Patinamod? 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad

Disclosure: This site may receive compensation from some link clicks and purchases.

The Chevy Nomad was a Sport Wagon built between 1955 and 1957. It carried Bel Air trim and shared little key sheet metal with other 2-door wagons from the doors back. It was based on a 1954 Corvette show car and the idea was nifty enough for both Chevy and Pontiac to give it a go. But sales never materialized beyond mediocre, and the unique wagons were gone in concept in 1958.

I’ve always wondered why the Nomad and Pontiac Star Chief Safari never took off. In three model years, Chevy only managed to build 23,000 of them, and Pontiac just 9,000 more. Perhaps 2-door wagons were thought of as pedestrian movers of freight, so maybe the Nomad was too pretty to be used as a workhorse. Or not practical without the extra two doors that other wagons offered.

This wagon has been updated with all sorts of modern goodies, qualifying it as a restomod. The Nomad sits lower than usual thanks to the installation of an air-bag suspension. 20” custom wheels with new low-profile tires are included and “13” Corvette brakes are up front. We don’t know how this Nomad was equipped when new, but a 265 cubic inch V8 with a 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission would not have been out of the question.

That set-up has been replaced by an LS 5.3-liter engine paired with a 4L60e transmission, so it should perform better than the car did in 1956. But the upgrades don’t stop there, including new wiring, gas tank, LED taillights, CI gauges, and more. The interior has been redone and the seats rebuilt (re-sprung?).

The two-tone paint looks too good to be original, so perhaps it’s an older repaint with patina present. We’re not told any history of this vehicle, and that may be because either the seller doesn’t know or doesn’t think it’s important. But that opens the question of whether the resale value of this Nomad will approach what a restored example might fetch when left stock. The seller is moving, and this Nomad can’t make the trip. It’s in Austin, Texas, and is available here on eBay where the final bid will have to exceed the reserve and $47,600 to seal the deal.

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhessMember

    Nicely done. Not sure why the wagons make such good restomods but they do. The ’56s were great looking in their own right which is obvious with this car.

    Like 15
  2. Rw

    Ghetto wheels and tires don’t get it,IMHO

    Like 18
    • Mike

      Aftermarket wheels always get dated really fast. Best to find something that looks factory or a design based on something from the era.

      Like 15
      • Steve R

        Not really. Wheels with or built around 5 spokes such as American Torq Thrusts, Cragar SS’s, most slot/dish mags, Halibrand’s etc have a timeless style. Look at how many factory wheels followed that basic design principle Magnum 500’s (and offshoots), Pontiac Rally 1’s and 2’s, 69/70 chevy SS wheels, 70 and later Z28 wheels, even the Chevy Rally wheel was built around 5 holes.

        Stance matters too, that often incorporates wheel size as well as tire OD.

        Steve R

        Like 9
      • 57Chevy

        My opinion is………Nomads & Convertible should Restored or left stock

        Like 3
      • 57 Chevy

        I agreed, Put some Stock orig. Wheels & hub caps on this beautiful Nomad~

        Like 0
    • Mikey P

      One can ALWAYS tell someones age by how they hate cool wheels. “ghetto”? Not even close. Times and styles have changed since 15×7 rallys and crager ss’s.

      Like 6
      • Frog

        Really Mikey P? Some trends and fads will never make it into the archives of coolest ideas or inventions ever. Like car record players 8 track players, colored toilet paper I could go on but I’d really be telling my age.

        Like 3
      • Vibhic

        Mikey, I’m 70 and love the “ghetto wheels”.

        Like 4
      • Billy

        ALL REPLYING INDIVIDUALS TO MIKEY.
        Are we all quibbling over wheels mounted on this really exceptional Nomad? ‘Come on you guys, really. No matter what wheels turn yur crank, this is really a nice build. I’m a firm believer in good ‘ol American taste. I don’t care who you are or how you were brought up or what part of the world you came from. This is a very nice 1956 Chevrolet Nomad Restomod. Period.
        If a man has the funds and ambition enough to contact the seller and consumate a deal he is certainly going to have the funds to put whatever wheels he feels necessary to make it appear the way he visualizes the car.

        I luv this site.
        Billy

        Like 4
      • 57Chevy

        If you wanna keep up with the times, buy a New Piece of Crap!

        Like 0
  3. Taco

    Low rider

    Like 5
    • bobhess bobhessMember

      …. until you push the button.

      Like 4
  4. chrlsful

    all ways wondered what trunk spears were for on wagons.
    As seen on the 1 yr C-! and here, just for the visuals I guess.
    If an omage to (stage coach WAGONS – steel strap) I say to pro-
    tect the body from the bumper, hold more weight…

    Like 2
  5. George Birth

    Nice wagon, but way overpriced. I like it but not $47K worth.

    Like 5
    • Philip

      Nice to be 20 years behind the times, try to find a Nomad for $47K, that does not need another $47k to right the ship.

      Like 3
  6. Mark Zello

    No way you could build that car for the kind of money, most people are clueless about the cost to build a car today, a nice paint job is 30k, built a 57 Bel Air restomod a few years ago and spent 170K

    Like 17
    • Al camino

      30k for a paint job !!!! Come on.

      Like 7
      • Frog

        Sounds like a guy charging $30k for a paint job is either behind in child support and is trying to stay out of prison or he has an expensive drug habit. Lot of money for a birds toilet.

        Like 8
      • Dennis6605

        AL camino, In 2014 paint was over $1100 a gallon. My paint job was close to $13,000 and there wasn’t much body work to do.

        Like 3
      • bobhess bobhessMember

        Just bought the paint etc. for our present Sprite build. $540 for quart of paint, thinner, hardener (4 ounces $58), all that with my 10% discount. In the ’80s the paint and labor to do a factory level paint job cost the customer around $6,000. How things have changed.

        Like 2
      • 57Chevy

        5,000 would be more like it! & that would be for the best of everything!

        Like 1
      • Lowell Peterson

        Al, even at $85/hr its easy to hit $30k with rust repair, bodywork and paint . Including materials. And it easy to hit $60k in just rust repair so …….do the math, and decide how much fun you can afford.

        Like 1
      • 57Chevy

        I agree Al. Hey, what ever happened to Earl Scheib’s “We’ll Paint ANY Car” for $ 29.99? Wow! Am I dating myself or What?

        Like 0
  7. rbig18

    This one you might be able to build for that kind of money. I get your point but this one has not had a paintjob and is more a patina look. It does have an LS swap, air bags and disk brakes. Not cheap but not 40K either especially if that is a junkyard LS and tranny. I like the car, prettiest dashboard of any 50’s car in my opinion. I would drive it and swap the engine to a SBC at some point but no rush.

    Like 5
    • 57 Chevy

      I would swap the engine for a Stock, Original ’56 265 & put original wheels back on it with ’55 Olds spinner hub caps!

      Like 0
  8. Patrick

    I Like the color combo, engine choice and transmission. Interior is very nicely done. The wheels are not my cup of tea, I don’t like tea.

    The air bag suspension is a cool idea, Corvette rallys would look good. Price wise if it is totally free of rust, everything work well and clear glass, I think for a 68 year old car it’s priced right.

    Like 3
  9. Tom Bell

    Another one bites the dust–just sad.

    Like 3
  10. Big C

    It only has that “coveted” patina on one side? Must have parked her drtivers side facing south.

    Like 1
  11. Frog

    Never been a fan of lowered or lifted cars or trucks. Cars with undersized or oversized tires. I wonder if insurance companies are lied to about such mods. I realize some like to add their personal touches to vehicles but to each their own. Mechanical upgrades are great (drive train) for obvious reasons but you can keep the customized flames graphics flat finished paint overdone pin striping etc. If the manufacturer opted it to be that way then it would have been done so

    Like 5
    • Al camino

      It’s your car now not the manufactures car you can do any thing you want to everybody’s not a robot and lives a boring life!!!

      Like 8
      • Frog

        You are correct Al camino but I think you either missed or over read my 5th sentence. You can order special custom touches or features from the factory if you have deep pockets to do so such as Rolls Royces or other more money than brains buyers. But for the down to earth earthlings not so.
        I have to disagree with you about being a boring robot. It’s not my thing to follow the masses just because its the trend or fad and sometimes irreversible. Many tend to follow things like sheep or lemur right off of a cliff without any understanding or reason. Popularity maybe?

        Like 2
    • Big C

      The beauty of being an automobile enthusiast? Is that you can make something that was mass produced, your own. When those Road Runners, Torino Cobras and Chevelle SS396’s came home from the dealer? Almost no one left them totally un-customized.

      Like 3
      • Frog

        There is beauty in that no doubting that. But you said a key thing enthusiast. Two people can pick up an instrument lets say a guitar. While one can really bring out beautiful sounding music and the other unpleasant irritating noise it’s not going to appeal to everyones if anyones ear. I apply that same logic to a tastefully custom car. I wouldn’t take a chance buying a over the top drug dealers car not knowing who he has taken advantage of and is looking for him or the car is known by law enforcement.

        Like 0
  12. Drifter

    It is a NOMAD! Not just a ‘wagon’. Look it up.

    Like 3
  13. 57 Chevy

    Someone will grab this one up Price is not outrageous as some on this site. If it were mine, I would bring it all back to ORIGINAL. I guess I’m boring to most, but I love the way Chevrolet produced them!!!

    Like 3
  14. mainlymuscle

    No one loves vintage /nostalgia more than I ,right up until it relates to one’s thought processes.Regardless of your taste in wheels or modern power swaps ,the market for a clean Nomad STARTS at $50-60k !
    Add $20k for LS conversion ,$10k for a mint interior (just try to find all that chrome ) .Anything less than $75,000 for this is a bargain.Make mine a 57 in a darker blue,but this featured car is a beauty .

    Like 4
  15. Billy

    Hasn’t this Nomad been posted here recently?

    I just read all of the comments. Agree with some disagree with some.
    My take? The car is what it is. I don’t think that any of us would not enjoy the overall beauty and body lines of the “5” lines Chevy Nomad wagons. Personally, I don’t think that the price is too unreasonable when you take into account the stroke of the artists brush.
    I love it!

    Like 3
    • BillCinMA

      I would be embarrassed driving this, because onlookers would think I am proud of owning it.

      Like 0
  16. Dr Ron

    Low sales numbers were due to buyers looking at wagons had families and four doors simply made more sense.

    The “patina” looks to only be greasy hand prints on the left quarter panel…

    Wide painted steel wheels with Biscayne poverty caps would have looked a lot better IMO.

    I’m glad I learned automotive body work and refinishing from super pros.

    Excluding panel corrections I could prep and shoot this car in single stage polyurethane myself for under $2,000 in Materials and wet sand and buff once cured.

    But these days motorcycle parts are a lot easier and take up a lot less room for prep and paint.

    Like 4
    • Elviscamino

      The PPG rep told me less than $2,000 in materials for the same. Seems like most of these high estimates are for the low skill level high check book market. Either you know how to do body work or put someone else’s kids through collage.

      Like 0
  17. Billy

    Holy Moly! The comments on this car are turning into a “Dueling Banjos” contest. Wow you guys!

    Like 2
    • Frog

      Everyones medication hasn’t kicked in yet

      Like 3
  18. Billy

    AND, May I please add. As per usual, VERY NICE write-up Russ Dixon.

    Like 1
  19. Billy

    The ebay listing has ended. No sale.

    Like 2
  20. 57 Chevy

    I would swap the engine for a Stock, Original ’56 265 & put original wheels back on it with ’55 Olds spinner hub caps!

    Like 0
  21. Joe Haska

    Billy thanks for your comments, now I don’t have to respond . Ditto on Billy from Joe

    Like 0
  22. Dan D

    Well said Billy! I’m 68 and can appreciate the nomad just the way it sits.I would love to have it in my garage!

    Like 1
  23. Billy

    Thanks to all for the kind words.

    Like 0

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Get new comment updates via email. Or subscribe without commenting.

Barn Finds