283 if it is original to the car. Re-chroming or replacing the bumpers won’t be cheap but that’s the deal with most ’50s cars. I’d keep it stock in appearance but add Dagmars, back-up lights and a few other period accessories/options. Keep the steelies and add 210 hubcaps and you’re good to go.

    I’d love to have this one but I’m somewhat hampered by the complete lack of skill, knowledge, money and space, plus the fact that I’ve just recently entered the “retired and too lazy” period of my life.

    Like 17
  5. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    I gotta agree with the sellers comment. “this will not nickel and dime you” It will be much worse.

    Like 13
  6. Bern

    This one also has the one-piece front bumper, as does my own ’57 ‘210’ series Handyman wagon, which was built at the Oakland, CA GM Assembly Plant in late 1956.

    Like 6
  7. chrlsful

    yeah, no transmis is OK. No intake/carb is not but can B wrked around (sniper?).
    May B a modern auto overdrive/5 speed, frnt discs, suspension’n ignition mods?
    Also 4 dors. So I run counter to most (2* of an auto & 4 dor).

    But I am a ‘waggy guy’ fer ser…

    Like 1
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Geez, speak English and use actual words!

      Like 15
      • Rosco

        Perfect comment!

        Like 6
  8. FOG

    Auction ended at $5K, reserve not met, NO SALE!

    Like 1
  9. Carcrazy

    Everything for this car is available. Bumpers are cheaper than re chroming. A newer drivetrain and you have a cool 57 classic for less than 2 dr hardtop and far more rare. Worth more than 5k most days.

    Like 5
  10. Andrew

    While they are both two door wagons the Nomad has a completely different B pillar.

    Like 5
  11. Doug

    In 1969, I bought a ’57 Nomad for $325. The paint had been polished through in the usual places, and you had to drive it with the windows down, due to the blow- by from the engine. The Powerglide was starting to slip and slide, the weatherstripping and windlace was shot, as was the fabric ( still available at the time ) on the front seat. The car had NO dents or rust, and the plan was to put a 350hp 327 and 4 speed in it, redo the front seat and weatherstrip/windlace, paint it, and sell it for the then going price for similar cars of $10-12K.
    I sold it 4 weeks later for $450 and moved on, without spending a dime on it.
    Looking back, probably one of the smarter car decisions I ever made.

    Like 3
  12. SebastianX1/9

    I had never heard of these, fantastically cool!

  13. Bern

    If you cannot do the work yourself, it is best to Fuddgettaboutitt…

    Like 1
  14. SumtingWong

    Oh no, not another 57 Chevy. Get the spoon out. They must have built three million of these cars.

    Like 1
    • Jay

      Actually I believe they built over 1 million in all body styles. The Handyman was just over 15,000 in 210 trim and the Nomad was just over 6,100. But the Nomads have always been revered and the Handyman wagon used up. So the Handyman at this point is probably harder to find. I own one of each, though both need a lot of work.

  15. Del

    I would not chose this one.

    Money pit.

    Spend 70 grand for a 40 grand result

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