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Nomad Emerges From Behind The Barn


I really have to wonder when I read stories like this one posted here on craigslist. What a beautiful car this 1956 Chevrolet once was and even when put away by its current owner in 1973 as a running, 17 year old driver, this was a special car that deserved better than the years of outside storage have done to it.


Chevy Nomads were all Bel Airs – top of the line two door wagons with features that made them special when new and desirable for rodders, surfers and wagon lovers ever since. The 56 model of the Tri-Five Chevys does seem to be unfairly unappreciated sometimes, but the 56 Nomad has long been a collectible and here we have one with the straight six engine, which makes it, at least to me, more interesting than the popular small block V-8s that were so ubiquitous in these.


The ad tells a great story. The owner has had the Nomad since 1973 and drove it regularly for many years. Then he parked it behind the barn, planning a restoration that never came, and plainly got more difficult with every passing year.


He says its runs “incredibly” with not even an exhaust leak. The interior is claimed original and truly looks it. Aside from the headliner, the interior is a mess. The car has 72,791 miles on it. The back door is too rusty to open and the owner will include two rust free barn stored fenders in the sale (why were  stored inside and the car outside?).


He knows it’s a valuable car, but take a look at the visible rust and imagine what is going on underneath and inside this car. This is going to be a daunting and expensive restoration, so you have to wonder if finding a non running hulk somewhere in the west or southwest would be the smarter choice. What do you guys think?


  1. Avatar photo Luke Fitzgerald


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  2. Avatar photo Marty Member

    Loosen the radiator cap….

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  3. Avatar photo JW

    Sad to see this car in the shape it’s in, hopefully someone has the money and patience to restore it to it’s former glory.

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  4. Avatar photo Rick

    If one could bottle up that kind of behavior (i.e. leaving a desireable car to rot outside for over 40 years) and somehow eliminate it, the world would be a much better place for us old car freaks. All I can figure is that wherever it was on the property where it was stored must not have been readily visible. Otherwise how could you watch it rot away and not do anything. Unless maybe they didn’t like it because it was a 6 cylinder?

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  5. Avatar photo Gnrdude

    Ouch, Rust Bucket. Though this is a Fairly rare Car it’s Gonna Cost some $$$$ to Restore……

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    • Avatar photo grant

      Sorry to be That guy, but I’m Wondering…. what’s up With the random Capitalization?

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  6. Avatar photo randy

    Well, it used to be valuable. Rinse and repeat.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Blindmarc

    Good for a few parts, then scrap the rest.

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  8. Avatar photo Mark S

    The up side if you own one In better condition yours has just become more rare. This I’m going to restore it some day is such BS. I acquired my project car 5 years ago it’s in my garage and progress has been made every month. And I’m getting close. In my opinion if your not committed to doing something with it, move it along to someone how is. Why would I have an old car taking up space if I wasn’t going to do something with it. This one has been left out in the rain and snow until it’s to far gone to fix. Now the owner wants to cash in because he knows it’s rare.

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  9. Avatar photo Mr. Bond

    Too bad it’s on the other side of the continent, or I’d go talk to the guy. $5k might get you in, and for this, that is a lot. Sure sad to see such a neat car pretty much wasted. My first car was a 57 Chevy 210 4 door, 6 cyl Auto. I’d keep the six, be fine for me!

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  10. Avatar photo Jeff Staff

    Wow. Based on the seller’s area code, I am almost certain this is a Nomad that sat alongside a shuttered repair shop near my uncle’s home in Western Mass. We used to drive by it often lamenting its fate. I’d love to know if it’s the same car.

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  11. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    56 was a low production year for the Nomad, however the uniqueness of a 6 cylinder, as most I have seen (stock) were V-8 or resto modded with a later 350. $2500 for the car and the amount of work needed to bring it back you could be in for about 440K, which is about what they sell for without going all B-J on it.

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  12. Avatar photo Chuck F 55chevy

    I think this Nomad will go for the $5,000, doesn’t look that bad, they make a lot of replacement sheet metal, sounds like most of you guys have no clue about the collector car market and rare cars. I think it is very restorable, when was the last time you saw one at the local car show? Or the last time you saw an original 6 cylinder Nomad? It has the Nomad rear seat, the hard to find original front seat isn’t bare springs, original nub 15 inch wheels, no moisture damage inside due to unbroken windows, I bet the floors are fairly solid since it looks like all the windows kept the rain out.

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  13. Avatar photo Passion for muscle cars

    I hope someone finds the energy to save this one, the parts are available to do so, but you better know how to weld because shop fees would have you upside down on the investment before it was in primer! It was a cool car once and can be again it will just take a tremendous effort. For the owner to let this sit behind the barn and become the rust pile it has is shamefull ( what’s in the barn taking up space?) After someone pours endless effort, talent, and money into saving the Nomad it will be worth $50000 or so as stated by the owner. Let’s see 5000 for the car, 5000 in metal work, 5000 for paint, 5000 for interior, 5000 on chrome, couple grand for wheels and tires, 5000 on the drivetrain, couple of thousand for important stuff like brakes and suspension. Remind me why it is we do this to ourselves! Cars like this should be GIVEN to those talented enough to save them in the hopes of keeping them from being parted out and scrapped.

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  14. Avatar photo Alexander Member

    Windows may have kept the rain out, but look at those door cards and the metal area behind the driver’s side door. The rainwater has gone somewhere so undoubtedly the floors (at least the edges) will be MIA. The photo of the passenger side shows non-existent sills which means lots of chopping and putting the car in a jig to weld in new metal. The surface rust on the headliner ribs also makes me think the interior will have a bit of a musty smell. :)

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  15. Avatar photo gunningbar

    Too bad.

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  16. Avatar photo Woodie Man

    Just nuts. I cant imagine, absent some particular circumstance, a situation where I would leave a Nomad outside and look at it every day for 40 years as it deteriorated. Just knowing it was back behind the barn outdoors would have driven me insane!

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  17. Avatar photo Jake

    It’s very restorable, and you don’t see any nomads any more

    Like 0

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