403 cubic inch Chevrolet V8
GM 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission
Custom leather interior
Power rack-and-pinion steering
Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes
Chrome Coys C5 wheels
Charcoal Gray paint
Chevrolet Nova 10-bolt rear axle
Go to just about any car show and you're guaranteed to find at least a few Bel Airs. As one of Detroit's most universally adored creations, late '50s Chevys continue to be restoration magnets for builders and collectors alike. The only problem is: once you've joined the ranks of tri-five ownership, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out. Well, with a classic like this striking Nomad, standing out is guaranteed to be a nonissue. The beneficiary of a comprehensive restoration, this wagon's time-tested look is backed by an impressive list of hardware that includes a spry Chevy small block, a tough 4L60E automatic and a thoroughly updated chassis that rolls on mirrored Coys wheels. Relatively rare, and increasingly exclusive, Nomads are always crowd favorites. And, with twice the swagger of its hardtop and convertible brethren, this versatile bowtie is one of the most enjoyable tri-fives on the planet!
A solid foundation for building a lights-out resto-mod, this slick Chevy's smooth, all-American body is covered in a rich coat of Charcoal Gray 2-stage. That glossy pigment, bearing striking similarity to Chevrolet's current Ashen Gray offering, creates a monochromatic profile that's been buffed, sanded and polished to near perfection. Panel gaps appear to be at better-than-factory tolerances, creating straight surfaces that are likely much cleaner than when they originally rolled out of the showroom. And today, this reborn classic sits as a stylish testament to storied Detroit excellence.
As a collector car enthusiast, you really can't go wrong with any '50s Chevy. But for many folks, the division's '56 model essentially perfected the art. At the front of the car, a straight, stainless grille hangs clear parking lamps between chrome-trimmed headlights and a guarded bumper. At the top of that grille, a chrome-trimmed hood centers a polished 'jetbird' ornament over a vivid Sedan Delivery crest. Behind that hood, polished frames seal lightly tinted glass between capped wipers and mirrorless doors. At the base of those frames, a shaved profile chases traditional door handles with polished trim spears. And at the back of the car, a second guarded bumper frames a shaved valance that features traditional tail lamps, polished tailgate trim and a classy "Nomad" script.
In keeping with unspoken tradition, this Nomad proudly sports a spry Chevy small block. That said; it's probably not quite the small block you're expecting. Lift the domed hood and you'll see where tradition stops and convenience begins. Instead of sticking with factory-correct fodder, the previous owner decided that a 403 cubic inch stroker motor would be an excellent complement to the car's stellar looks, and we can't help but agree. Up top, a Charcoal Gray intake breathes through a billet throttle body and Texas Speed & Performance air cleaner. At the sides of that intake, AC Delco plug wires snake around factory-spec exhaust manifolds that are snugged to a cast iron block. Inside that block, a forged crank spins forged rods and Wiseco pistons at the sides of an LS7 cam. At the front of that cam, smooth serpentine components ride behind a billet radiator support, which hangs dual electric puller fans behind a big AutoRad tank. And, aesthetically, the modern mill looks fantastic, accented with niceties like braided lines, a billet oil cap and a glossy, Charcoal Gray frame.
Take a look under this classy courier and you'll find a thoroughly upgraded chassis that's clean, calculated and ready to hit the road. A glossy frame creates a nice contrast to solid, undercoated floors. Behind the big engine, a fresh 4L60E 4-speed spins a Driveline Express driveshaft, which twists a narrow Nova axle. That power team pushes the car on a Ridetech 4-link rear-half that's fitted with proven coil-over-shocks. Opposite that 4-link, an independent front clip makes good use of power rack-and-pinion steering and beefy tubular control arms. At the corners of that lucid suspension, quality Wilwood calipers bridge the gap between a familiar Wilwood master cylinder, a small Wilwood proportioning valve, and drilled and slotted rotors. Charred dinosaurs float from the aforementioned manifolds to large cats, a large Magnaflow muffler and a deceptively simple tailpipe. And power meets the pavement through chrome Coys C5s, which spin 225/35ZR20 Nexen N7000s in front of 245/35ZR20 Nexen N7000s.
Pop the doors and you'll find a substantially tweaked interior that splashes a little red on the car's all-business aesthetic. Front and center, factory-spec benches wrap bright stainless trim around tight leather hides. In front of those seats, a billet-trimmed dash hangs bright Auto Meter gauges and an Auto Meter Quartz clock over controls for the car's modern climate system. At the edges of that dash, custom side panels anchor chrome door and window cranks between thick armrests, Charcoal frames and tasteful stainless trim. At the bottom of those panels, gray carpet floats color-keyed mats beneath billet foot pedals. Opposite that carpet, a chrome mirror leads a leather headliner that's propped on polished bows. In front of the driver, a half-wrapped Billet Specialties steering wheel laps a color-keyed, tilting column. And behind the passengers, a carpeted storage area features almost enough room for one season's plunder of trophies.
With top-notch tri-fives riding comfortably in six-figure territory, this Nomad represents the opportunity to own an exclusive, attention-grabbing classic that shows, and drives, better than new. If you're ready to be the star of the show, clean out your garage, call your friends at RK Motors Charlotte and claim this sweet Chevy!