Corvette Powered: 1955 Chevrolet Nomad

The current owner of this 1955 Nomad is the third generation of the one family to have owned the car. He has decided that it isn’t going to move on to a fourth generation, but is going to head off to greener pastures. It is a car that is in need of some serious TLC, but with some pretty spirited bidding for the car that is listed for sale here on eBay, it does look like a few people can see the potential that’s locked up in the Nomad. The car is located in Staten Island, New York, and bidding has currently reached $7,700. The reserve hasn’t been met, but for the person who just has to own the Nomad, there is a BIN option available at $15,000.

The outward appearance of the Nomad looks quite encouraging. There are a reasonable number of dents and dings, but it doesn’t look that bad. Rust seems to be confined to the rockers and some small areas around the rear wheel arches, but there doesn’t appear to be anything major. The majority of the front floors look quite corroded, but it doesn’t look like there is much in the way of actual rot. I do think that the rear floor on the driver’s side may have been patched at some point, and the owner does admit that the trunk floor is rotted out. There are a number of badges and trim pieces missing off the outside of the Nomad, and items like the bumpers look like they would benefit from a trip to the plater.

The Nomad is not a numbers-matching car, but what is sitting under the hood is quite nice. This is a Corvette 4-bolt 327ci V8 of 1966 vintage, which the owner claims pumps out 350hp. This is backed by a manual transmission, but it isn’t clear whether this is the 3-speed or the 4-speed. The engine last ran about 6-years-ago and is said to have sounded strong then. It might take a bit of work to coax it back into life, but with an engine like that, it really should be worth the effort.

It looks like the family has raided a Corvette for more than just an engine for the Nomad, because the wheel is also a Corvette item, and I think that the seats are too. I am a bit worried about the piece of wood that runs along the outer edge of the driver’s seat, and I hope that this isn’t part of what is holding the seat in place. If it is, the potential consequences in an accident shouldn’t even be contemplated. The interior will need complete restoration, but in reality, this is very much in keeping with the rest of the car.

If you went out today to buy a 1955 Nomad, and you could find a nice example for under $35,000, my advice to you would be to hand the owner the money before they have a chance to change their mind about the sale. The popularity of these is quite enormous, and some of the prices that they can command are equally as enormous. This one will really need some work, but when you consider the potential value that is locked away in the Nomad, then the $15,000 BIN price starts to look quite attractive.

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Comments

  1. Johnmloghry

    Always loved the Nomads and Safaris. Those bucket seats would have to go. Repair/paint inside and out, nice set of tires and wheels, get this bad boy running and drive it all the time.
    God bless America

    1
  2. Steve R

    Claiming that a 327 came from a Corvette or had 4 bolt mains was the 80’s equivalent to pronouncing that whatever mileage is showing on the odometer is actual mileage. Its either BS or ignorance.

    I’m not sure what New York requires for registering older cars, but I’d want to make the sale contingent on it being successfully transferred into my name.

    Steve R

    8
    • 427Turbojet Member

      Looks like an uphill battle, everything is available for a price, but it looks like this one will need lots! Having said that I would have started with something like this 40+ years ago. In fact I did, bought my 55 Nomad in 1975. It still has the Tijuana diamond patterned interior in it as when I bought it. Always wanted to go back to an original interior, but the custom interior has worn like iron, always felt that when it wore out I’d put a repro set of seat covers and door panels in it. Maybe someday. As for this Nomad, I’d want to do a real careful inspection. Looks like it could be a real L79 Corvette engine (although Chevy never used 4 bolt mains in any 327). If real, engine may be worth as much as rest of car. If you’re looking for a Nomad, this may be your ticket, but keep the checkbook and credit cards handy.

      6
    • Socaljoe

      Steve R, true, every car had a 350 horse 327! Where did they all come from? I like this but would want the eyebrow and fender trim.

      3
      • Old Car Guy

        They were mostly built by independent shops in the day. A friend of mine had a 365 327 installed in his ’64 Malibu in about ’69,
        and a M21 4 speed. He could lift the front wheels off the ground from a start. In fact he went though several sets of front shocks, the bayonet mount kept on breaking off from the strain.

        1
  3. JOHN

    I love the 55 Nomad, I personally think it is the best looking of the three. What is that round thing with the lever mounted on the lower part of the steering column? I can’t make out the name, and I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. I see the car was originally an automatic, maybe this was part of a hand control or something. I’ve never seen anything like it before…

    • madbrit

      The lever below the steering column is a vintage Warner electric brake controller.

      2
  4. Bob S

    Those don’t look like 327 Corvette valve covers, but the air filter looks like it could have come off a Corvette or a later 350 horse big block. ( I had one on my 396). I would caution anyone thinking this is a Corvette engine to check the serial number. From that, It would be easy to identify whether or not it is a Corvette engine.
    I love those 300 and 350 hp Vette 327s, they pull really well and are quite driveable in traffic.
    It looks like a lot of work, and would be a worthwhile project for someone doing their own restoration. I wouldn’t want to take it on if I had to farm out all the work. It would be spendy.
    Bob

    2
  5. 70SuprtSport

    A 350hp 327 corvette engine would come with finned Chevrolet valve covers, the 300hp motors came with stamped steel shown in the picture.

    1
  6. Bob

    It’s a shame how that car sat outside that garage for years! The garage is probably full of useless junk and now the family thinks the Nomad is gold! It’s just another rotted piece of junk!

    7
  7. Will Fox

    The BIN of $15K is a pipe dream; there isn’t anything left on this worth that figure. Basically, this thing is so roached you’re better off finding one more complete. As it sits, this is a $140K restoration for a car worth about $60K when done.

    4
  8. JOHN

    Over the years many things change. It’s possible this is a high-horse 327, but the valve covers could have been removed. There looks to be an aluminum intake manifold, which I believe is correct for the 350 horse engine as well. Hard to tell from the lousy photo’s if it is a GM intake or aftermarket. It does also appear to have the Corvette shifter with the reverse lock-out still attached, which lends some credibility to this being a Corvette 327/350, but without further examination, it’s a crap shoot. It’s missing some exterior trim, you don’t see any pics of the super cool interior chrome headliner trim either. But… if that truly is a 350 horse engine, it is worth a pretty penny by itself. It’s just a lot of work and $$, but again, the 55 Nomad is my favorite. Too much work for me.

    2
  9. Marlon Smith

    327 never had 4 bolt mains . The were available on High Performance 350’s LT1 AND L82 . Also on heavy duty truck applications

    3
  10. rustylink

    This is a Corvette 4-bolt 327ci V8 of 1966 vintage, which the owner claims pumps out 350hp.

    – HA! I bet he does. I claim I can a lot of things too. You see in the automotive sales world you need tangible proof of such claims.

    1
  11. Philip B

    It appears that the car started life as a 6/auto. Would probably be worth more with the original engine/trans. Lot of work needed on this one.

  12. madbrit

    From what I read recently, the missing (?) “eyebrows” that go above the headlights are not available in the aftermarket, along with the missing side trim, could prove to be a major deal breaker.

  13. 427Turbojet Member

    There’s a guy in Georgia that recently has been repoping 55 Nomad diecast fender/door trim. It was about $4000 for the 6 pieces. Show quality, but hard to justify risking on a driver. In 40+ years, have managed to find 5 useable pieces out of the 6 (without mortgaging my house). For now am living with painted on eyebrows and flamed fender/door trim.

  14. Maestro1 Member

    Nomads have always been very warm in the marketplace, lots of upside potential and so on. This car was originally turquoise and white I believe, and the Project feels like North of $100,000 to make it stunning. My sense is if that much is spent and you drive it for a few years your investment will be returned plus yield.

  15. Jack Quantrill

    Those generations of New Yawkers, weren’t too kind to this poor ‘55!

    1
  16. Bern

    It looks to have the ‘T-Handle Muncie 4-speed shifter between the seats…. whatever the case may be, this car is definitely a ‘money-pit’ in my opinion… and whoever buys it better have some ‘deep pockets’.

    2
  17. TomHornet

    I hope someone with welding and backyard mechanics skills 🧰 buys the vehicle for the right price.

    NOW Call Me crazy 😜 but New York is a BOS state and no title required for this old of a vehicle. So download the Bill of Sale doc and fill that out for new owner.

    To the current owner use the garage behind you to give “some shelter” or were sending Mick Jagger to put his moves on you to care for this elderly car…

  18. TimM

    Nomad wagons are awesome!! Needs some time into this one!!

  19. Butchb

    Where did all those Corvette engine donor cars go?
    Seems more claims of “Corvette ” engines in other cars than Corvette’s manufactured.

    1
  20. Nomader

    Chevrolet ” Corvette” engines are almost as rare as Ford “Thunderbird” engines. ha ha!

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