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1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad Project

Some enthusiasts refuse to consider tackling another person’s unfinished project build, and that attitude is understandable. It is not uncommon for such projects to house nasty surprises that can see things spiral out of control. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad. The indications are the seller has followed a sensible path to this point, leaving the buyer to add the finishing touches. They include many parts that will help the winning bidder on their way, but there is scope for that person to add their own twist to this beauty. The Nomad is listed here on eBay in Cypress, Texas. Bidding has raced past the reserve to sit at $27,260.

The 1957 Bel Air Nomad is a staple of the classic world, and good examples can achieve some staggering sale prices. This one requires completion, but the indications are it is a rust-free vehicle. The seller doesn’t mention problems in the listing, and the supplied shots don’t indicate nasty surprises await the winning bidder. It wears the Code 816 combination of India Ivory and Colonial Cream, but this could be this classic’s one shortcoming. It is an older lacquer paint job with some cracking, and I’m surprised it meets the current owner’s expectations considering the care they’ve lavished on the rest of the build. However, it isn’t beyond the point of no return, meaning the buyer could treat it to a refresh before proceeding further. The panels are straight, and the glass is in good order. Some trim pieces may require restoration, but I would attack them with a combination of elbow grease and a high-quality polish before committing the funds for a trip to the platers. The existing wheels suit the car’s character, but the seller includes a shiny set of 15″ American Racing Torq Thrust II wheels for those seeking something more striking.

The drivetrain combination in this Nomad follows a tried-and-true path, guaranteeing excellent performance and a ready supply of parts for future maintenance and potential upgrades. The engine bay houses a 283ci “Power Pack” V8 that sends its power to the road via a three-speed Turbo 400 transmission. This motor would have produced 220hp in its prime, but that figure has probably climbed significantly. It inhales deeply through a 500cfm Edelbrock carburetor, with the spent gases exiting via headers and a dual exhaust. The front end features rack and pinion power steering, while assisted four-wheel disc brakes bring everything to a safe halt. Other upgrades include sway bars at both ends, a refurbished radiator, a flex fan, and a partially installed Painless wiring harness. The Wagon isn’t roadworthy in its current state, but getting it to that point shouldn’t be too challenging.

One area where the buyer can make their mark is on this classic’s interior. It is missing its front seat, but the folding back seat is intact. The seller describes the existing upholstery as “ugly gold velour,” which doesn’t sound appealing. There is scope for a faithful retrim, and kits are available to achieve that look. However, the seller includes a collection of parts to upgrade some aspects of this interior, which may motivate the winning bidder to adopt a custom approach. The rest of the Painless wiring harness is awaiting installation, as is a complete power window kit. There is a Classic Instruments ’57 gauge cluster that will add a distinctive touch, while the VintageAir air conditioning system is ready to go. Also included are boxes of NOS and reproduction parts, giving the buyer scope to create the Nomad of their dreams.

If anything surprises me about this 1957 Nomad project, it is the seller’s decision to leave the older paint untouched. It doesn’t look bad, but there was scope for the exterior presentation to lift significantly. However, it hasn’t proceeded beyond that point, and the winning bidder could elect to address that potential shortcoming before adding the finishing touches. It has received fifteen bids from eight people, making me wonder how many may feel the same. Do you agree, or would returning it to the road in its current form be your approach?


  1. GCS Member

    That is sweet.

    Like 6
  2. Maggy

    Cool car. I like they put a rack and pinion in it
    .Handle a heck of a lot better. Have to really examine it to see what it’s worth. Glwts.

    Like 5
  3. mainlymuscle

    28k is not quite half where this Nomad needs to be

    Like 2
  4. jrhmobile

    I kinda like the way it looks right now, except for the tired wire wheels, and he has fresh mags in boxes to fix that. Get it street ready and run it like it is. This doesn’t need to be restored within an inch of its life; it’s worn in and kinda shabby chic as it is.

    Like 9
  5. Rw

    Would like to see the rack set up ,iv e seen some installed that greatly effected the turning radius.

    Like 3
  6. Larry Lee Bower

    I honestly think he is on the right track…paint, body and wheels look good enough for now…keep redoing everything else and when that is all done…interior, wiring, motor and undercarriage, then roll it in for some stripping, bodywork and sweet paint then some nice white letter tires on them new wheels

    Like 2
  7. Joe Haska

    I feel like I am missing something, the bid is around 28 K and has met the reserve. I think this could be one of the best deals I have seen on a Nomad for a very long time. The condition of the car ,the work that’s been done and the extra parts, “Its a no brainier” I wish I were a player.

    Like 4
  8. bobH Member

    The VIN puzzles me. Starting with a C, doesn’t seem to fit what on-line sources suggest it should be. The K suggests it was assembled at Kansas City. No matter, nice car.

    Like 2
  9. Jack Quantrill

    I had a yellow and white one like this. 265, 2bbl, PS, PB, Harrison factory a/c. Sold for $750 back in the 60’s. Last seen on the way to Louisiana! Regret selling this.

    Like 2

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