SEMA Candidate? 1957 Chevrolet Nomad

Normally, I don’t get too wound up about a Chevrolet Nomad. I used to but I have encountered so many over the years that they warrant nary a glance any more. This 1957 example, however, caught my attention. Not so much the car, more the listing. Let’s look at it closely and see what you think. It is located in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, and is available, here on craigslist for $30,000 (probably U.S.). Thanks to Ron for this tip!

Straight up, this one is a roller. The seller states that it comes with a 327 V8 engine of unknown and incorrect provenance and an automatic transmission. There are no included images so it’s impossible to say what the buyer will be acquiring. Interestingly, this is a three-pedal car so it had a manual transmission at some point in its past. Unless you are going for a major high point restoration, the original engine doesn’t matter and many of today’s existing Nomads got a divorce from their original powerplants long ago so it’s not that pertinent an issue. But what is pertinent is the condition of whatever motor is being thrown-in as it may be well beyond salvaging. Same for the transmission, is it a Powerglide? If so, why bother?

The body of this Nomad is not great. The seller states that it has a “solid body”. That’s just not true; there is visible evidence of rust-through in the lower passenger door and rocker panel – and that’s just what can be spied via the accompanying images. Rust abounds and the passenger-side quarter panel has had a run-in with something unmoveable though the seller states that he has a replacement. He also claims that he has all of the stainless trim and that’s helpful. Much of the sighted rust is topical and surface in nature but the interior clearly reveals images of complete rust-through, requiring floor replacement at the very least.

Speaking of the interior, there isn’t any, it’s gutted. There isn’t even a steering wheel. And it appears unlikely that any of the interior components exist or at least they’re not referenced in the listing. Admittedly, it’s a blank canvas for someone to completely personalized if that’s the buyer’s game but everything will be needed, absolutely everything.

Here’s the rub, $30K for this, really? The seller states, “Or let’s build a SEMA car. I’ll give a better price if I build it for you. I have some wicked plans and designs for this and can get most of everything donated through sponsorship. You would save over 50k on parts through my shop if you purchased the car and had me build it for you. Very rare car!”. There are so many warnings here, if this fellow has such wicked plans, then why not undertake them and just do it? Reap the full benefit, what’s stopping that from happening? The seller is Classic Customs and Hot Rods so clearly the ability is there. A SEMA car? Some would consider that a great way to ruin a nice old car that deserves a much better fate. This Nomad is unfortunately stuck, no one is going to pay $30K for this hulk and most people don’t want to spend, and cannot afford to spend, so much more for a custom job. Now you see how this listing attracts attention. And no, it is not a very rare car, especially with the self-admission that it is one of 6,534 produced. It is not everyday common but not very rare either. I say, “Free the Nomad!” What says you?

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    Free the Nomad indeed. Or better yet “free Nomad” even then it wouldn’t be free for long, custom or original, one would likely have more into it than it could sell for. Get it cheap, build a mild custom and drive it every day with no plans to get rich.

    • 57Chevy

      GOOD thing profanity & personal attacks are not allowed! IF I had a ’57 Nomad, I would offer the asking ,price MINUS 2 Zeros!!!!! As a Parts car!

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Maybe the seller needs the big bucks to pay the hospital bill after filling his lungs with all the dirt, rust, etc. in an unsuccessful attempt to clean it up. Gets the weekly “you’ve got to be kidding” award.

    • Classic Steel

      Another B Jackson watcher and dreamer ..

      Yeah, sing with me, sing for the year
      Sing for the laughter, sing for the tear
      Sing with me, if it’s just for today
      Maybe tomorrow, the good Lord will take you away
      Dream on
      Dream on
      Dream on
      Dream until your dreams come true
      Dream on
      Dream on
      Dream on
      Dream until your dream come through
      Dream on
      Dream on

  3. TimM

    I don’t know about the good body thing!! If you media blast that floor there might not be to much left and the passenger side quarter is going to take time and money!! I would probably be a player if it were below $10,000 but I don’t really want to build a car that costs as much as a condo in Florida!!! However you can’t drive your condo but you can live in your car!! Some wives might agree if you tell them you paid $30K for this!!!

  4. Nomader55

    I just sold a rust free 57 Nomad roller from AZ a month ago for $15K. It was 10 times better shape than this one. B. J. has ruined our hobby.

    • TimM

      Do you have another one Nomader55????

      • Nomader 55

        TimM. I do have more Nomads, but not for sale yet.

  5. P


    You’ve got a better chance of seeing Paul Lynde JUNIOR.

    • William Shields

      Being a long time Paul Lynde fan that one made my day, my month and probably one of the few belly laughs I’ve had this year.

      Thank You P!

      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        For those youngsters out there, Paul Lynde was a long ago TV celebrity, variety show host, light in the loafers center square on Hollywood Squares and a warlock on Bewitched. If’n he had any progeny it wasn’t likely from the normal breeding route. But c’mon we need to come up with a more current, topical scapegoat. RuPaul?

    • 57Chevy

      This thing makes the Bonnie & Clyde car look like a Show Car!

  6. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    There’s a 57 for sale local – mostly all there but drive train – he’s been fishing for $25,000 for over a year.


    $30,000 Canadian works out to $22,055 US. Horrendously overpriced. As much as I see a restoration costing, I wouldn’t take it if it was free.

  8. JimmyJ

    This beater is right around the corner from me I could check it out if anyone’s interested…..or I could save us both some time and tell you it must be some kind of bad joke.
    You’d lose money if it was free
    If a shop will ‘build’ it for you then you know they can’t even do it without being under water.
    This guy makes me embarrassed to be Canadian.
    All I can say is ‘sorry’😆

    • Dusty Stalz

      I’m in Surrey. We say “sorry, eh” haha.

    • 57Chevy

      No problem Jimmy J…. there are dreamers & nut cases in every country in the world! Simply consider the source!

    • 57Chevy

      No problem Jimmy J. There are dreamers in All countries! One man’s dream is sometimes Another man’s nightmare!!!

  9. Murray Shane

    B.J. Has not ruined our hobby. It’s the people bidding. No one is forcing anyone to keep bidding on a particular car. The nice thing about Barrett Jackson is when you go there it is a no reserve auction so you actually can buy a car there unlike other auctions where you must meet the owners reserve price. I go quite often to B.J. Auction and have bought a few cars there. I just do my homework first and pay what I think is right or I don’t get the car. B.J. Just brings the cars all together and what a great show. 800-1800 vehicles to view all in one place and all for sale at No Reserve. Pay what you want or don’t buy it. Don’t blame the auction if you want a car and you pay high dollar for it. you have control of raising your arm to bid. Quit blaming everyone else for what you can’t afford and want. Grow up and deal with it. I love to hear about cars and read these great write ups about these barn finds but tired of hearing everyone complain about high prices. Home prices always go up and if you can’t afford the house don’t go blaming the real estate company because they have all these listings and comp them out for the highest dollar. Car, house, what ever…..if you like it and can afford it then buy it…If you can’t then have a great dream about it and put it on your wish list…if you want it bad enough but it and pay cash or finance it. Just quit bawling about it and enjoy these great articles. I’m done now. Happy reading everyone.

    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      @Murray Shane. I agree with most of your thoughts and thank you for the “inside the tent” Barrett-Jackson perspective. I think what aggravates a lot of Barn Find members is as the name suggests this site is a source of fresh out of the chicken coop/impound lot/equipment shed farm fresh project cars. Lately, it seems we are seeing low mileage survivors sitting inside dealer showrooms, or literal basketcase 356s, VW buses and Super Bees listed as barn finds or simply misrepresented and overpriced. I’m entertained by the televised auctions but may never get to witness one in person…who knows, maybe nobody will ever attend a crowded, sweaty, classic car auction in a tent ever again with nasty viruses floating around.

  10. Don Sicura

    Wow, I gotta call the bank & remortgage the house.

    • 57Chevy

      Wow! I’m gonna call the man in “The White Suit” for you Don. Just kidding! I KNOW you’re not for Real!

  11. Big Mike

    30K… Dear Lord

  12. James Martin

    Look mom a I listed like you told me to. But no response. I can’t imagine why. Please do us all a favor, and quit trying to pawn this turd on us as a golden trinket.

  13. MarkOh!

    No. Just no.

  14. Maestro1 Member

    This is exactly why I don’t own a tri 50s Chevrolet. The prices are ridiculous.

  15. Blue Analyst

    My Father-in-Law is in the final stages of completing a beautiful frame off restoration of a 57 Chevy Convertible Continental package car black with red interior that he bought for a little over $4,000 in about the same shape as this Nomad. It will be an absolutely beautiful car when finished and he has over $35,000 in just parts in it. Anyone who buys that Nomad for that price needs to have his head examined. They will be upside down in it before it ever hits the street.

  16. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Sounds like the guy from rust valley on Netflix. He’s in British Columbia and he has a yard full of old beaters😊.
    God bless America

  17. 57chevy

    After I saw This, I also say….. God Bless Canada!

  18. Vance

    This guy must have gone to The Beer Store ( it used to be Brewers Retail ), and got a couple of two fours, a couple packs of Players Lights, and then back to Mum and Daads house, and got real pissed eh? Then his 25 watt bulb burnt out and he wrote this article. Everyone thinks their car is worth more than it is, but this guy has real issues.

  19. deak stevens

    People are really out of their minds when asking g these outrageous prices,if that was mine I’d pay to watch it shredded.

  20. 57Chevy

    I believe listing a car on Craig’s List is Not Free! I highly suggest the seller Cancel his ad before he gets too deep in debt with Craig’s List! No one is gonna pay this kind of money for this piecer when you could buy one that’s at least complete & drivable!

  21. vintagehotrods

    The seller of this car is completely nuts! I sold my ’57 Nomad for $20,000 about six years ago after I made my move to Prescott, Arizona from South Dakota. I had owned it almost twenty years but I didn’t have my shop built yet here to store it and I couldn’t stand seeing it sit outside. It had zero rust and was a no hit car with no dents. I was going to do a complete frame off restoration and figured I would have $50K or more into it doing most of the work myself after I added up the cost of paint, chrome, interior, glass, rubber seals and small parts. I was overwhelmed with my move at the time so I hated selling it but reality set in and I just didn’t have time for it.

    Here’s it is:

  22. Robert Davis

    with a price like that its either a scam or the seller really doesn’t want to sell it, nobody in there right mind would give 30K for that you can buy a one already done for around 35/40k

  23. Charles F Sutton

    Pardon my ignorance, but what is SEMA?

    • Jim ODonnell Jim ODonnell Staff


      No worries, it stands for Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association – the members of SEMA are car/custom/hot rod parts, actual customizers, and accessory manufacturers. They have a big, annual convention in Las Vegas where they judge outrageously modified cars and there are usually on-going projects that actually occur at the session.


    • 57Chevy

      Charles, when you find out, let Me know too?

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