Super Solid Project: 1959 Chevrolet Nomad

When the time comes to select the perfect car for a project, some vehicles are better than others. Sitting somewhere close to the top of the heap would be this 1959 Chevrolet Nomad because while it might be coming to the next owner without an engine or a transmission, someone has taken the time to undertake some work on the vehicle that should fill the buyer with confidence. Add to the mix the fact that we are talking about a project that is a classic station wagon, and that does make this one a pretty desirable vehicle. It is located in Des Moines, Iowa, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. It seems that there are more than a few people who feel the same way that I do about this Nomad, because the bidding has been strong, and has now pushed to $6,500. However, the reserve hasn’t been met at this point, so there is still some time for you to join the party if you feel motivated to do so.

It’s when we take a look around underneath the Nomad that we see one of the main reasons why it will make such a great project car. At some point, somebody has removed the body from the frame, cleaned the frame, and treated it to a fresh coat of paint. It now looks nice and solid, and there are no signs of any rust issues anywhere. The floors and inner rockers are said to be original, and these have also been cleaned, and undercoat has been applied. In case you might have any doubts about the originality of the floors, the owner does provide plenty of interior shots in the listing. With the carpet having been removed at some point, we get a good look at the floors from above. There is little doubt that they are original, and none at all about the fact that they are solid and rust-free. The exterior of the Nomad originally wore Cameo Coral paint in combination with Satin Beige. The paint is definitely beyond salvation, but once again, rust really doesn’t appear to be an issue. There is some obvious rust in the tailgate, but I think that this could be repaired. The remaining lower body extremities look to be about as solid as the floors. There is definitely surface corrosion present, and some of this is quite heavy, but actual penetrating rust appears to be virtually non-existent. The vast majority of the chrome and trim pieces are present, and most of it looks like it would restore quite nicely. There are a couple of pieces missing off the tailgate, but the unique Nomad trims along the sides of the wagon are not only present but appear to be free from damage. The Nomad features tinted glass, and once again, this is in good condition.

I would be willing to bet that the Nomad’s interior has received a retrim at some point, and there’s no doubt that it will need another one in the very near future. Decoding the cowl tag reveals that the original trim was all grey, in a combination of vinyl and cloth. The dash looks right, but the rest of it is very blue. Exactly what form the retrim takes will be very much up to individual tastes. The next owner might conceivably follow the path of custom trims and materials, while there is the possibility of plumping for a more stock appearance. The fact is that there isn’t a single upholstered surface that has escaped the ravages of time, and bringing the interior back to life will potentially consume a few dollars. If a stock look is on the agenda, then sourcing a full trim kit is not that difficult, but with prices starting from around $2,600 for a high-quality complete kit, they aren’t cheap. The seat foam is also showing signs of deterioration, so a foam set will add a further $500 or so to the tally. However, the end result will be an interior that presents in as-new condition, so the expense would be well worth it.

As you can see, the engine bay of the Nomad is pretty empty. The VIN indicates that the wagon was originally equipped with a V8, and the owner believes that it was a 348ci backed by an automatic transmission. Both items are now gone, as is the wiring loom and all of the ancillary components. The Chevy does roll, but stopping it once it gets moving is a hassle due to the fact that the brakes don’t work. This is where the next owner will have free reign because they could potentially choose to source a date-correct engine and transmission. Alternatively, they could choose to follow the restomod path by upgrading the entire drivetrain and braking system to something altogether more modern. There are certainly plenty of options available when it comes to that particular route, and the real bonus is that there is no shortage of companies that can supply off-the-shelf kits to make this process easy and relatively painless.

As a project car, this 1959 Chevrolet Nomad looks like it could be a really good one. It truly is a blank canvas for the next owner, and the fact that it is so solid and free of significant rust issues is a real bonus. When you throw those attributes into the mix with the fact that it is a classic station wagon with iconic styling, it is pretty easy to see why bidding has been strong up to this point. Personally, I would love nothing more than to see this beauty once the restoration or refurbishment has been completed, because I can’t help but think that the end result would be one eye-catching wagon.

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  1. Bflo Bills

    Wasn’t the “Nomad” a two door wagon? Sorry if it appears that I am quibbling. That’s not my intent; rather, I just want to learn.

    Like 9
    • Steve R

      They were 2 doors from 1955-1957, the name continued but from that point going forward was only used on 4 door wagons.

      Steve R

      Like 16
      • Danny from oz

        Why does almost everyone nowadays use these two most ridiculous words “going forward”. Started with politicians, and now people follow like sheep. Most time’s the words are at the end of a sentence and have now relevance.

        Like 4
      • roger pence

        I think you phrased it perfectly, Steve R.

        Like 3
  2. Chuck

    And the imagination runs wild on this family fun wagon! I see sleeper…until you pop the hood.

    Like 2
  3. Pete Phillips

    $6500? For that????

    Like 3
  4. Jim in FL Member

    “No Engine”
    “No Trans”
    “No Wiring”
    “No Breaks (!)”
    “No Wheels”
    “No Tires”
    No thanks!

    Like 12
  5. Russell Ashley

    I wonder if the tree limbs on top in the EBay ad comes with it, or would they be extra cost.

  6. Patrick Michael Shanahan

    Looks like if fellout of an ugly tree..My teen car was a ’59 black Impala conv. with red interior. This thing is light years from anything special.

    Like 2
  7. TimM

    Someone put some time in the underside of this car!! At least they started off with the right idea!! It’s a sculpture waiting to be finished but a quite a cost I’m sure cause it needs everything!! It would have to be cheap just cause the amount to finish it!!

    Like 1
  8. GP Member

    I just looked at 2 of these today. Both were complete I think. I looked at around 125 cars from 1956 to1967, mostly 59 to 64. lots of 59-60-61-62. The person I talked to said he needs to clear all of it out this year. There are 2 1959 El Cameo’s two. Some bubble tops, Even a belair hardtop. Tons of parts. I’ll see if I can get some idea of what he is going to do for selling them.

    Like 1
    • TimM

      GP I’m looking for a Chevy body in decent shape for a built 396 hooked to a Muncie four speed!! If you know of a cash of cars from 53-67 I would appreciate it if you were to contact me here on barn find!!

  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Ruff crowd on here today………

    Like 1
  10. Will Fox

    A rare `59 that has more going for it than against it. Complete interior pkgs. are available for these, so you could bring it back to the factory grey offering. I would source another 348 4bbl. & automatic and do a factory stock restoration. I know, I know…the temptation is there to do a resto-mod, but try to find another Nomad this solid. The frame/underside looks to have received some attention which helps alot. As long as the reserve isn’t ridiculous, this is an excellent basis for a full restoration!
    A friend in CA. owns Dinah Shore’s `59 Nomad, loaded with options and a 348 & roof rack.

    Like 4
  11. Joliet Jake Member

    GREAT !!! The tires and Impala wheelcovers NOT included now (the only worthwhile feature of the car… I wonder how much those wheelcovers are worth???)!?!?! True Nomad is 55-57, 2-door, chrome laden (even chrome ribs on headliner), a lot cooler vehicle than this piece of junk! I usually see 55-57 Tradesman 2-door wagons passed off as Nomads, the rear side windows being an immediate giveaway! No thank you, a 59 El Camino would be A LOT COOLER, like the black one you had on this site last week!

  12. Dirk De Beer

    Just curious, why call this wagon a Chevrolet Nomad, but the 2 door convertible a Chevrolet Impala? My stepmom’s ex-husband did own one? We are from South Africa, thanks

    • GP Member

      Great question. Lets see if there is a answer.

      • Jim in FL Member

        Maybe just a marketing decision?
        Different country, different marketing strategy?

  13. Dave

    My parents bought a 1960 Chevrolet Nomad stationwagon in 1960. Black with a white roof. Believe it had a black and white houndstooth pattern on the seats. It also had a V8 engine but think it was a 283 with an AT. In 1963 the wagon they bought was an Impala.

    Like 2
    • Jim in FL Member

      Dave- My parents bought a brand-new 1962 Chevy Station Wagon, and it also was an Impala. I was 9yrs old, and remember checking it out. Opening the doors and inhaling that ‘new car smell’.
      Apparently that was the beginning of my passion for cars…

      Like 2
  14. PJH

    These are great designed cars.
    Nothing cooler, but the 60 model is better in my opinion.
    Rare to say the least.
    I drive a 60 El Camino myself! (for sale too at this time)
    Can’t beat the tail fins!

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