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Needs A Little Work: 1955 Nomad


What a great looking car! The Nomad really is an iconic design that to this day looks great. Looking this ’55 over, it makes me wish American manufactures would bring back the two door wagon! The seller of this Nomad doesn’t really offer much information. They state that it needs to be restored, but that it still wins awards the way it is. It looks like it might be an older restoration to me, but I’m sure a closer inspection will reveal some of the car’s history. There is rust that needs to be addressed and lots of little things to fix, but overall, it looks like a good buy. You can find it here on eBay in Amelia, Ohio with a current bid of $25k.


Of all the Tri-Five body styles, the Nomad is easily the most desirable. They built a little over 8k Nomads in ’55 and even fewer for ’56 and ’57. While ’57 fuel injected models are the most sought after of the Nomads, I really like the looks of the earlier cars and the carbureted 265 is simple to work on. The seller states that this one’s engine is original and unmolested, but no word on whether it’s the 162 horse or 180 horsepower engine. It must run if they are able to take it to car shows though, so that is hopeful!


The interior looks fantastic in the photos! If the upholstery is original it’s in incredibly nice condition, but I would guess it’s been replaced at some point. Either way, it looks like a nice place to be.


I won’t lie, the rust issues concern me a bit. It doesn’t look too serious, but the with the paint bubbling on the doors and pitting around the back window there could be serious rust hiding under the paint. A quick inspection could resolve those fears easily enough though. So which year of Nomad is your favorite?


  1. doug6423

    I live 30 minutes or less from Amelia, if anyone is a serious buyer and needs a closer look….

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  2. L.M.K.

    I could fall in love with one of those very easily….

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  3. bob

    Yeah , the rust bubbles are a concern as is the absence of an oil filter .

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  4. Tyrone Shoelaces

    This comes from memory and may not be absolutely true but if mine serves me correctly; an oil filter was not included in early ’55 V8’s. I believe it was an option. Can anyone confirm?

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    • Racer417

      I think you’re correct about the oil filter.

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    • SamM

      Yup, optional. Aftermarket was another way to go (used a roll of toilet paper!). My father had a ’55 convert in light/navy blue two tone and the 265/auto. got REALLY good at swapping motor mounts (narrow saddle mounts), even did it in a tux on the way to the prom. Personally, I prefer the ’56.

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  5. Madbrit

    In 1955 the first small block Chevy engine (265) had no oil filter. There was an optional remote one. The first canister oil filter was in 1957 with the new 283 motor.

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    • GOPAR

      The ’56 265 came with a canister type oil filter. It was common practice for us “young guns” back in the day to drop a 327 in a ’55 body. Since the 327 had a canister type oil filter, the oil pan from a ’56 V8 was used because it accommodated the filter and provided the clearance needed for the tie rod. Man, those were great times!!

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  6. Alan Brase

    I think 1956 265 engines had the full flow filter. I KNOW 265’s had them in 1957. Back in the day I had a couple of no oil filter engines and I think they were both 1955 models. Probably more important to the guy trying to get lots more power that to a stock built engine. I like the early motors. Either a 265 or 283 can take a 1/8″ over bore and a little tiny bit more breathing will make a nice powerful motor.

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  7. charlie Member

    My father’s ’50 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe did not have an oil filter, and the engine was toast at 40,000 miles. What were they thinking? My uncle’s ’49 Chevy did, and that was going strong and not burning oil at 100,000.

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    • Vince Habel

      Oil filter was optional on the 50 Studebaker. Must not have had very good care if it died at 40k miles.

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  8. RoughDiamond

    IMO the listing reads like someone who either traded for it or bought it to sell as his description of the vehicle is way to vague.

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  9. Alan Brase

    Yes, Fram, Purolator and others all made kits to add a bypass filter on early engines. This would bleed off a small amount of the oil from the galley and run it thru a very fine filter which would eventually get the oil very clean. So, basically they did a thorough job of cleaning the oil, but sometimes grit would make several passes before it was intercepted. The full flow filter would get it all on the first pass, but did not filter as fine. Very high end engines used both. Ferraris, some diesel engines still do, though oil filter technology improved a lot. That filter that used a roll of toilet tissue worked pretty well, I think. A mess to clean out, tho.

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  10. Nomader

    The 1955, 265 cu. in. was the only Chev V-8 (other than the 1917 V-8) that had no accomidation for an oil filter cast into the block. 1956 added a FF canister filter to the bottom of the block, as did all 283 blocks. In 55 you could buy an add on oil filter whose bracket bolted under the thermostat neck. Many dealers recomended this accessory and some installed it free of charge to gain more life of engine. I have a toilet paper filter in a 64 pont G.P. since car was new. It takes a certain kind of T.P. roll.

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  11. Rocco Member

    My ’56 chebby BelAir 6cyl. I had in high school had one of those toilet paper type filters, bolted to the intake manifold. I always used a real filter cartridge though, ’til I put the V-8 in. I didn’t hear about the TP being used ’til I was a mech. One older guy told me that the TP would make the oil clear & take away some of the “lubricating properties”. I just took in info, trying to learn all I could back then & now. It never applied to me after I went V-8 since I never went back.

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  12. L.M.K.

    Gavel down…. 32K …..

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  13. Alan Brase

    TP roll filter was a Frantz brand?

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