Certified Survivor: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad

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Based on a Corvette-derived concept car, the Chevy Bel Air Nomad debuted in 1955 as part of what would become known as the Tri-Fives. From 1955 to 1957, Chevrolet would manufacture around 4.5 million cars, yet the Nomad saw a production of just under 23,000 units. Sharing its design with the Pontiac Safari, perhaps the market wasn’t ready for a “sport wagon” so the Nomad would disappear after 1957 (although the name would pop up later on more conventional wagon models). This ’55 Nomad, which looks original from head to toe, is available in Bozeman, Montana and here on craigslist for $54,000. Thanks, Boot, for finding this mid-20th Century gem for us.

The concept car that got the ball rolling came about when Chevy engineers took the front fascia of a 1954 Corvette and applied it to a 2-door wagon body. This resulted in a shift from the utilitarian design of most station wagons of the day to a forward-slanting B-pillar and almost wraparound rear windows. GM execs approved the Nomad for 1955 production, but it had to use the standard A-body Chevy chassis, which was larger and more widely produced than the Corvette. This also enabled Pontiac to roll out its own version of the wagon.

When the 1955 models hit the showrooms, the Nomad was about the most expensive Chevy that you could buy (MRSP $2,571!). It had the new 265 cubic inch V8 engine as standard equipment and the Nomad was decked out in Bel Air trim and garb. The seller’s ’55 Nomad, finished in its original Seashore Beige over Red Coral paint, was certified as an original survivor by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) in 2014. It’s said to be rust-free and the body undamaged, although the orange-ish paint is a bid faded for being 66 years old.

This sport wagon has its original V8 and Powerglide automatic transmission. The Nomad appears to be in good running condition, although we’re told the tranny leaks a bit of fluid. Several photos of the undercarriage are included, and some new components seem to be in place as you would expect after 103,000 miles, which is the reported odometer reading. Because of their unique design and low production numbers (just 8,530 units in 1955, the car’s biggest year), sweet Nomads can command six figures. So, the seller’s asking price seems reasonable in comparison if it only needs a coat of wax and some new transmission seals.

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  1. sir_mike

    Who ever buys her please keep it stock.

    Like 22
  2. MarkMember

    Looks like it used to have a trailer hitch? Actually good that the connector is still in place as it backs the originality claim…

    Like 3
  3. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Will it keep its survivor status after the tranny seals? LOL!

    Like 6
  4. DavidH

    There it is my all time favorite vehicle to one day own!

    Like 5
  5. Geoff

    A little stingy with the photos but it will probably go quick anyway

    Like 2
  6. charlieMember

    And the front bumper is bent up, as happened with all the ’55’s and ’56’s, from using the bumper jack to lift the car to change a front tire. Some “value engineering” at Chevy back then, even knowing the problem before the ’56’s went into production. A little more metal would have avoided the problem. This is a great car! By ’55 standards they handled well, were as reliable compared to the competition as Toyotas are today, with shoulder belts, a dual master cylinder, radial tires, and front disc brakes, I would take it anywhere.

    Like 2

    Dang! I love that car. As for the front bumper, push it back down. Except for radial tires, a wax and polish, I wouldn’t change a thing. As for the leaky trans, like most British sports cars, that’s how you know there is fluid in them. Sorry, I couldn’t rest that.

    the market may go up or down. Whomever gets that car, it’s money in the bank. They will get more attention than if they were driving a Ferrari 308. I’m glad to see that there are still some “stock” Nomads out there, that haven’t been turned into Retromods.

    Like 4
  8. 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

    Suspect the colors are really Shoreline beige over Gypsy red, one of the more popular combinations for 55 Nomads.

    Like 1
  9. bobH

    I’m a little suspicious of what I can see in the engine picture… Valve cover does not look correct (or is it that I can’t tell from the picture). Also, color on valve cover does not appear to be 55 engine color (Also, could be the picture.) In any event, nice car. (Side note, I bought a 56, new, when I was seventeen. I still have it, stock, preserved as best I can, somewhat deteriorated. You can do the math, I’m over 80 now.)

    Like 1
    • bobH

      And…. what’s with the paint on the fuel pump? Someone has been messing with it.

      Like 1
  10. TimM

    Great looking car!! The color is awesome in my opinion!! It’s nice to see one in mostly stock condition!! I’ve never been a big fan of the power glide transmission except for drag racing of coarse!! I know that’s probably not a popular thing to say but I’d have to put a 4 speed in this car if I had it!! It could always be put back but it would make it that much more fun to drive!!

    Like 0
  11. Michael J. Hall

    Folks had one in 66-68 when we lived on the Rock (Kadena A.F.B. Okinawa). White on blue. Like most all island cars it was rusty top to bottom with holes in the rear floor boards. Also left a trail of blue smoke every where we went. Great for hauling our gear to the beaches.

    Like 1
  12. chrlsful

    loosin its attraction (wrong era’s icon?). Falling in price yet?
    I see the late 1970s early 80s comin in now…
    Watched the “pre war” price diminish, boy
    if I live long enuff I can buy what I want!

    Like 1

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