1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad Project

For a brief period in the mid-1950s, there was a genre called the “sport wagon”. Chevy had the Nomad, Pontiac the Safari, and Ford the Parklane. GM got there in 1955, Ford in 1956, and all three were gone after 1957. These were 2-door wagons that – in the case of GM – had their own unique bodies rear of the windshield. Not big sellers then, they’re highly sought after today, especially the Nomad. The ’57 edition looks to be an original car that has been in storage for more than 40 years. It has some rust that must be fixed, but it looks to be complete. Located in North Franklin, Connecticut, this wagon is available here on eBay where the next bid must exceed $11,600 and the reserve is yet to be met.

The Nomad was born out of a 1954 concept car based on the Corvette. Rather than using that sports car’s roots going forward, Chevy elected to base the new wagon on the upscale Bel Air when all the big Chevies were redesigned for 1955. The front clip and trim level are all Bel Air, but the back half of the wagon is its own, only shared with the Pontiac Safari and no other GM wagons. Sales would tally up to just under 23,000 for the wagon’s three-year run, so it wouldn’t return when the cars were again reworked in 1958. However, the name would pop up again later a more conventional 4-door wagon.

We don’t know if the seller bought this wagon to restore it himself or just flip it, but he has done no work on it since he got it about a year ago. The black paint, which may or may not be original, is past its prime and the bright ware is either going to need replacing or re-chroming. We’re told it had been living in a barn since 1980 and the seller has its original license plates and paperwork from the last registered owner.

While we’re told the frame is good, the floorboards have holes peeping through them. So, unless you plan to drive it like Fred Flintstone, new floor pans will have to be sourced and installed. The interior, likely original, is not in terrible shape, but bad enough that it will have to be redone. There is a V8 under the hood that the seller thinks is a 283, for which 1957 was its first year on the market. It’s paired with an automatic transmission, which would have to be the 2-speed Powerglide. Mileage is either 71,000 or 171,000 depending on what the previous owner’s records might tell you.

These wagons can command some big bucks when beautifully original or restored. Six figures are not uncommon for one of these vehicles. If you’ve been looking for a Nomad to restore, this is one of the better examples we’ve seen on Barn Finds the past few months.


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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It’s going to take a lot of work for the rust, panel replacements, mechanical rebuilding, paint and everything else that goes with it. It could become a great driver but it will take work and $$ IMO.

    Like 3
  2. Bick Banter

    These ’57s, particularly this and the Bel Air, were white hot starting in the mid-1970s through maybe mid-80s. Prices have gradually come down since as the market which coveted them faded. This could serve as a cautionary tale for today’s 1960s muscle cars.

    Like 5
  3. Mike

    Throw in the cinder block and we got a deal!

    Like 2
  4. Jay E. Member

    It was on BF a couple of weeks ago.

    Like 2
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Good catch, Jay E. It made it up to $18,100 that time around with Reserve Not Met.

      It’s at $21,100 now and Reserve is off.

  5. Troy

    Wonder if you could do a package deal and get that 55,56 yellow wagon in the background too


    My brother-in-law was from California and first time he came home with my sister from college, he pulls up in a ‘57 Nomad. A black lacquered hand rubbed, mirror glass beauty. Hurst 4 speed, tufted red leather interior, true knockoff spoke wheels with General redlines. A 427 monster. It was incredible. One of those you wish you could keep forever. I wish he had. When he pulled up in that, I knew I’d like him. He married her, got his DDS and been in the family 55+ years.

    Like 4
  7. George Richardson

    Looking at all the surface rust in the engine compartment, I wonder how wet the “storage” barn was.

    Like 4
  8. gaspumpchas

    Looks like some ugliness on the roof in the rear corners? Cant tell but its at least dented , possible rot there. Sure has a lot of promise. Good luck and stay safe,

  9. CenturyTurboCiupe

    Last one I seen in person was outside Massey, Ontario in 1991 in the shape of a horseshoe. I assume some equipment was used to push the driver side around the trunk of a tree!

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