Rusty Potential: 1955 Chevy Nomad

If this old Nomad listed on eBay was any other car, it might not be worth restoring but these have been desirable since the 1960s and are easily six figure cars when restored. There aren’t many of these Nomads left unmolested and unloved, so thanks to “PS Photog” for the tip on this Nomad. It has been sitting for over 20 years and will need lots of work. Bidding is over $15,ooo with the reserve not met. The original engine and transmission are long gone and there’s rust in the usual areas and in the roof. The trim appears very complete though and much of the interior is intact.

The interior looks better that you might expect. The upholstery is a mess, but the dash is complete and the door panels look OK. A stock steering wheel is easily sourced.

It looks like the interior is mostly complete and in decent shape.

There is no information provided on the engine except it’s not the original.

This Nomad will possibly be purchased by someone with deep pockets and restored into a great show car. However, parts are easily available and if the rust is confined to just the floors and the roof, one might dream of a project more of us could afford. I would repair the roof, patch the floors, add a modern drivetrain, upgrade the brakes and suspension and do the upholstery. Then repaint the top white and polish the paint a bit and enjoy the car while it appreciates. That shouldn’t eat up too much of my retirement savings, right?



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  1. Mr. Bond


  2. James

    Rusty? Looks fairly solid to me.

    THIS is what a rusty Nomad looks like

  3. Brad C

    No offense to those that own these ‘tri-fives’, but I’m SO tired of looking at them. We’ve distilled our imagination and recollection of the 50s to the point where it solely exists of ’57 Chevys, Elvis singing ‘Hound dog’, black and white checkered floor tiles and a reproduction Coke sign.


    • redwagon

      @Brad C – i tend to agree with you but realize that this is exactly how history works. the folks who live it recall lots about it. those that come after hear a bit less and tend to forget lots of what they hear. when history is recorded mostly the highlights are touched upon.

      the fact that folks now think that the tri-fives (see? even just that is sufficient to identify chevrolet 210s to bel aires. did chevy even make any other models besides these and the corvette?) were what everyone wanted for transportation in the 50s underscores the point. with the exception of some wildly futuristic (?) chrysler products, i could not identify what a mid to late 50s ford looks like.

      recognize that brief history in time for what it was – ground breaking in terms of automotive design, function and functionality.

      • Joe Muzy

        I agree with Brad

    • waynard

      Got that right.

    • Dovi65

      I’m with you on that point. The Tri-5s are nice, but there seem to be more out there for sale than were originally built by Chevy. They were never my ‘thing’ .. I’m more partial to the big luxo land yachts

  4. Skloon

    Surprised dynacorn hasn’t a new body for these

    • redwagon

      @skloon that is a really good point. cannot imagine why they wouldn’t. it would sell esp with the parts availability for other portions that were interchangeable.

  5. Joe Haska

    I think this Nomad would be the perfect car. if you wanted to build a modified Nomad, which I would! Of course the sell price is going to determine if that’s possible, and I expect this car to go for more than most of us would like to pay

  6. Rustytech Member

    It doesn’t look all that rusty to me. I’d like to know more about the engine in it, looks like it was built in the late 60’s or early 70’s. 327 maybe? I think this will sell for between $25 and $30k. While I have always liked the tri five Chevy’s, And have owned 3 of them over the years, I too am at the stage where I want something different. Every car show I go to has dozens of these, I’d like to park that Lincoln above right in the middle of them.

  7. Yellowjax Member

    To each his own. I love mgbgt’s. I’ll go to a British car show and see lots of them but still enjoy looking at them all. That show day ends and I’m back to the regular world and can go months without seeing one.

  8. Jay Bree

    Too much 55 Chevy is never going to happen!

    • Woodie Man

      Okay throttle back the crazy….lol….I always figured those flashing the popguns were short in other areas if you git mah drift. Besides which I like tri 5’s…. had a ’56…not the end of the world but still nice cars.

  9. Tyler

    I’m not sure about other regions of the country, but around my area, tri-fives of all types have depreciated quite a bit over the last 10 years. A friend of mine turned down over 100k for his mint 56 Nomad back then, & when he decided to sell it 3 or 4 years ago, struggled to get 60k. Two years ago, my father in law sold his nice unrestored 55 2 door post car for 7k. He had owned it for over 30 years, & was a nice driver with minimum rust. You can buy the cars much cheaper already finished than you can build one like this.

    Camaros, Chevelles, Mustangs & of course Mopars are still hot of course. But right now, a nice 65-70 Impala will bring more than a comparable 55-57 Belair. And if it’s a big block, it will sell for much more. Even a nice square body pickup that brought 5 grand 5 years ago is a double digit truck now while nice 67-72’s are skyrocketing.

    Other regions may be different, but that’s the way it is around here.

  10. TJP

    For a 60 + year old car that looks like a dream project for a restorer or rodder. James post/ pic shows a car with rust issues IMO.

  11. steve m

    Im not a “tri-five” fan myself, as said above I do think they are way over hyped. The 55 was cool, and kinda groundbreaking, the ’56 with the goofy gascap was???….well a ’55 with a cool taillight housing that never worked quite right, and for the “Iconic” ’57 there is not a line on it I like. That said this Nomad looks rather nice. Before I am labeled a Chevy hater, there are many nice Chevys before and after the tri-5’s, and truth told, if I ever came into “real” money, my first purchase would be a ’57 convertible for my father, he is in his 70’s now and had one with the Rochester FI in high school. I would love to replace that car for him.

  12. Alan (Michigan)

    Other than the spot on the roof, and the bubbles in a door, this car does not appear rusty to me at all. Sure, water sat in the floor for a while, so work is needed there. But look how clean the frame is! Someone took the body off the frame and refurb’d it a while back, and they did a good job. Look at the frame section seen via the LR wheel opening in the 2nd photo.

    Restored many years ago, I think, like 70’s. Warmed over small block (327 is my guess too) with Holley carb (exhaust heat riser choke, vacuum secondary) on the Weiand intake, flex fan, headers, mechanical water temperature gauge….

    Bet you could even get the blue paint to shine, if you wanted to just do some fixing and drive the car.

  13. Gary Chittenden

    The real wheel fender radius looks as if it’s full of bondo. It probably needs a lot more than it seems. Even with high prices, I think that you may only be able to break even.

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