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No Reserve 1957 Chevrolet Nomad Project

Well, this is a sad state of affairs. While just a casual fan of tri-five Chevies at best, I’ve always been a sucker for the Nomad station wagon series from that era and finding a 1957 variety in such deleterious condition is a tragedy. Perhaps all is not lost, let’s check out this Toano, Virginia based example. It is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $6,050, twenty-nine bids tendered so far. Thanks to Patrick S. for this tip!

The story on this Nomad is “awful” according to the seller. It’s a California car that moved to Virginia in 1984 and has been parked since 1985. At some point in its life, it was positioned near a woodshed that caught on fire and the severe heat from the fire caused some pretty notable damage to the passenger side sheet metal, glass, etc. After that, the car just sat with the owner’s intention being to eventually restore it, but that never happened and he eventually passed away. This Chevy is being sold now, and the seller suggests, “This car deserves to be brought back to her former glory!!!” That’s a laudable thought, but whoever makes the acquisition will have their work cut out for them.

Besides the obvious surface rust, there is quite a bit of rot and it’s evident everywhere. The seller suggests that the frame will need to be replaced, along with the floors and quarters, though the doors are fixable. The glass, what’s still present, is clearly not usable and the channel pieces between both side windows are gone. The rear window frame is present but doesn’t appear to be usable any longer. As for the Nomad’s extensive trim, some is still in place, other pieces may be missing and the seller advises, “most all-important trim is here” – emphasis on most. Some of the trim, along with the original wheel covers, are in the way back.

The interior is about what you would expect, it’s trashed. It’s a combination of weather intrusion and extreme heat from the fire. Short of the seat frames and some door handles, there is not a whole lot that appears to be salvageable. Even the instrument panel looks kaput. It actually reminds me of Christine’s interior after a night of murder and mayhem at a nearby gas station.

Under the hood is what was reportedly a 220 HP, 283 CI “Super Turbo-Fire” V8 engine. The seller states that it is not the original motor as it was swapped with a replacement block in the early ’60s. The engine alpha codex is not stamped making identification difficult. Whatever the case, it is a non-runner though this Nomad does roll and steer. This is a Powerglide automatic transmission-equipped car.

Love the Nomad, just not this one. It’s future is a bit cloudy considering all that is wrong with it. That said there are twenty-nine bids chasing it and the bid value has jumped in the short time that I have been working on this post. So, what do you think, is the seller’s statement, “This car deserves to be brought back to her former glory!!!” doable, or is it too far gone to make any rational sense?


  1. Will Fox

    I don’t see $6 dollars of redeemable material left in this roach. As I always say, buy the very best example of whatever car you’re looking to buy, hopefully one that runs. In the end sure–you’ve put money into it but you’re far better off than “settling for” a car like this that even needs a frame!

    Like 13
  2. KEVIN

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    Like 11
    • nlpnt

      I think he drives some weird-looking mid ’90s SUV. I say weird-looking because it doesn’t look like a gen 1 Explorer or ZJ Grand Cherokee, more like a greenhouse on tank treads….

      Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        Huh? and….who cares what else the seller has parked around? Focus man.

        Like 5
  3. piston poney

    i don’t say this much and usually disagree when people say this here, but, run, run fast and don’t look back

    Like 9
    • 57Chevy

      I can’t believe ANYONE would actually pay Money for this Bucket-o-Rust!!!!!! If it were mine, I would have it flown to the Top of Mt. Everest, Read it its Last Rites & BOOM, Push it Off! And may it R.I.P. wherever it stops!!!!!!!!

      Like 4
  4. Sam61

    “Reserve” a spot at Pic-A-Part…

    Like 1
    • 57Chevy

      NOT much left to pick Sam! Sheeesh! I would be embarrassed to even List this piecer! How do you recycle RUST???

      Like 5
  5. ACZ

    Just because some idiot didn’t know how to properly care for it, now someone is supposed to wave a magic wand and “bring it back to it’s former glory??
    Fine, GIVE it to someone to invest in, instead of selling it.

    Like 3
  6. CCFisher

    A pity it ended up like this.

    The second phtoto, with the front and rear cropped off, makes it obvious that the 1964-65 Chevelle 2-door wagon was an homage to this car.

    Like 1
  7. Arthur

    Looks to me like whoever buys this will need the services of a metal shaper / fabricator who has ties to a hot rod shop.

    Like 4
  8. Jay E. Member

    Spend another 30K and you still wont get anywhere near the running driving one here that is listed for sale.


    I’m surprised that BF keeps listing junk like this, but it I usually just scroll past.

    Like 12
  9. DON

    All the sheet metal thats been exposed to the fire is junk , and this fire was so hot that the trim pieces have melted . Once it gets that hot its over . What wasn’t destroyed by the fire is rusted ,damaged, or gone. All I can see you’re getting out of this is a $300 core motor and a Powerglide .

    Like 8
  10. Philip Bregar

    Let it rest in peace where it sat for years.

    Like 6
  11. PaulR

    The period correct 283 and components along with the roof and B pillars may be the only things of value. Seeing these lines of rusted out specials for sale now days has me wanting to make up some bags of vintage rust and start selling them. That way the buyer can mold it into what ever they want.

    Like 6
  12. Maestro1 Member

    No. Everybody is right; leave it alone.

    Like 2
  13. Erik

    To echo so many above comments and to add the statement within the description above “After that, the car just sat with the owner’s intention being to eventually restore it, but that never happened and he eventually passed away” to which I say we have all seen this happen too often.

    Years ago I would drive by a “parts vehicle” in a field to and from work and occasionally I would ask the owner if they wanted to sell me some parts for my own project to which he would always say “Someday I am going to restore her!” and I would drive away and wait for another year to pass before stopping again. One day I drove by after a long weekend and the car was gone and a few weeks later a for sale sign was put up on the house and a few days weeks later an estate sale was posted. I stopped at the estate sale on the day it occurred and asked what happened to the old car in the field to which I was told it went to the scrap yard with some other parts and when I asked which scrap yard they said they would have to ask the family and so I left my number but never got a call.

    Today you have sky high asking prices in 2020 that overzealous buyers then pay just to acquire a “project” only to eventually find they end up with no money to ever finish the vehicle and then it too will sit for years and never be finished or will be finished only when there is little left to the person’s own life or worse yet only finished when done by the dearly departed’s survivors as a “tribute crusier” by using the departed’s life insurance money.

    Time for this all to end before we are all reach our own end and the younger generation wants nothing to do with our hobby or its relics. But if everybody stops paying these high prices for projects or finished restorations or “survivors” then we all can afford to enjoy the hobby we all love before it’s too late for us all.

    Like 10
  14. bone

    The flipper that bought this from the family sure thinks its made of gold ! He thinks it had to be at leat a four barrel or possibly a two deuce set up , but has no way to prove it ,and says the motor was replaced with a new GM in the 60s .Most likely the motor came from a junkyard by the 60s as these were readily available . The greatest line he states that the car is “mostly complete” – I think he meant completely gone !

    Like 6
  15. 57Chevy

    NOT much left to pick Sam! Sheeesh! I would be embarrassed to even List this piecer! How do you recycle RUST???

    Like 1
  16. Gray Wolf

    Even the chickens run away, not a great coop to stay! Always wanted a 55-57 Nomad since I could drive (1963,,that hurts also)! Unfortunately, things like die-cast cars get scooped at the stores and end up online for a larger price. There are also people that don’t buy them up but destroy what’s left to make them harder to find! That’s our world!!

    Like 1
    • Little_Cars

      I’ve been in the diecast and model car business since the early 1970s and I’ve never heard of ANYBODY destroying inventory to make what remains more valuable. Sounds like something the Taliban or ISIS would do, or what took place during Nazi occupations of countries during WWII. Now, as far as speculators scooping up models at stores and selling online for a larger price, absolutely! Welcome to the post eBAY Amazon world we live in! Ain’t it grand that we can instantly look of every part for this car online and have it on our doorstep three days later? Or dial 1-800-TRI-FIVE for all the parts needed to bring this car back with the exception of a perfect metal Nomad shell? Shame the flames made the Nomad-specific stuff molten lava.

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


        You commented; “I’ve never heard of ANYBODY destroying inventory to make what remains more valuable.”

        While I’ve not seen that tactic used, I am fairly certain that there are stupid people in charge of various inventories, be they toys or appliances, who do order stocks destroyed in an attempt to make existing pieces more valuable. In theory it might work.

        That said, I am all to familiar with a problem where warehouse space value can well exceed inventory value, and a company will send “low selling inventories” for scrap. Companies can then write off the inventory value for tax purposes, justifying the decision due to the need for the warehouse space they were occupying.

        About 40 years ago, when Toys”R”Us had a warehouse here in Maryland, the company allowed me to buy a “low selling inventory” of Matchbox cars on bubble hang packs, as I knew someone who worked in the warehouse. I bought the toys for ten cents each, but there was a restriction; I agreed not to sell any part of the inventory for 5 years.

        Well after waiting the 5 years, I took some of them to my spaces at the Fall Carlisle car show, and sales were very disappointing. As a matter of fact, I have consigned the final remaining stock of about 100 toys to an upcoming local auction to get rid of them!

        Like 1
      • Little_Cars

        @ Bill McCloskey, again I find we have traveled the same paths. I consigned most of my vintage scale models and toys to an auction house about 15 years ago. Probably made .10 cents on the dollar but at least I didn’t have to move them a half-dozen times in the ensuing years. I’ve also been part of an “inside team” to purchase inventories of new old stock models back when they were slow movers — not valuable or nostalgic in people’s mind. I had the pleasure of loading up on “dud” models from closing GEM stores, Ben Franklin and a small mom and pop hobby shop in Gettysburg PA called Gilberts in the late 1970s. There were some real treasures that became big sellers when I worked the swap meets decades later. I’ve transferred this knowledge to the business of sniffing out NOS parts stashes for my friends now and usually get to cherry pick the things I might need for my shop projects. Thanks for the great recollection.

        Like 1
  17. Russ

    Did a 55 nomad not that bad art Morrison chassis quarters doors floors 427 5 speed Richmond tubbed it did it all myself except paint I also did the interior took 4 years as I am retired spent 35k on parts and painting so plan on spending plenty if you tackle it also not for sale

    Like 0
    • Little_Cars

      Use punctuation much? My English teachers would have had a field day with that run-on sentence. Just playing with ya Russ.

      Like 4
  18. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    I used to have vacation property in Toano, on the Chicohominy river, so I know the town well. Between the mid 1980s and today, the river has experienced extreme flooding on many occasions, as much as a mile wide. If this car sat in Toano for 35 years without moving, there is a high probability it’s been underwater & still has river silt in hidden pockets like under the dash.

    Like 2
  19. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Sad Sad Sad…………

    Like 1
  20. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    Was looking at the photos again. Check out the photo of the roof from above. Focus on the upper wagon tailgate window assembly. You can see from the photo that the frame is badly warped from intense heat. No matter how much metalwork you do to that window frame, the metal is heat fatigued, and cannot handle the repeated opening and closing of the window frame without eventually causing the glass to break.

    Also of note is all those “pot metal” castings that have melted. Pot metal has a melting point of about 700 to 800f, depending on the blend of metals used. Since the car was likely exposed to a fire of about 1,000f to 1,500f, any metal part that was exposed to heat that high, is not repairable.

    Sadly, this is a parts car.

    Like 5
  21. Barry Smith

    This car was for sale locally in Yorktown, VA for $4000 just a week ago. Me thinks this is a flipper that bought it, repeated the storyline about the fire and hopes to make a little profit. Buyer beware, not much left to restore.

    Like 2
  22. 57Chevy

    I caught that too, little cars! Give the guy a break. Maybe the “Period” key on his computer is broke & out of order???? :-)

    Like 1
  23. HC Member

    God, what a hot mess. So sad shes that far gone. If you have deep pockets and are a good welder have fun.

    Like 0
    • 57Chevy

      Yeah HC…..a Good Welder, a Good Body Man, A Good Engine Rebuilding specialist, a Good Transmission Specialist, A Good Brake Specialist, A Good Upholsterer, A Good Painter, A Good Electrical Specialist,…. Sheesh! My fingers are getting sore!!!!!!!!!

      Like 0

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