For car enthusiasts there are certain vehicles that, for whatever reason, just instantly grab us. In the case of this 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad, the current owners stumbled upon it in 1970 and, despite the condition, knew they just had to have it. They could even see past the fact that a person was living in the back of it. Literally when they purchased it, there was a mattress in the back and speakers hanging from the interior. But most importantly it was a complete Nomad. So for $350 they evicted the tenant and drove it home.
Over the next few years the Nomad received a coat of black and white paint and was slowly fixed up. When the owner became a father in ’74 the Nomad carried his son home from the hospital, and same with his daughter in ’76. Around the mid 90’s the owner decided it was finally time to completely restore his Nomad. In 2007, nearly forty years after purchasing his Nomad, his dream of completely restoring it had finally come to pass. Now six years later his workmanship still shines through just like the project was finished yesterday.
According to the original body plate that still sits in the engine bay, this Nomad may have originally left the factory in Inca Silver and an Imperial Ivory, however today it sits in a shade from the House of Kolor line of paint. The vibrant orange paint is actually called Tangyellow Pearl which was shot over a white base. The Tangyellow is accented by a white accent line that starts at the front fenders and grows at the quarter panels. The white and orange are separated by perfect chrome trim. During its restoration the body received 7 months of body work to eliminate rust and bring it back to the pristine example that we have today. At the front of the body, a massive chrome bumper stretches the width of the body just below the stainless grille. Running lights are found on either side of the grille, while the famous Chevrolet crest and V are found above it. At the top of the hood a chrome ‘jetbird’ leads the center accent line on the hood. Down the sides the body lines are near flawless. At the back you’ll find a small Nomad emblem above the chrome tailgate spears. Below the tailgate is another body-width chrome bumper that finishes off the look of the Nomad.
This Nomad originally left the factory with a 265ci V8, however when the owner purchased it in 1970 somewhere along the line a previous owner had installed a 1966 turbo fire 283ci V8. The owner was so impressed with the engine and how well it ran over the years that he chose to rebuild it during the extensive restoration instead of opting for a Chevy 350. During its restoration the engine was bored 30 thousandths to clean up the walls and received a 350 H.P. hydraulic cam. Below the K&N chrome air filter is a 4-barrell carburetor that feeds the air fuel mixture to an Edelbrock Air Gap intake. The heads are old school cast iron fuel injection heads with 2.02 intake valves. A Mallory electronic ignition is responsible for igniting the fuel mixture. The spent gasses then travel out patriot headers through flowmaster mufflers. In front of the engine is a Be Cool 4-core radiator that is responsible for cooling the 283 with the help from dual electric fans. The combination is good for an estimated 275-300hp.
Under the Nomad is the original stock chassis that was sandblasted, epoxy primed and painted black during the restoration. The original floorpans were replaced with one-piece replacement pans from the toe-kick back to the rear seats. The front suspension features 2” drop spindles with stock front coil springs that have been upgraded with a front sway bar and KYB shocks. The rear leaf springs were replaced to have a 2” drop in the arc, and again use KYB shocks. Stopping power comes thanks to front disc and rear drum brakes. Bolted to the block is a 4-speed manual transmission that feeds power to a GM 8.2 with 3.56 gears with an open differential. The entire ride sits upon 17” Torque Thrust polished aluminum wheels that have been wrapped in BF Goodrich G-force radial T/A rubber.
Open the doors and you’ll see a completely restored interior that continues the orange and white theme. The factory seat frames were rebuilt and covered in a white leather with a touch of orange to match. Below the seats is a burnt orange color that can also be seen in a Porsche. A Hurst shifter sits in front of the front bench seat and is responsible for controlling the 4-speed transmission. All the wiring in the car is brand new including the fuse box. In front of the driver is an Ididit tilt steering column and an upgraded dash and gauges. The previous owner also installed a Vintage Air setup and even replaced the original windshield wiper motor wiper with an electric rain gear system. Behind the driver is another row of bench seating and beyond that a massive storage area.
One of the reasons why we chose cars is not to get from point to point, heck any car could do that. But rather, these cars become an extension of our personality. This Nomad has given the current owners a lifetime of memories, and is ready to provide new memories for the next owner. Not to mention that Nomads are extremely popular right now as many are using them as platforms to stand out in a growing Tri-Five Chevy crowd. Don’t miss your chance to own this 1956 Nomad, stop by our showroom for a closer inspection of this wagon, you won’t be disappointed.