Stored 47 Years: 1959 Chevrolet Nomad

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While this four door 1959 Nomad probably doesn’t set off all your alarms the way the iconic two door models do, it has a nice original vibe and will probably cost a lot less. It’s up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is up to $12,000 and there’s no reserve. Natchitoches, Louisiana (thank you for cut/paste capability!) is where this Nomad lives until the end of the auction.

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You’ll see that Chevy managed to carry the fins from the standard models onto the wagon shell. I remember getting one of these as a 1/43 diecast (sedan, not wagon) and thinking those were the most unusual fins I had ever seen.  The storage for 47 years I can believe, but if you do the math that means this car only had 10 years on the road–so far! The seller assures us that this is the original paint, and for once I can believe that.

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It’s hard to believe that the folks that did such a nice job of creating the iconic 2-door Nomad shape were also responsible for this shape. Not that it’s ugly, at least in my opinion, but it is so obviously just tacked on to the sedan. My opinion only; your mileage may vary and viewer discretion advised! The whitewall tires are not included; the seller will put the car on “rollers” (presumably worn out tires) and three original rims. I’m guessing there’s a fourth rim that isn’t original, otherwise the transport is going to get pretty complicated!

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The seller seems more interested in showing that the Nomad still has a reasonable floor than worrying about the interior, and I can understand that. I’m still guessing that localized repair will be necessary to keep the seats from falling through the floor at some future point. Look at this as a nice opportunity to access things!

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This is the original 283, connected to a Powerglide. The seller says it not only doesn’t run, but will have to be rebuilt. I would be tempted to throw a junkyard 350 in for the moment to get the car running and take my time rebuilding the original 283. What about you?

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Comments

  1. rdc

    Got to be one of the most awkward designs I have ever seen.

    • Brad C

      I’d put the top-heavy ’57 Studebaker / Packard wagon and late 40’s Packard woody wagons on that list too. Long-roofs offer up so much opportunity for stretched out, sinuous lines. These are just clunky.

    • Will Fox

      You have to remember this was 1959; tail fins were all the rage! GM’s radical `59 models were in response to Chrysler’s “Forward Look” cars that came out in `57. The `59 Chevys have a very loyal following today, incl. yours truly. This Nomad wagon is very rare, and they were simply driven into the ground as a family workhorse back then. I’d love to own this.

  2. 68 custom

    looks good to me would make a nice cruiser, even has power steering. I like it bat wings and all! BTW I think the hubcaps are from a 62 fullsize chevy.

  3. JCW Jr.

    Unusual looking. Swap in a LS get interior done update brakes and drive it.

    • Palandi

      my thoughts exactly. well done, Sir.

  4. Woodie Man

    Amazing that it has been bid to 12K…………another ten k or so to make it usable and purty and you’ll be upside down big time. The market has definitely left me in the dust.

  5. MorganW Morgan Winter Member

    Wow it’s ugly! And for 12k it doesn’t even run? No, thanks!

  6. Mark S Member

    It really looks like GM decided to divert some Sedans to a different line and weld an extension onto this roof line. I’m not against station wagons in fact some look quit good but this is some kind of ugly.

  7. Terry J

    I’ll never forget that morning…..the 7th grade and our teacher Mr Nibler came driving in in a brand new bright red on red ’59 Impala 2 door hardtop. What a stunning car. It made everything else in the parking lot look dull in comparison.Don’t remember the drivetrain, but it was a V8. Had a friend in later years (circa 1965) that had a ’59 2 door post with a 348 tri power and a Turbo Glide tranny. Did you know that the Fuel Injected V8 was available in ’59? Never saw one, but did have a 1959 Popular Mechanics magazine that had a full page advertisement of that car. Years ago there was an article in Car Craft that listed the years that fuel injection was available in Chevy sedans and it stopped at 1957. I sent in a copy of that advertisement to “Letters to the Editor” and they reprinted it with considerable surprise.
    Though the fin design appeared to be very streamlined, in NASCAR they found that those fins actually caused lift in the rear at high speed. :-) Terry J

  8. larry b

    I love it, all style’s of 1959 chevy the only year for cat’s eye tail lights 😸

  9. ccrvtt

    1959 was the Year of Flamboyancy for GM: Cadillac’s iconic fins, Pontiac’s split front end, Oldsmobile’s dainty fins, Chevy’s cat’s eyes, and Buick’s extravagant but well-integrated look. I could never really understand how anyone could buy one of the Chevys. They seemed too far out there. I was a Ford guy at the time (9 year-old Ford guy), so I was totally biased. Chevy’s look is arguably more radical than Cadillac’s but Cadillac seems to have the more enduring fan base.

    One thing for sure – you could tell what kind of car it was from miles behind.

  10. Silas

    I would rather have this wagon with it’s “tacked on” roof than the sedan. I have a 1962 Renken runabout boat with the same style bent-over fins. They would look perfect together.

  11. JW

    While I like the car the price seems high for the work needed for a non collectible car.

  12. hearsetrax

    I’ll take this over a ’59 barfallac any day of the week

    this is just begging for LS swap or duramax

  13. Steve

    You do realize that “junkyard 350s” basically no longer exist, right? GM hasnt used a gen 1 350 since the vortec 350 in 1999 “classic” trucks. I think they were in vans til 2002. Any 350 you find in any older car will most pikely need to rebuilt. A crate engine is an alternative. They can be had for less than $2k.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Sorry they aren’t where you are…a quick Craigslist look in my area yielded 5 running small block GM engines for <$700.

      • 68 custom

        they are out there, though it’s best to find one that is in a car and runs so you can assess it’s condition.

  14. David Samuels

    Love it to death! Yank that 283, this puppy is dying for a 348 dual quad. And don’t anybody complain about that being a boat anchor of an engine. It belongs here. Sigh. Okay, LS is much more practical. Look at those rear quarter glasses. Incredible.

    • starsailing

      Without a doubt a 348 is a simple choice to slide in there. Torqueamundie resides within that 348 block and was a factory option. I ran a bored out 58 348 tripower as a daily driver for 38 years on the street. If you are just going to go with a small block, rebuild the 283 and bolt back in. The world does not need another 350 engine swap. zzzzzzzzz If not going with a factory engine try a stockish 409, 396-454 engine and go for gobs of torque and stock engine reliability. Plenty of used 66-7 Caprices to pluck a big block complete running engine from. Resale with a 348 up will be better down the road. Eye candy a side bonus! Sure you can get all the parts and see examples through http://www.349-409.com. Enough 348’s on the site to prove not a boat anchor!
      We had a neighbor across the street that would always try to top dad everytime dad bought a car. Engvil did not need a new car but Beatrice made him go get another car everytime. Dad brought home a turquoise 58 Edsel Bermuda w/chrome roof rack, the neighbors saw it….went out and bought the new 59 chev wagon golden brown and white top with 283 glide. Mom made dad take back the Edsel after another neighbor made fun of it….Dad brought home a 59 Ford wagon 352 300h.p. which made Engvil try to take back the 59 chev to get a bigger engine. . As drunk Engvil pulled his wagon out of the garage he had driver door open and door caught the garage…sprung the door and creased the fender! He was stuck with the slower 59 chev for years! 50’s wagons rock!

  15. Tom Member

    I love all the 59 chevys but this one is just not doing it for me. looks a bit Frankenstein-ish like someone “made it” out of something else. I am sure others love it. that is why there is chocolate and vanilla. Woodie Man nailed it, too much money for what it will take to get it on the road at any level. It will go to the person that loves the car no matter the price.

  16. Bellingham Fred

    No interior because it was most likely destroyed in a flood. You really can’t tell from the pics, but if I were a buyer I would look very carefully.

    • Clinton

      This one almost certainly got wet as you say. Look at the bottom corner of the door panel and the outline of the rust on the driver side floor pan. I’m guessing this is why it’s on abother set of wheels with incorrect hubcaps. Are the 3 factory wheels even in his photos? I’d bet they are trashed. Anyhow cool wagon and it would be pretty cool with the interor replaced with something at least bearable and a Duramax swap as mentioned above.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      Original paint?
      I’d be absolutely shocked if the rockers have not been redone, especially on the driver’s side. One look at the interior side panel to the left of the driver’s footwell will give you an idea on just how porous parts of this car might be. Just go to the steering wheel photo and look low and left. Yikes!

  17. Neil

    Over 12 K, reserve not met, and the guy is gonna put crap tires on it? Don’t get me wrong, many BF’s come on total flats, but he’s asking prime dollars and is gonna yank the wheels and tires that are already on it?

    • Alan (Michigan)

      My thoughts exactly.

      Unbelievable cheap attitude. To me, even though new, the tires on it look like the tow/trailer/transport tires. Not big bucks rubber at all.

      Someone here is looking for a home run on this sale.

  18. cyclemikey

    It doesn’t look “ugly” or “awkward” at all to me. But that may be because I was present at the creation, so to speak. It just looks like a ’59 Chevy wagon, of which there were many running around, seems like just a few years ago…..

    I’d look a little askance at any car from Louisiana, but especially, as Fred points out, a possible flood car.

    I also have a personal rule against buying cars from sellers who take off the tires before they hand over the car. WTF is that?

    Like 1
    • Woodie Man

      damn good point. Years ago I bought a ’63 Pontiac Le Mans convertible sight unseen ( yeas Im a dummy) from Oklahoma. Extensive communication with seller by primitive early email, pix and phone calls convinced me I could trust the guy. When it arrived on a flatbed in Fontana, the car sat on 4 mismatched bald tires which werent the ones in the pix…with no indication the seller intended a switcheroo. A whole lott of bs hemming and hawing later the owner offered to take the car back if I shipped it to him on my dime. What an ahole. Kept the car and had a blast but…caveat emptor…..

  19. Tom Driscoll

    Ugly to me, but i said that about the pacer which I now love…interesting that the pwr steering pump was attached to the generator like the mopars were in the 50’s. One can only imagine what a good resto could do for this car???

  20. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Sheeeeus…doesn’t run and at over 10 grand…..? Time to list my wagon !

  21. Big Rob

    These 59 and 60 Chevy wagons are very desirable amongst the traditional hot rod and custom clan. Here are two examples of what they can look like with a little love and attention.

  22. charlie Member

    The cat’s eye tail light lenses were subject to easy breaking, and were expensive to buy replacements, so in ’59 – ’60 many NY City taxis were “59’s but with a flat piece of red plastic for the tail light lense.

  23. moosie Craig

    I saw this one at a Good Guys car show back in 2010 or so, my daughter saw it and wanted to buy it, 8K if I remember correctly, that one ran, the owner drove it from Philly to the show in Long Pond Pa. ,,, Pocono Raceway. I dont really see where the comments about it being an “akward” design come from ?

    Like 1
  24. GRAY WOLF

    When was the last time you saw a nice ’59 wagon at a show or even on the road! Living in Cali you see a lot of unmolested rust free cars, but not many ’59 wagons especially along the coast that the surfers load with surfboards. At the Nostalgia Drags @ Bakerfield I saw about five of which three were pushcars for dragsters. My Son & I commented that we’ve not seen that many in one place! One of the best was a 348-409 with Tri-power,SWEET! Everyone seems to be on the right page about price, a little high to start with no interior and a boat anchor for a motor. Nice project if price was reasonable!!

  25. Tom S.

    You could get three Pacers and an Aztek or two for that kind of dough.

    I think the ’59 El Camino is one of the coolest looking cars of all time, but this model’s wagon shape leaves me cold.

  26. Ralph H.

    Nothing like a cheap ploy by not including tires to ruin a sale…seen similiar instances on craigslist where the seller wants to keep the new battery or charge you extra for the weathertechs…how silly….

    • Neil

      Agreed…
      The best looking thing on this post is the wheels/ tires, then to nickel dime on them? I wouldn’t do business with this type of guy just on principle..

      • Chebby

        Which means he had new tires mounted on a car that doesn’t run, just so he could push it onto the lawn for pics because they’re the nicest looking part of the car, and then take them off again. Hmmm.

        Love the 59’s though, this could be cool.

  27. Ck

    Kool car, way to much $$$$$. Please it doesnt even run .Besides there have been so many wagons on barn finds lately.Most were in much better shape and a better deal to boot.This car is worth 6K tops.

  28. Rolf Poncho 455

    Nice so nice I want it so much “badass wagon”

  29. James

    I thought the Nomad name was dropped after the 1957 model year? I have a 1959 chevy Brookwood 2 door wagon and would love to sell it to someone who will rod it up.

  30. slickimp

    I had a 60 nomad back in mid to late 80s a friend neighbor had it for sale I think I paid 500 for it. Had the 348 pwr glide with duel exhaust. Look pretty good but had bondo in it. Remember I had it about a week or so and my friends and I were going to take up north 120 miles or so . Well day before we were going rear end started making nose well didn’t take it . Anyway that is one of the cars I wish I could have kept just look what it would be worth now right LOL

  31. Biggroove

    I love ’59 ANYTHING!!! But I always thought Nomad was always a 2 door?

    Like 1

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