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Chevrolet Nomad. Dual quad 283. Multiple 100-point show winner, world's finest

For sale: 1957 Chevrolet Other Nomad

Technical specifications

Item location:
Macedonia, Ohio, United States
Number of cylinders:
Interior color:
Vehicle Title:
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Few one-word names in the auto industry resonate like “Nomad” in the minds of motoring enthusiasts. From a Corvette-based Motorama show car to one of the most desirable machines of the 1950s, the Chevrolet Nomad proved that station wagons don’t have to be frumpy and utilitarian. In fact, during its first three years of production, 1955-1957, it was poised at the very top of the Bel Air lineup, a halo car designed to draw customers into showrooms. It was brilliant then and even more brilliant at that particular job today, as a Nomad showing up at an event typically attracts far more attention than convertibles and hardtops. Available with all of the performance and comfort options available on the rest of the lineup, the Nomad was as much a toy for the rich as a functional hauler, and as such, it occupies a unique niche in the automotive landscape. The Nomad is truly a class of one.

To split that infinitive even more, this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad is unquestionably one of the finest available anywhere. Thanks to a frame-off restoration by John Skinner, it has already earned both its AACA Junior and Senior 1st place awards, scoring 100 points each time. The car was in storage for 23 years in a shipping container until it was unearthed in 2008, with the restoration being completed in 2015. This is one of those cars where the “no expense spared” part of the restoration really is true, as every single component on the car was restored to as-new condition and if original parts could not be re-used, then NOS or excellent original parts were found and restored before being installed. The paint is two-stage urethane in the original colors, Onyx Black and India Ivory, and the bodywork underneath is laser-straight enough to wear the black with pride. All the wonderful Nomad details were expertly refinished, including the chrome rub strips on the tailgate. And, as a top-of-the-line Bel Air, the Nomad received all the other upscale trim, including the anodized side panels that define the iconic ’57 models. It also carries accessory dual spotlights and a windshield visor that’s so well-integrated into the design that you may not have even noticed it.

High style was standard in the Nomad, and this stylish wagon offers all the comforts of the top-of-the-line Bel Air. The funky black fabric is completely correct, and it looks fantastic with the silver piping and gray vinyl upholstery. All of it is obviously brand new, including the stylized door panels that echo the exterior styling and the plush black carpets. The instrument panel is filled with bright, crisp instruments, surrounded by a handsome steering wheel finished to match the interior. There’s an AM radio in the dash that’s fully functional, as well as a clock over on the passenger’s side that happily ticks away. Seat belts were added for safety and that’s a no-points deduction at any show, especially since they look like they belong there. Overhead, the Nomad features beautiful chrome header bows and the back seat is as beautifully finished as the front. And while I suppose you could carry gear in the back, the neatly finished rubber floors and crisp chrome details just look so good that it would be a shame to scuff them up. There’s also a correct spare tire and jack assembly stowed under the floor.

As remarkable as the rest of the car is, it’s under the hood where this one really sparkles. It’s powered by its original 240 horsepower 283 cubic inch V8 topped by dual 4-barrel carburetors and an ultra-rare “batwing” air cleaner. The details are exact and the carburetors are on a correct progressive linkage that gives this Nomad a real Jekyll-and-Hyde personality. It’s happy to trundle around on the rear two barrels of the front carburetor, but pressing the throttle to the floor opens all eight throats and the lightweight wagon rockets forward with a surprising surge of power. Not that you’d do that, of course, not with a car this meticulously restored, but you could if you wanted to. It shows just under 60 test-and-tune/show miles, and is so crisp that even the exhaust manifolds look like new. Proper finishes were used throughout and the Chevy Orange paint on the block has just the right gloss. The generator carries its integral power steering unit and the brakes are firm and confidence-inspiring. A reproduction Delco battery makes the engine bay look totally correct, as do the reproduction decals, badges, and even the wire-style hose clamps. Even the original radiator was retained, fitted with a new core that has no problems keeping the hot small block under control. Despite the dual quads, it starts easily and idles well, although we’ve (obviously) been hesitant to drive it a lot, and it’s got a great soundtrack that suggests more power than you’d expect from a station wagon.

Underneath, the chassis was detailed for show, including red oxide primer on the floors and new hardware throughout. The suspension, steering, and brakes were rebuilt and it uses rebuilt original spiral shock absorbers for absolute authenticity. The two-speed PowerGlide automatic transmission was rebuilt and shifts well, and the rear axle is also fully rebuilt with new bearings and seals and a set of 3.27 gears that make this a fantastic cruiser at almost any speed. A fresh dual exhaust system was installed that even carries the proper heat shield to protect the power steering lines! There’s no evidence of rust repairs or wholesale patching, suggesting that this was an ultra-clean car when they started and the result is simply spectacular—if you want a car to display with mirrors under it, this is it! It sits right, handles well, and with 7.50-14 BFGoodrich Silvertown wide whitewall tires, looks exactly like it did in 1957.

The car won its AACA regional Junior First in Louisville, KY in 2015 and its AACA Senior at Hershey in October 2015, and is poised for the AACA Grand National event in 2016 if the new owner wishes to pursue the highest honors available. It also includes a Finger Tip fact book for 1957 Chevrolets, sales brochures, owner’s manuals, and a 40x60 dealer poster showing all 1957 models. The car has been so meticulously maintained since the restoration was completed that it has never even had ethanol fuel in its tank, so no worries about contamination.

This is one of the finest cars we’ve ever represented and showcases what unlimited funds can do. The fact that it’s also a beautiful and worthy car certainly helps, and a 1957 Nomad has to be at the very top of any Chevrolet enthusiast’s wish list. This is a remarkable car looking for an owner who understands what remarkable really means.

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